The Taproot of a Dandelion
(def): A very large, somewhat straight to tapering plant root that grows downward. It forms a center from which other roots sprout laterally. Plants with taproots are difficult to transplant. The presence of a taproot is why dandelions are hard to uproot—the top is pulled, but the long taproot stays in the ground, and re-sprouts.
Why the name TAPROOT? A taproot grounds the plant and makes it difficult to uproot, securing it to its deepest resources of water and mineral nourishment. The taproot is a perfect image for the shared wisdom surrounding the childbearing season. This wisdom a Birth Keeper “keeps” for the pregnant, birthing and postpartum women she will touch throughout her life. A mama will further deepen this wisdom through her own birthing experience. Ultimately, she will pass it on to another woman when her season comes.
What is a Birth-Keeper?
The term Birth Keeper is the marriage of “Earth Keeper and Birth. Earth Keeper is a Native American Word for the holders of the sacred Earth-based wisdoms.” A Birth Keeper is deeply acquainted with the threshold of birth and motherhood and acts as the elder or Guide in a mother’s preparation for birth. She knows that a free and empowered women knows exactly how to birth her baby and acts only as a Witness.
Because she is serving in the modern world, a Birth Keeper has tricks and tools that can help mamas and families discover deeper and deeper connection and authenticity, resilience and freedom. It is not a career path, but something that lays its claim. It is a calling, a soul-craft, and a surrender.
For a woman, the season of conception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum will come and go. Though it is a brief period in the overall span of her life, its effects are far-reaching. It is a unique journey for each woman, and for each baby she will carry within her. Her ability to tap into her own deeper wisdom is her essential task along the way. The root is not grown overnight, but must be sown, watered, and patiently nurtured. The root of her wisdom will long outlast the blooms of the childbearing season.
The Birth Keeper is not a teacher, nor even a guide, but truly just a keeper of the space where the woman can safely plant her root.
THE ROOT as related to Birth has resounded with me for a long time. In 2009 my life was changed forever through my experience of living and working with traditional midwives in Guatemala (see Who I Am). I named my community-based project, supporting the important work that they do and honoring their ancient knowledge and traditions, Proyecto La Raíz (the Root Project).