a. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.
b. The condition of being so stimulated.
2. An agency, such as a person or work of art, that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.
3. Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea, that is inspired.
4. The quality of inspiring or exalting: a painting full of inspiration.
5. Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.
6. The act of drawing in, especially the inhalation of air into the lungs.

This morning I saw this comment on my friend’s Facebook page:
“. . . In the years after my midwife’s trial and our persecution, even though I had to run away and bleed, knowing Gloria was still out there, holding the place of women, at times kept me breathing and hopeful that all was not lost. I appreciate you both so much.

When I read these words, I marveled that I had not even known about this woman’s troubles. I live on a different continent from her. And, yet, somehow something I did gave her strength in her difficult time. What grace it is to know that my courage made a difference for someone else.

I then started thinking about from where my inspiration comes. One source is the many, many inspiring stories that were told to me as a child. “Daniel in the Lions Den” was what came to mind when I was being driven to prison in 2002 and I had such peace knowing that, like Daniel, I was a good person and that, if I just kept on being decent, everything would be fine.

When I was on trial from 1985 to 1986 for being a midwife involved in a baby death at a home birth, I had an extraordinary partner in adversity who gave me inspiration in the darkest hours. Rick Hansen is a man from Vancouver (where I live) B.C., Canada who has a spinal cord injury. He set out in his wheelchair at the same time as our trial started. He was going to wheel across 4 continents and across the Great Wall of China to bring attention to spinal cord research and raise funds. Many locals said he wouldn’t succeed. He was under funded and many put him down because they thought it was a stunt and a copycat of Terry Fox’s Run for Cancer which had happened in Canada earlier. The whole country had fallen in love with Terry Fox and didn’t want a new hero to emerge, it seemed.

Rick, who was 27 years old at the time, set out anyway and, as he persevered, others caught the spirit of what he was doing and public support built month by month. Our stories were side by side in the newspaper for a long time and I thought about him in a wheelchair going 85 kms per day and it gave me the strength to go down to the Court House and face the criminal justice system and the medical/pharma giant even though I was terrified.

When he returned to Vancouver in 1987, there was a huge “Welcome Home, Rick” celebration held at a large shopping centre in our city. At the time, I was still appealing my conviction and I was working as a nanny. The day he returned, I told the children I looked after that we had to go to the shopping centre and welcome this man home. I had to park a long way away from the event and I found a shopping cart and loaded the 3 kids into it. They had to stand together and hold on and they really didn’t like it much. It didn’t matter. I told them, “we are going to see a hero and this is very important.” It WAS very important. This man had carried me through a very hard time.

I saw him one time on a ferry and I really wanted to go over and hug him but I talked myself out of it. He was with his family and I didn’t want to disturb them. I regret that now.

From where does your inspiration come? Do you know for sure that there will always be something or someone there to give you strength if you look for it?

3 thoughts on “INSPIRATION

  1. You are one of my greatest inspirations Gloria. You have helped me so many times throughout the last 5 and a half years- giving me advice on birthing, sending me information and even your own pager # in case I had questions while in labour. You have always been there to answer the questions of a faceless woman on the other end of the internet. You’ve always had a supportive word or hug to send. You inspire me because through all that you’ve been through you work tirelessly to help others and you educate and speak out, even if your words are not what society wants to hear. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the great inspiration that you have been and continue to be.

    • Has it been that long that we’ve been partnered up in this work, Dani? You are so welcome for what I do for you. I’m letting your love and appreciation in today.

  2. Ah, dear Glo, there are no words for the inspiration you are to me and the value of our friendship. I do have a few words about two other sources of inspiration. The babies, the mammas. I keep doing what I do because they matter. They have been cheated. I want to do what I can to undo a little of that. When I hear that a woman chose a homebirth or denied the use of a doppler or didn’t cut her baby boy because of something I wrote or said or posted somewhere, I pick myself up off the floor….where I often am these days. If I could make a difference for them, there are more who need the truth. Have to get busy.
    It has now become obvious to me that I did not choose this work, I had no lofty ideals, I just have great love for babies and mammas. I can’t say it is so much because I set out to make a difference. I just have a compulsion to tell the truth about birth and babies.

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