Who is Your Midwife for Midlife?

Who is Your Midwife for Midlife?

Being a midwife must be a glorious and strenuous calling, helping birthing mothers bring a precious, new life into the world. In conversations with my friend Richard Rohr, he told me that midlife is almost like our second birth, the time when an adult’s operating system shifts from the ego to the soul. Here’s an excerpt from something he recently wrote:

There are those who feel that something is happening to and within them. Their tastes are changing, and their balance has shifted. Sometimes they are brought up short by a crisis: an experience of conversion, a tragic loss, a period of great pain, a sharp awareness of being on a threshold. As they approach midlife, women especially may feel impelled to explore their spirituality as they discover their new and unexpectedly authoritative voice.

He goes on to say that part of our role is to be a spiritual midwife to those who are in this middlescent transition:

“The midwife of the spirit is not an expert called in for the dramatic moments, either a crisis caused by pathology or the final, exciting moment of birth. Like a midwife, she works with the whole person and is present throughout the whole process. She ‘has time’—unlike the tightly scheduled physician who is concerned with specifics, complaints, and pathology. Or, for that matter, unlike the tightly scheduled parish clergy, who are concerned with program, administration, and liturgy. Instead, she offers support through every stage and waits with the birth-giver when ‘nothing is happening.’”

My midlife midwife was my friend Vanda who held my hand through the darkest time of my life around age 45-49. Fortunately, she was trained as a life coach, so she was well prepared for midwifery. It just helped to know she was there for me.

If you’re going through a challenging shift in midlife, who might be your midwife? We’re proud that our MEA program has now created 1,500 midlife midwives around the world as our alums offer mutual midwifery support to each other and their friends and families.

Chip Conley

First appeared in Chip Conley’s Wisdom Well blog