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. 

Related products



Love this. As a Birth a d death doula I couldnt agree more.
BK Books replied:
Blessings to you Cindy in the work you are doing. Barbara


Hi Barbara- thank you for this great post. I was an OB nurse for 36 years, now working in a memory care unit part time as I am winding down in my career. My mom (also a nurse) and I did private duty for dying friends in our community in the 1980’s before it was a thing. My daughters and I also did hospice pet therapy with our 2 golden retrievers for 6 years over their teen years. One day I asked a young OB patient who was also a nurse , “I often wonder whats wrong with me? I love being present at births and I love helping people die.” She finally gave me the answer Ive been needing to hear- “you have been an important part of new life and death, its the complete circle of life..” Ahh it took a new young nurse to finally explain it to me, a seasoned licensed nurse for 45 yrs to finally get it!! I’ve loved my career all along the way!
BK Books replied:
Hi Sarah, how wonderful to have worked at both ends of life. Such a balanced perspective you must have. Blessings to you in all the work you have done and continue to do. Barbara

Sandy Boyko

Love this analogy! Just today I was looking at my 15 and a half year old lab (that is OLD for a lab) and she was sleeping peacefully most of the day. When I was watching her, the thought came to me that when she was a new puppy that we brought home, she slept ALOT (and then was a terror in between naps, lol). But with all kidding aside, now that she is certainly nearing the end of her life, she again sleeps ALOT. So reading your post today really resonated! Thank you!
BK Books replied:
Hi Sandy, I’m glad you pointed out that animals die the same as humans. There is a natural progression for both. Blessings to you and your lab. Barbara

Cassie Tzur

Love your comments about the circle of life. It happens to all. We do not have to be so fearful!
Thank you for your guidance and reminders of this natural process!
BK Books replied:
Hi Cassie, thanks for your kind words about the blog. Blessings! Barbara


I have recently read the book “The In-Between”. Have you read this book about hospice care and death? What are your thoughts on the author’s stories? I have also noted the circle of life with my geriatric patients and my own parents. Thank you for discussing it.
BK Books replied:
Hi Maggie, I have not read the book. Thank you for bringing it to my attention Blessings! Barbara

1 2 3

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published