Cutting the Cord - exploring death and birth in context
Location of Event: Friends' Meeting House, Oxford
Charge: £8 (£6 conc) + booking fee
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
I worked in theatre for a number of years and then I started having babies. I was drawn to the important and compelling presence I’d found so helpful throughout pregnancy and birth, so I trained to be a midwife. I worked clinically in hospital and community settings, and then started to teach midwifery at the University of the West of England in Bristol, and subsequently at Oxford Brookes. I was a midwife and midwife teacher for thirty years, had two more babies, and now work as an independent funeral celebrant. Being a midwife entails holding a space for people to do difficult things, and I think this echoes too in my role as a celebrant. I have always been intrigued by the parallels between birth and death. In my ongoing work as a celebrant I continue to reflect on these: both of these transitions - the bookends of life – sit at the crossroads of our biological and social selves. They each evoke big emotions and often significant social rituals, incurring changes on physiological, emotional, spiritual and cultural levels.
I accompanied my three small grandchildren into the world and enjoy spending time with them, re-encountering the glorious illogicality of childhood! I think I have more patience but less energy than when my own children were little. I also swim, bake and spend time travelling and camping in my micro campervan.
Wendy is a former Registered Nurse and trained as a Soul Midwife in 2013. Since 2015 she’s facilitated workshops around death and dying, both for professionals and members of the public. She believes strongly that we all have “wisdom within” – including the intuition to support people who are dying – but in modern life we sometimes need reminding. Her most recent local community talks and workshops inspire people to access within themselves what she calls The Lost Art of Simple Dying. She believes that by “normalising” death we are less fazed by it, and this is regularly borne out by the feedback she receives.
She is delighted to be part of the Kicking the Bucket Festival 2023 team, encouraging people to open meaningful and tender conversations with each other.
Wendy’s other interests include country walks with her husband, spending time with her children and grandchildren, and most recently, teaching Circle Dance!