I was in my 4th trimester with my first babe when I came across these beautiful words. As soon as I finished reading the story below, I knew I had to do something involving supporting others during their journey of labor, birth, and postpartum.
"In the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of badasses.
They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they'll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first.
When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.
Scientists tell us this: They normally take this formation in only two cases - under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.
This is what we do, girls. When our sisters are vulnerable, when they are giving birth to new life, new ideas, new ministries, new spaces, when they are under attack, when they need their people to surround them so they can create, deliver, heal, recover...we get in formation. We close ranks and literally have each others' backs. You want to mess with our sis? Come through us first. Good luck.
Don't forget to spot the young ones learning from their fierce mamas, joining the protection squad. Our littles are watching us, girls. They see how we do. We are the ones to teach them about the formation. If they learn it young, they'll never forget it. Protect your sisters and your babes will grow up and do the same.
And when delivery comes, when new life makes its entrance, when healing finally begins, when the night has passed and our sister is ready to rise back up, we sound our trumpets because we saw it through together. We celebrate! We cheer! We raise our glasses and give thanks.
There is no community like a community of women." -Jen Hatmaker
I meditated on these words for almost a year before I finally decided how I wanted to serve, and when I did I knew these magnificent creatures would be involved in my services as a form of inspiration. The symbolic meaning of the elephant are as follows; power, peace, wisdom, memory, happiness, longevity, determination, family / community, creation / maternal, nobility, and strength. All of which are needed as one goes through labor, birth, and postpartum. These are the exact characteristics I aim to provide when I join your birth team.