The Circle of Life: Birth and Death's Profound Similarities

I was thinking about birth and death at three o’clock this morning. I know most people are asleep at that hour—hopefully.     

I was thinking how similar they are and that they create a circle. A circle of life.

We go through labor to get into this world. It can be easy and gentle or it can be a hard, wild ride. So it is with our labor to leave this world. Some of us go easier than others. For some it is gentle, for others it is very, very hard.

After we get to this world we take deep breaths and settle in to get adjusted. As we leave, our breathing gets slower and slower. We are relinquishing our need for breathing just as we gasped for air as we entered.

We are given water first, then milk, then soft foods, then gradually regular foods, eventually we eat whatever we want. As we are leaving, we first stop eating meat, then fruits and vegetables, then soft food, then milk in the form of protein supplements and finally, we just have water.

Are you seeing the circle?

We start off alone, then we have Mom and Dad, then family, friends, then the world of school, activities, and involvement in the bigger world around us. When we are leaving, we first become less interested in world events, favorite activities, then we withdraw from social activities, then from friends, and gradually family and loved ones as we go deeper and deeper into ourselves. 

An infant sleeps most of the time (hopefully), then transitions to morning and afternoon naps, then to just afternoon naps, to being awake during the day and asleep at night. As we are leaving this world - either in the span of months if we have a disease, or years in the case of old age - we begin to take afternoon naps, then morning and afternoon naps, then one day we don’t get out of bed, then we are asleep more than we are awake. We generally die non-responsive, asleep.

Our bodies are programmed to live and our bodies are programmed to die. We are born, we experience, and then we die. Some of us die sooner than others, but we will all die. It is the circle of life.

Something More... about The Circle of Life: Birth and Death's Profound Similarities

I go into the similarities of the birthing and dying processes in my book, The Final Act of Living. You can get your copy here.  In the book, which reads like a novel, I share stories and experiences. You will see that death doesn't just happen, that there is an unfolding; there is a process to dying. 

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Derianna Mooney

I have been comparing them for decades. Just the same process only backwards. So grateful you put it into words to be read my many. Thank you, Barbara.
BK Books replied:
Derianne, thank you for your comments. It seems so obvious yet we rarely put the two together. Blessings! Barbara


What you state is so true. Over many months, I watched as my dearest, older sister distanced herself from friends, neighbors and even family. Some family members were perhaps hurt by this, but I saw it as a necessary process in transitioning to the next (life?). This was even before I discovered your wonderful pamphlets. Your words of wisdom were a BIG comfort to me when I finally assisted my sister in transferring to a remarkable hospice center. The staff there were absolute angels! One of the very first things they pointed out to me were your pamphlets that were sitting on the coffee table in the room where we stayed in for a few weeks. Those last few weeks I was able to spend with my sister were priceless. And although I saw her withdraw completely into herself, I wish I would have talked with/to her more than I did…and I wish I would have asked if they could supply a bit larger bed than a twin that she was in, so I could lay beside her and hold her. Gosh I miss her terribly. She was one of the most kindest, sweetest, smartest women I’ve ever known. She was more of a mother to me than my own mom (sad to say). So I lost a remarkable sister, a dear friend and a mother figure all in one lovely human. ps: Thank you for all you do Ms. Karnes!
BK Books replied:
Therese, thank you for sharing. You might write your sister a letter. Put your thoughts and feelings about her and your relationship and your tears, down on paper. Burn the letter and scatter the ashes to the wind. Let how well you live your life be the statement of your love for her. Blessings! Barbara

Mary G

Thank you for all you do, my mom lives with me and was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. She’s on hospice at home now, your blog and books have helped me to accept this as a normal part of life and to not resist the process.
BK Books replied:
Mary, my blessings to you and your mom. Barbara


Thank you for your words Barbara. They are so helpful. Letting go of my good health is the biggest challenge. Thanks again.
BK Books replied:
Nancy, my thoughts are with you. Blessings! Barbara


I work for a Hospice-and even Doctors have to be reminded that it’s natural for patients to die! It truly is the circle of life. I wish Doctors would ALL read your books. They would have a better understanding that it’s ok to let nature take its’ course instead of trying to intervene in the dying process with meds and doctoring!
BK Books replied:
Hi Carrie, I wish they would also. Blessings to you. Barbara

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