Ever since my second child was born, in 1978, I have been a doula, or a childbirth assistant...
I have assisted at over four-dozen births, including nine of my eleven grandchildren. I delivered three of my four granddaughters myself, because the labor was faster than the midwife. I wrote this poem in 2006 while meditating on the cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation.
Thoughts on the Births of Grandchildren
Expectant mother dreams of child to be
Strong, able, filled with fresh vitality.
Birth is hard and when the child appears
His cry brings great joy and chases fears.
Creamed skin now sheds the water of birth
As family and friends express great mirth
Rejoice to see the daughter or son
But what was lost, and what was won?
The child has lost, we know, all he gained
In former lives through struggle and pain
Knowledge and skills and honor he won
What do you have now, helpless grandson?
Confusion, fear, and ignorance
We know engulf him, surely, since
His thoughts right now are just of milk
Forgot he used to wear fine silk.
Forgot he knew what numbers are times three,
Forgot he knew all facts of history.
His former family is barely a dream
Where is the wealth that with effort he gleaned?
Again will he work hard now to amass
Things and knowledge that will surely pass?
Our gifts to him are all impermanent
One simply wonders, “What has it all meant?”
But there is wealth that will always exist
Love that with the body does not perish
A family that goes from life to life
And pleasure beyond the world of strife.
As sounds then babble turn slowly to speech
As you roll, crawl, walk, and jump and reach,
We’ll show you the tools you’ll need to live
Again what will be lost, child, we will give.
But more than that, we’ll give you Krsna’s love
Then from pain and pleasure you will rise above
That love of God, dear baby, is so sweet
You’ll see as every day the Lord you’ll meet.
From life to life, Krsna’s love you can carry
Until, perfected, you will no longer tarry
Within this world to take birth again
But serve the Lord who’s your dearmost friend.
So, child, now, the eternal—will you grasp?
Or will you just get things that will not last?
The greatest gift you’ll get from this grandmother—
Serve Krsna—heart and soul—and serve no other.
Urmila Devi Dasi (Dr. Edith Best) has been practicing bhakti yoga since 1973 and travels the world teaching the science of the Bhagavad Gita and the practical application of bhakti to life. She has a PhD in education and has three decades of experience teaching primary and secondary students, which include 19 years of experience as a school administrator and leader. She has published Vaikuntha Children, a guidebook for devotional education, The Great Mantra for Mystic Meditation, dozens of articles, and Dr. Best Learn to Read, an 83 book complete literacy program with technology enabling the story books to speak in 25 languages at the touch of a special “pen”. Urmila and her husband, Pratyatosa, have three grown married children and eleven grandchildren. In 1996, Urmila and Pratyatosa entered the renounced order of life, or vanaprastha, in Sanskrit. You may connect with her through her website here, or subscribe to her on Facebook.
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