Soul Midwives are non-medical companions who provide emotional, spiritual and holistic support to people who are dying. Soul Midwives are highly skilled energy medicine practitioners with a precise knowledge of the dying process. They are trained and experienced in responding to the individual needs of the ‘friend’ who is experiencing fear of death and dying. Soul Midwives have a good knowledge and understanding of the dying process and are expertly trained to soothe and listen; using their intuition, wisdom and skills to ensure that the person’s death is a dignified and peaceful experience.
It is important to note that a Soul Midwife is not a clinical practitioner but rather complementing the medical profession by reintroducing the ‘sacred’ in to the care of the dying within mainstream hospital and hospice care.
There are many different ways of practising the craft of Soul Midwifery, and each Soul Midwife brings to it their own gifts and skills. They draw on traditional artistry, now largely forgotten – applying this to the modern world as a way to lovingly ease the passage of the person who is dying. Soul Midwives are often practicing holistic therapists, counsellors, energy healers and celebrants. They support the dying friends from diagnosis to death and beyond. Death is usually a slow and gentle unravelling process akin to labour at the time of birth and the role of the Soul Midwife lies in the similar field as a Birth Doula.
Anna Sadler who is a trained Soul Midwife is creating a ‘sitting service’ in Cornwall for people who are dying.
Soul Midwives can offer support throughout the following stages:
Soul Midwives often work with people from the point of diagnosis when a person is still feeling quite well but know they have an illness that will shorten their life. A therapeutic relationship can begin at this point before the more difficult times arise. Having plenty of time enables the friend to plan for the type of death that they want. This can be an empowering process. Together, the Soul Midwife and the friend can make an end-of-life plan, which can become a flexible map for the future. Soul Midwives are skilled in initiating difficult conversations such as what to expect during the dying process.
Soul Midwives know how to comfort and help a person who is dying by anticipating how they are feeling on all levels (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). At this stage and in all the stages, the Soul Midwife helps the ‘friend’ to relinquish their fear of dying, holding hands, reassuring and allowing the time it takes to help dissolve the anguish.
Soul Midwives also offer Spiritual Companionship in all stages of the dying process. Soul Midwives are non-denominational, multi-faith practitioners who work alongside the beliefs of the person they are caring for. If a person has no beliefs, that’s ok too. Soul Midwives have an understanding of the main wisdom teachings and rituals of the major world religions. Most people who are dying want to talk about the meaning of life and death. Soul Midwives help to ease emotional concerns by listening and participating in these conversations.
During the 4 Elemental Stages of the dying process, Soul Midwives use a detailed model of the dying process as a way to understand the feelings that the friend may be experiencing; psycho-spiritually, emotionally and physically. They conduct a simple observation as a way of knowing how to help the person who is dying in their final few days of life. At this stage, Soul Midwives use their wisdom, intuition and expertise as a way to alleviate fear and pain. This could be in the form of touch, sound, breathing techniques, sacred oils, simple hand holding and stroking and deep listening.
In the Active Dying Stage, Soul Midwives are often called to offer a simple bedside vigil. This means holding a sacred space and watching over the dying friend in a heartfelt and deeply compassionate way. This holding of space always helps to dissolve fear. The Soul Midwife toolbox is used to support the person who is dying and the family and relations. This may include invoking blessings and fulfilling requested rituals, reading, singing, toning, talking, listening, sharing silence and above all validating the dying person’s experience.
At the point of death and afterwards, Soul Midwives look after the energetic aspects after the friend has departed as well as some practical tasks. Some Soul Midwives are trained in psycho-pomp work as they accompany the dead on their last journey. This may involve helping a person cross-over and accompany a dying person in their spirit body to show them the way over the sacred threshold. Soul Midwives advocate that the three days after death are considered very sacred and the Soul Midwife will help to advocate that the body remains held in a sacred space if this was a dying wish of the ‘friend’ and/or their family.