The Soul Midwife’s most important role is to provide comfort, continuous support and reassurance. Helping the dying person to experience the death he or she wants, and to guide and aid their loved ones.
‘A good death is an extraordinary, moving and sacred experience. It can also have a healing quality, not only for the person who is involved but their families, friends and the wider community.’ (Felicity Warner, Gentle Dying)
What is Soul Midwifery
Felicity Warner (my teacher) pioneered the idea of soul midwives more than 20 years ago, after working with hundreds of patients. Alongside medical treatment, she could see how much people at the end of life benefited from gentle, tender, loving care, companionship and deep listening. Soul midwifery combines holistic and spiritual approaches to honor the ‘whole’ person.
What are Soul Midwives?
Soul Midwives regard every dying person in their care as if he, or she is the most important person in the world. All are cared for as if they are a cherished friend or family member. A Soul Midwife has the skills, time and specialist knowledge of the dying process to make a huge difference at the end of life. They can offer a large range of therapies, to soothe and reassure, and are skilled advocates and advisors. They are non- denominational in their pastoral support, and encourage deep conversation with love and dignity. Their work may start from the time of diagnosis and continue until the final day of life, always encouraging living fully until the end.
- listen, provide gentle therapeutic techniques and ensure compassionate care at all times
- work holistically with both the spirit and the soul of the dying person
- keep a loving vigil
- create and hold a sacred and healing space for the dying person
- recognise and support the individual needs of the departing soul to enable a tranquil death
- use sound, touch, colour and smell and other gentle techniques to help alleviate pain and anxiety
- support families and loved ones.
Full Qualification in Soul Midwifery – November 2018
Certificate – Cultivating Mindfulness and Awareness in end of life care – November 2018. Spiritual care program
Certificate – Deep Listening Intensive – Rosamond Oliver – October 18
Last February I wrote a proposal to my local hospice (where I am a volunteer, but not in a SM role). In that proposal, I recommended introducing Soul Midwives as a supportive role to an already dynamic and busy team…. I am still waiting to hear a response? I can only conclude from their silence, that the role of a Soul Midwife in a hospice context, is something that they are finding a challenge? Is it because it does not fit into the Trust’s ethos or medical model? Does the word ‘Soul’ create a barrier between medical and non medical care practices? I am interested in creating a discussion on these points. My aim this year is to build resilience against resistance… Sometimes it takes time to change attitudes and fear based responses.
I have discovered there are more than a handful of us SM in the Norfolk area….If you are interested in meeting us and finding out more, we will be at the Forum in Norwich for Dying matters week 2019…. Hope to see you there.
For any further information please contact me via my contact page.
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