“The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world. “Charles Malik
If I had one wish for humanity, I would want our generation of women to leave a new legacy in childbirth.
And I would want all of us; mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, cousins and neighbors to be part of the conversation -because the way that women give birth today affects the future for all of us.
What I mean by that is -the way that we give birth to our children sets the tone for how they will relate to life -fostering a blueprint for the kind of world they will go on to create- not only for the coming generations, but in terms of how they will go on to care for our own generation as we embark upon our elder years.
Are we becoming hardwired for pain?
We are literally being wired at birth for pain and it’s making life harder than it need to be, for all of us.
According to research coming out of the field of pre and perinatal psychology, as adults we continue to relive many of the same patterns of pain, suffering and abandonment that we experienced at birth and during childhood (later projecting these hardships into each and every new life experience until the unconscious beliefs patterns are finally resolved or healed).
Have you ever wondered what impact it has on the soul’s essence, when our very first experience of what it means to be human – our first impression of what life on earth holds for us- is met with pain and suffering?
Today many if not most of our children are born in some type of fear, pain or trauma (think drugs, forceps, c-section, hands pulling on their neck and head, vacuum extractor, fetal scalp electrode, resuscitation, being handled poorly, being taken away from mother, weighing on cold scale, loud jarring noises, circumcision etc.).
According to Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist and author of the Biology of Belief, this unresolved pain and trauma closes down our babies ability to live fully open and in growth mode. Instead we become wired for constriction and living in protection mode- a state that keeps us from being able to fully grow into our brilliance and from expressing our gifts in the world without the difficulty of unconscious negative and self limiting childhood patterning getting in the way.
How we are born is shaping the way that we live and die: institutionalized…
Today most of us were born in institutions (hospitals), raised in them (think schools), live in them (old age) and die in them (full circle), but what about taking our lives and communities back into our own hands, starting with birth?
What if instead we embraced birth as a community and supported women to rise up and reclaim their immense feminine power to vision, nurture and to protect the coming generations, so that they could feel empowered to explore pregnancy, birth and motherhood without feeling fearful, alienated and self-consciousness about their capability to birth naturally, breastfeed and nurture their babies?
As a community we need to come together to take a stand for gentle birth practices so that our babies do not suffer- because if we don’t, who will? Mothers can’t do this alone. They need the support of their families and communities if they are to take a different path.
But, can we really trust and reclaim birth at this point- or is it just a pipe dream that birth even has the potential to be so much more than just something we ‘have to do’ to have a baby?
If we want to find out, we are going to have to not only rediscover birth, but also reclaim responsibility and our trust in life as a community of people.
Reclaiming birth from the ‘experts’
It’s time to take birth back from the territory of experts and back into the heart and hands of our families and communities.
But are we qualified? Isn’t birth dangerous without medical intervention?
The truth is, I believe that we can trust birth if we don’t interfere with it.
According to some leading thinkers in birth physiology, most of the pain and suffering in modern childbirth is created by fear, irreverent use of technology and it’s accompanying cascade of interventions -but trauma is not itself intrinsic to childbirth.
The more I witnessed the difference between unattended births, homebirths with Midwives and hospital births (as a Doula) and continued to study birth physiology – the interplay of hormones, body structures (tissues, ligaments and bones), instincts, consciousness (internal environment) and the birth space (external environment) for their effect on labour and birth- the more I have come to understand that to be true.
While exploring childbirth history I also came to discover that the beliefs we carry about birth are based on misunderstandings with many crucial pieces of the puzzle missing.
Sure it is true that many women died in childbirth due to infection before the advent of antibiotics, but what you might not know is that doctors used to place their fingers into the birthing woman’s vagina after coming directly from the morgue where they had been performing autopsies on victims of puerperal fever (without washing their hands in between).
Clearly, birth isn’t uniquely prone to infection, but it is what we do to birth (and where we give birth) that makes us susceptible to certain scenarios and health concerns.
When we look at birth from a systems perspective it becomes apparent that it is the structures of the system itself that perpetuates the need for surgery and technology. As just one example, doctors who attend most of the births that take place in North America are obstetricians- doctors who specialize in surgery – and so it is natural that they should have a conscious or unconscious drive to use their skills in surgical birth -it is what they went to school to learn and were trained for.
Increasing Cesarean rates reflect just how distant we have become from trusting the inherent wisdom of our own bodies. In 1965 the cesarean rate was 4.5 % and now it ranges up to 60% (and beyond) in some hospitals.
With 60% c-section rates becoming ‘normal’ we have to wonder- have women become incapable of giving birth?
Research from the physiological birth sciences, much of which is outlined beautifully in Dr. Sarah Buckley’s article ‘the hormonal blueprint of labour‘, shows that we women are in fact very well equipped to give birth.
So what on earth is going on then?
According to obstetrician Michel Odent who coined the words ‘undisturbed birth’- interference in childbirth with unnecessary protocol and inhibitory birth environments keeps the consciousness of the labouring woman from being able to descend into an instinctive and primal awareness of how to open to the birth experience.
He insists that safe birth practices must be centered around facilitating birth physiology (not the other way around with labour boxed into birth practices and parameters that are convenient or comfortable for the care provider).
From the physiological birth paradigm, what we don’t do and how we approach and prepare the birthing environment is what prevents birth complications- not one simplified squeaky clean hospital or home birth protocol applied to all labours.
Thanks to the research of Dr. Sarah Buckley and Dr. Michel Odent we now have a new lens with which to view childbirth- the physiological paradigm where labours and birth are not interfered with as a matter of course.
Unfortunately women seeking care under the physiological paradigm are often hard-pressed to get it where even midwifery care is regulated and medicalized.
Birth freedom: How to make the shift
It seems that we are losing our basic womanly right to birth where we want, with whom we want and without intervention- but are we taking notice and who is responsible?
What we need now is to create a whole new paradigm of childbirth if we want to preserve our daughter’s birth freedom.
The more we make a study of birth physiology, the more apparent it will become that undisturbed birth is safe when women are healthy.
As pregnant and experienced birthing mothers and grandmothers we need to become responsible for reclaiming birth wisdom for our daughters and grand daughters– so that they are not misled by the paradigm of fear in birth.
How are they to know any different if we don’t show them? How will they remember birth wisdom if we don’t reclaim it for ourselves?
What kind of future will we create for our grandchildren if we continue to allow mother’s and babies to be drugged up, under nurtured and harmed by dangerous birth practices?
If our daughters and grand babies have to face the same conditions or worse in 20 years, then not only did we their mother’s and grandmothers suffer in vain -but the truth is we are the ones responsible.
In the words of wise women, Jeannine Parvati Baker, “When we take our journey in life, inevitability we’re gonna trip on a rock, here or there. We must as a people, stop, pick up that rock, and remove it from the path, so that those who come behind us won’t trip also. If we neglect to stop and pick up that rock in the road, anyone who follows after us and hurts themselves…. it becomes our responsibility to care for them…..by picking the road clean of obstacles, our sisters, our daughters, our granddaughters who come behind us will have a clear road to birth”.
Today we have made birth the territory of ‘experts’ and ‘authority’. The information that is being passed down to us from the experts, namely that birth is dangerous and that it requires medical intervention is actually the truth -when we interfere with it.
We need to start asking: How much safer could birth be, if we simply created the right conditions for birth and then left it alone?
We need to return to a study of the basic needs of the labouring woman if we want childbirth practices to be centered on the well being of mother’s and babies- that is self evident.
We must also think critically about modern birthing practices. Who or what are they intended to serve (hospital systems and structures, big pharma, big egos, the clocks, convenience etc.)? Do modern birthing practices create the very conditions they profess to solve?
Mother as expert…
So who can we turn to when we want to know the truth about unhindered childbirth, and about how to create the kind of conditions that are needed in the birth environment to prevent interference with the natural and normal physiology of a healthy labouring woman?
If we want to know how to create an undisturbed birth, the only logical way to do that is to learn from the people who have done it themselves and who are still doing it – not from ‘experts’ who have never themselves experienced or facilitated an undisturbed birth.
A quick google search of the words ‘undisturbed birth‘, ‘waterbirth‘, ‘lotus birth’, ‘unassisted birth‘, ‘ecstatic birth‘, ‘Sacred Birthing’ or ‘orgasmic birth‘ will surely lead you toward the wisdom of the kind of people who really trust birth.
In contrast, there is a huge volume of fear based information about birth coming at us from every angle (caregivers, TV shows, media, internet).
If we want to create a different kind of birth experience than what is commonly experienced today, we have to switch stations altogether (away from experts) and turn up the volume on the real experts -the experienced mothers who are sharing with us how they actually have facilitated safe, gentle, ecstatic and even orgasmic births!
It will only be possible for each one of us, if we turn our awareness toward voices that speak trust and then open our mind and hearts to that potential.
The truth is that nothing that we do from a place of resistance, fear or dread turns out well, so why would birth be any different? We have to start giving birth from a place of inspiration if we want to create a new birth ‘herstory’ for our daughters.
It is equally important to surround ourselves locally with people who live and breathe trust in birth- having access to a community of people who really walk their talk- women friends, Doulas and Midwives who believe in your inherent capacity as a woman to give birth and trust you to know what kind of care will best serve you.
When we make different choices in this world -ones that are apart from the mainstream, it is so essential to spend time in the presence of people who support us so that we are not swayed by the fear-based consciousness that permeates childbirth.
Personally, I want a world where my daughter is considered capable and intelligent enough to make her own decisions about her body and her baby – a world where she is free to choose who she wants council and birth support from– if she wants it at all.
Given the fact that less than 1% of women in the US give birth at home and that it still remains next to impossible to get a Midwife here in Manitoba (never mind one who is free to practice without vaginal exams and a doppler in labour), I for one refuse to stand idly and watch the last of my daughter’s birth freedoms slip away.
What about you? Are you ready to start picking up ‘the rocks in the road’ for our daughters and grandbabies?
If you want to be part of continuing the conversation about expanding birth choices for our daughters and creating solutions where challenges stand in the way, join me at the Trust Birth Conference so that we can all reclaim birthing wisdom together!
This conversation isn’t just for mothers to be, Midwives and Doulas, it is a conversation for all women. Losing our birth freedom is just one of the many freedoms that we stand to lose if we don’t take a stand for it now.
Join me at the Birth Freedom Seminar at the Trust Birth Conference. Check out this description from the website on the Birth Freedom Seminar by Carla Hartley founder of the Ancient Art Midwifery Institute!
“The Birth Freedom Seminar is about restoring Constitutional Liberty. It’s not just about birth. If they can strip away this most basic of freedoms, what else is next? If you are ready to stand up against the ever increasing theft of Constitutional Liberty, then join us for an exciting and empowering day of motivational and informative speakers. Our speakers for the day include ….long-time midwives who have served mothers even when it wasn’t politically correct, an attorney who fights on the front lines for women to have VBACS, a midwife educator who refuses to sacrifice parental freedom for expediency, and me (Carla Hartley), someone who is just bold enough to think that it is not too late to fight for freedom.” Click here to learn more.
Many people complain that children should come with a manual, but few realize that they actually do!
The issue is not that we are not well equipped to know how to raise our children, rather the problem is that we have forgotten how to trust the “parenting manual” that resides within our soul.
This blueprint for parenting is not hidden, and we do not have to be spiritual to discover or decipher it. The knowledge of how to raise this child is inherent and it is given to us the moment we conceive our baby. If this is true, we ask, then why do so few parents claim their inner parenting wisdom?
The truth is that the voice of our soul’s wisdom, has been drowned out by much louder and stronger voices. While the soul whispers truth, the collective ego shouts fear. We have been hypnotized by a culture that asks us to trust the experts, to fear losing our individual autonomy as women and to maintain control over our children. It takes a powerful woman to stand up and claim her power in the midst of many who shout “no” to all that her inner voice is asking of her.
Birth is The Blueprint
From the moment of conception, we are being downloaded with the blueprint of how to raise the child that is forming in our womb. We are intimately connected with the child’s soul.
It is at this time that we can choose to either “tune in” and turn up the volume on our intuition or to “switch stations” altogether and enter the trance of society’s agenda for how we will raise our child.The choices we make prenatally and the self responsibility we choose to assume for our baby’s birth, sets the tone for how we will mother.
Even while our baby is in the womb, we are potentially creating lifelong patterns with him or her; and we all know how hard it is to break the patterns in our relationships.
If we need experts to manage our birth experience, we will naturally go on to make those same experts responsible for our child’s health and well-being.
If you feel the inner calling to claim your power as the wise woman healer of your family, know that you are well equipped to.
Surround yourself with other women who also feel this calling so that you can support and uphold one another.For those times when you feel that you need to consult with someone, allow your inspiration to guide you to toward experts or teachers who empower you to assume your own power and responsibility, rather than tell you what to do.
In time, the doubt within you that asks you to second guess your intuition (a.k.a. the tribal voices such as family, tradition, religion and culture) will start to quiet down. The less power and authority you give others over your choices, the less they will feel compelled to voice their criticism (and this includes your own inner critic!).
So then, will you rise up as wise woman healer and claim your baby’s manual?
Resources for Embracing Your Power Inner Parenting Blueprint and yourself as the Wise Woman Healer in your Family:
Birth and Breastfeeding by Michel Odent
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr. Sarah Buckley www.sarahjbuckley.com
Unassisted Childbirth-Laura Shanley www.unassistedchildbirth.com
Primal Mothering in Modern World by Hygeia Halfmoon
-Susun Weed www.susunweed.com
Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child by Janet Zand, Robert Rountree, and Rachel Walton
Have you ever wondered why so many babies and children these days seem to suffer from a variety of types of digestive distress such as colic, rashes, diarrhea or constipation?
In order to shed some light on this phenomenon, we have to understand the importance of good digestion and “intestinal integrity” in the mother, father and baby.
Few people understand that it is crucial that mother`s and father`s attend to their inner ecosystem (the microbial balance in their bodies) as important preparation for conception and childbirth.
Most of us are aware that probiotics like those found in yogurt are “good for us“, but unfortunately many of us are not aware of their specific impact in terms of building a strong basis of heath, good digestion and optimal immunity for ourselves and our babies and children. Since we haven’t understood what the consequences are, or what is at stake, we often overlook the health of our gut when we are preparing our bodies to conceive or to give birth to a child.
Did you know that babies are born sterile and establish their inner ecosystem, only once they enter the world?
So then how does a baby acquire his /her unique microflora you might wonder? Many people are shocked to discover that babies are “cultured” by their mama’s vaginal microflora as they make their descent into this world!
So what this means is, if mama’s microflora is imbalanced (mother’s vaginal microflora is established by her gut microflora), then baby will begin life with compromised digestive and immune capacity. What is even less understood is that the state of the father’s inner ecosystem also contributes to baby’s health, since during the act of making love, the father is passing on his unique flora ratios and shaping the nature of the mother’s microflora as well!
If one or both parents have a history of digestive problems, allergies, PMS, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety or learning disorders such as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD, then baby starts life out with compromised microflora- making him or her more susceptible than others to digestive, immune and mental/emotional discomforts as they continue to grow and develop.
As a result, baby is at risk for developing colic and other digestive distresses that could have been prevented by the parents taking care to restore their inner ecosystem during the pre-conception and pregnancy period.
So what can parents and parents-to-be do? How do we restore our gut flora?
First we have to eliminate those things that kill our good microflora or feed pathogenic bacteria:
1) We must eliminate all refined and even natural sources of concentrated sugar and flour from our diets as these types of refined forms of sugar feed the pathogenic flora that create toxicity and inflammation in our gut.
2) We must upgrade the quality of the animal products that we consume to being antibiotic free, from compassionately raised and free range or grass fed animals.
3) We can drink, bathe and shower in water that has been filtered of chlorine (which is an antibiotic).
Next we have to make the following additions to our diet:
1) Cultured foods (add 24 hour brewed homemade yogurt, kefir milk, cultured vegetables, kefir water etc.)
2) Alkalize our blood with mineral rich foods such as cooked greens, seaweeds and bone broth.
3) Take at least 6 months of supplementation with a broad spectrum probiotic supplement containing 14 or more different strains of beneficial bacteria.
The aforementioned practises must be adopted by couples planning to conceive, and by pregnant and breastfeeding women for anyone seeking to prevent common childhood disorders such as asthma, eczema, colic and tummy aches while promoting optimal immune health in the developing baby and child.
For people who don’t have severe digestive problems or a long history of antibiotic use, the aforementioned recommendations will be adequate to restore the gut flora in most cases.
However, in more severe situations such as autism, IBS and other chronic or persistent cases of digestive distress and mental illness, the family must in addition adhere to a grain free diet for 6 months to 2 ½ years to restore the gut back to its optimal state of health.
For more information about how to get started on that path check out these resources..
As a certified GAPS practitioner, I can help. Book a session here to speak with me about your unique situation.
aka:Trans generational Passage of Characteristics by Non-Genetic Means
“There is mounting evidence that programming of lifetime health by the conditions in the womb is equally, if not more important than our genes in determining how we perform mentally and physically……understanding the mechanisms that underlie programming by the quality of life in the womb, we can improve the start in life for our children and their children.” Dr. Peter W. Nathanielsz in Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease
All that I am about to share with you is based on the paradigm shifting work of cellular biologist Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
His book, the Biology of Belief-unleashing the power of consciousness, matter & miracles explains the principles that Lipton has coined “The New Biology”.
Before we begin to look at the practical application of the subject of the new biology and parents as genetic engineers, we must preface the principles with a brief understanding of the emerging science of epi genetics.
According to Lipton, the science of epi-genetics literally means “control above genetics”.
He goes on to say, “In the last decade, epi-genetic research has established that DNA blueprints passed down through genes are not set in concrete at birth. Genes are not destiny! Environmental influences, including nutrition, stress and emotions, can modify those genes, without changing their basic blueprint. And those modifications, epi-geneticists have discovered, can be passed on to future generations as surely as DNA blueprints are passed on to future generations via the Double Helix”.
Principles of the New Biology as Applied to Parenting
Genes are Fluid
Diseases are not the result of a single gene, but of complex interactions among multiple genes and environmental factors. The Humane Genome Project discovered that more than 80% of the presumed and required DNA does not even exist!
The project itself proved the “one gene, one protein” dogma of genetic determinism obsolete, but they didn’t tell us that part of the discovery!
Sure, they found all the genes in the human body, but what they forgot to mention was that while they expected to find at least 120, 000 genes, they found that the human genome consists of approximately 25,000 genes. More than 80% of the required DNA does not exist to account for the complexity found in human beings. Compare that with the primitive Caenorhabditis worm genome, which contains approximately 24 000 genes, in a body of exactly 969 cells and a simple brain of 302 cells!
Something is wrong with this picture!
Yet, the media and pharmaceutical cartel, continue to beat the drum of genetic determinism. We have to wonder if this withholding of information, was meant keep us thinking that we are helpless victims of ill health and disease-thus making it easy to continue marketing prescription drugs and over the counter medicines.
“The notion that genes control biology has been so frequently repeated for such a long period of time that scientists have forgotten it is a hypothesis, not a truth. In reality, the idea that genes control biology is a supposition, which has never been proven and in fact has been undermined by the latest scientific research”. (Lipton, 2005)
According to the new biology and supported by the both the philosophy and understandings of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, our thoughts, feelings, nutrition status, environment and lifestyle during pre-conception and gestation, affect our child’s present and long term health, constitution (basis of health) and jing (vitality).
“Let go of unfounded fears and take care not to implant unnecessary fears and limiting beliefs in your children’s subconscious minds. Most of all, do not accept the fatalistic message of genetic determinism. You can help your children reach their potential and you can change your personal life. You are not “stuck” with your genes.” Dr. Bruce Lipton
Obstetric doctor, Michel Odent, is also very deeply concerned about what he calls, the “ecology of the womb” and he has dedicated a research bank to compile studies that relate to what he refers to as “primal health”. This research bank can be accessed at the Primal Health Research Bank.
With the knowledge that our womb baby’s future constitution will built up by our choices, as conscious parents we must ask ourselves “how will each decision I make impact my womb baby’s well-being,?
If we are currently desiring or planning to conceive at some point in our lives, then we must prepare our body and mind to receive this new soul, and provide the best possible conditions that we are capable of. If we are to be conscious human beings, then we must also take responsibility and choose to become informed about all aspects of our health and well-being, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.
Specific actions we can take right now include, eating real food as nature has supplied in its natural form, as well as reducing stressors in our daily lives while cultivating both beauty and satisfaction as much as possible in every moment.
This serves a triple purpose:
1) to serve our highest interests
2) to serve our child’s highest interests
3) to step into the role of being a model for our child
Which brings us to another principle of the new biology.
Children Live in Theta
Children live in what we adults would experience as a very relaxed and imaginary state of consciousness. Scientists refer to this brain state as “theta”. In this brain wave state, the subconscious mind is easily influenced and programmed. This explains in part why as adults, even when we consciously have different value systems than our parents, we still act out similar behaviors, patterns and limiting beliefs.
As parents we have so much power over the formation of our child’s patterns and self perception. THIS IS A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE CANNOT TAKE LIGHTLY!!! We must remain awake to the fact that we are indeed “programming” them.
Will we use our thoughts, words and deeds to reflect back to them that they are worthy of our time, our love and our trust?
“What if we had conscious parents and teachers who served as wonderful life models, always engaging in humane and win-win relations with everyone in the community? If our subconscious mind were programmed with such healthy behaviors, we could be totally successful in our lives without ever being conscious!” Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
Growth vs. Protection
“The responsiveness of individuals to the environmental conditions perceived by their mothers before birth, allows them to optimize their genetic and physiologic development as they adapt to the environmental forecast.” Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
While this information is empowering to many, to others the idea of assuming responsibility is scary and induces feelings of fear, doubt and self blame. This is not the kind of responsibility that I am talking about. The kind of responsibility that I am referring to is the just the reverse, literally- the “ability to respond”-response “ability”.
It is actually this capability, to respond, rather than react to our circumstances that allows us to grow from our experiences. This awareness precludes the last principle of the new biology as it applies to parenting.
It is not what comes into our experience, but rather how we respond to it that determines whether or not we “grow” or “shut down” from our experiences.
Lipton refers to this as growth vs. protection. In the protection mode we are victims of our environment and susceptible to all forms of pain and suffering, while in growth mode, we evolve.
This is not to say that we do not experience pain and suffering while we remain in growth mode, but that it is out of chaos that transformation and ultimately our evolution occurs.
We must continue to expand our perceptions of ourselves and our lives if we want to experience greater levels of health, emotional and spiritual well-being.
THIS IS SUCH A POWERFUL PARADIGM! It both empowers us to make conscious choices and it allows us to expand in response to environments that are not to our liking- by choosing a perception that opens us and causes us to evolve!
This knowledge expands on Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest and evolves it somewhat, to rather, survival of the most perception-aly flexible and emotionally resilient!
We can transmute or evolve our species through our perceptions and emotional intelligence rather than through brute physical resilience.
Back to our children….
We must model the ability to expand and be flexible about our perceptions if we want our children to be able to survive the new world. Our experience of being human at this time on the planet is in a constant state of evolution and some even say that time is speeding up! Being able to respond, rather than break down or wither in the face of change, is what our children will need to be able to do, to live into the uncertain future.
So let us rise up and assume responsibility for our health, thoughts, deeds, actions, responses and perceptions…. for that is the loving work of conscious parents. Let us program our children for success in life, whatever that means to each child.
Cultivating the Sacred In Birth
Giving birth is SACRED.
After all, it is the bridge between heaven and earth….the momentous moment that a new soul arrives on our planet. What could be more sacred than that!
When we enter holy places, we feel moved with reverence, we lower our voices and speak and act with great consciousness and respect. Contrast this with the environment in which we birth our babies. People rushing, coming and going, loud voices, beeping machines, etc.
If we are to bring the Sacredness back to birth, we must prepare our birth space as a sacred birthing space.
How can you infuse your birthing space and your child’s first day on the planet with ceremony and quiet reverent celebration?
What customs or rituals do you hold sacred?
Our baby’s souls are born open and ask for a gentle welcoming. Our attention to creating a sacred birthing environment also protects our baby’s delicate senses. What we create for this day, need not be religious or ritualistic, but rather symbolic of our deep appreciation of the cycle of life and of our gratitude to be in the presence of, and to receive this new soul into our love and care.
As we infuse more consciousness into birth, we infuse more consciousness into the consciousness of humanity.
Birth as A Woman’s Visionquest
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a vision quest is “a period of spiritual seeking among certain Native American peoples, often undertaken as a puberty rite, that typically involves isolation, fasting, and the inducement of a trance state for the purpose of attaining guidance or knowledge from supernatural forces”.
Most of us are familiar with this definition of a vision quest, but few recognize that this masculine rite of passage has a feminine counterpart!
As women we need not go out alone into the depths of the forest to receive guidance from spirit in a supernatural way. Our journey is inherent and it is a turning within. We surrender to the altered state, and merge with the universe to bring forth new life!
The vision quest is inherent within us!
The turning inward begins at the moment of conception. Throughout pregnancy the natural feminine tendency to be receptive increases, preparing us to be literally penetrated by spirit’s love, as we surrender to the profound altered state of consciousness, that giving birth is .
Just as we can open to God with our lover through Tantra…we can also open to God through the birth experience….. after all, birth is the continuum of our love making.
This isn’t just to hint at orgasmic and pleasurable birth, but it is also to give rise to the inner visionquest…..
What you will bring back from your “birth quest”?
How will your birth journey evolve your soul?
If you embrace your potential to harness the power of your birth journey into a spiritual path of conscious evolution…..if you intend it….if you claim it….. IT WILL BE YOURS!
What you claim in this experience, is your gift to your children, your children’s children and humanity at large!
As each individual evolves, the collective is elevated as well!
Birth is Evolving!
Yes it is true! Women all over the globe are beginning to experience pleasure instead of pain in childbirth!
Women are accessing expanded inner capabilities through conscious childbirth!
They are having more than just a pleasurable experience, they are having a spiritual experience!
How will you intend the energy of the universe, as it flows through you as you give birth?
Imagine a world in which baby’s are born without pain and trauma, where mothers birth in love, trust and pleasure and where women experience birth as orgasmic!?
How would this impact all facets of our lives and “ways of being” as a human beings? Stay tuned for the next “inner”quiry…. Parents as Genetic Engineers
References and Resources:
As we live, so we birth……..as we birth, so we live……………….
Pregnancy can be a time of self development and inner growth if we choose to embark upon our births as a woman’s vision quest.
How will you prepare for the moment that all the power of the universe flows through you as you open to receive your baby?
From the moment a new soul is conceived within our wombs we are entering an altered state that we can harness to deepen our connection with spirit, humanity and our life’s purpose.
An Uncommon Parallel
While what I am about to say may not be considered “politically correct”, it begs to be said anyway. From my experience both with childbirth and the experimental use of recreational drugs in my youth, I liken the experience of the altered state of giving birth to the experience of using drugs such as “magic mushrooms” or marijuana. While the altered states feel very different, they are the same in that you don’t get to decide what the trip will be like, nor do you get to decided when it is done.
Surrender is the only way through the intensity. Yet how many of us are comfortable with letting go and surrendering to the unknown? How many of us are comfortable with altered states? Especially in a culture where we have been programmed to fear recreational drug use. Most of us would admit to being uncomfortable around people who are in altered states given that we ourselves are not. This may explain why in our modern culture we feel compelled to go to a hospital to give birth, so that the doctor (shaman) can manage our altered state for us, or save us from it if we feel like we are on a “bad trip”. We ask for socially acceptable drugs to superimpose the normal waking consciousness into our birth, while numbing our body and separating us from being connected to our experience.
While the altered state of childbirth is a physiological experience, it is also a hormonal “high” that leaves women feeling extremely powerful. Unfortunately few women today get to experience a true DMT or oxytocin peak (the hormonal bliss of childbirth) because birth is rarely as private as it needs to be for these states to occur in their fullness. We can numb ourselves to the inherent spiritual nature of pregnancy and childbirth or we can embrace it fully. Via intention and inspired action we can call into out experience the rich fullness of our inherent “woman’s vision-quest par excellence”! (J.Parvati Baker)
Embracing the Journey
To begin preparing for our woman’s vision-quest, we can view our upcoming birth experience as a microcosm of the usual drama of our lives. What needs to be brought up for healing in your life? What patterns are still playing out in your life that need to be healed?
Will you use this pregnancy as a time of transformation?
In what kind of mood will you enter the altered state of childbirth? Inspired, trusting and able to flow, or will you be fearful, distracted and afraid of losing control? Will you spend this pregnancy focusing on your soul’s growth and becoming the kind of conscious person that you would want to be your own mother!? Or are you content to settle for fussing over transient details such baby gadgets and wallpaper?
Who are you? Who are you capable of becoming?
Will you embrace this journey that is your birth-rite as a woman? Will you infuse it with as much consciousness as you know how?
As we live, so we birth……..as we birth, so we live……………….
“Contact is good for babies- and their parents- right from the beginning period. And it improves not just their relationship. Allowing time to bond helps increase childhood IQ scores, keeps families intact, and reduces the likelihood of childhood abuse”. Tina Cassidy author of BIRTH-The Suprising History of How We are Born
In the last post we learned that how we give birth impacts our ability to access the inner parenting blueprint that resides in our soul. While that blueprint is always available to us in the here and now (the past does not equal the future), we have biological capabilities that assist us to access the blueprint without our conscious willing of it.
While the soul intuitively understands that how we give birth psychologically impacts our babies perception of what life is and also our own way of being as a mother, it is a lesser known fact that the body and it’s physiology also affects the psychology of mothering.
Few know that there is a hormonal blueprint of labour that initiates bonding and can over ride the mind and its conflicting ideas about right and so called “wrong” ways to mother a child if a mother can yield to it.
Love for our baby is not just a fondness that we experience, but rather it is the natural physiological outcome of the oxytocin peak that occurs when labour and birth are undisturbed and instinctive.
Many women miss out on this hormonal surge due to internal fears along with modern birthing conditions and practices.
In order to experience the natural hormonal imprint of birth, there are certain internal and external conditions that need be met, to allow our body to be experience the oxytocin peak that will guide our mothering instincts in the direction of our baby’s highest interests.
-feelings of love, trust and safety that allow a mother to surrender to the altered state of childbirth
-consciousness moving from the neo-cortex (rational thinking mind) to the primal brain that knows how to give birth (psychologically undisturbed birth).
-quiet, minimal-to-no eye contact and absence of bright light
-small, safe space guarded by a trusting, quiet unobtrusive presence
-natural labour and birth (absence of unnecessary interventions that inhibit instinctive birth and mothering)
– comfortably warm environment
-1 hour undisturbed after the birth of mother/baby/father bonding with out interruption by caregivers
While the conditions that support birth and mothering seem intuitive, finding a caregiver who can stand back and witness without observing and guard the birthing space without interrupting the mother, is hard to come by, yet not impossible to find.
The best way to get the care you desire, is to read the following books (see references) and share what you are learning with your caregiver.
Please understand that doctors and registered midwives are bound by medical protocol. While your caregiver may want to offer you the kind of birth you are asking for, their medical training and protocol may make it challenging and sometimes even illegal for them to do so. Therefore if you choose to hire a caregiver, find one that is receptive and relate to them with consensus (finding solutions that don’t compromise, but rather ones that serve the needs of everyone involved, including the well-being of your baby). It isn’t fair to expect your caregivers to offer you something that they are not comfortable with, just as it is unjust for caregivers to impose beliefs and expectation into your birth, that are not aligned with your intentions.
If consensus with a medical caregiver does not seem possible given the birthing climate where you live, consider hiring a lay midwife, or asking other women who are experienced in birthing their own babies at home, to assist you in your birth (this is the way we have always given birth anyway!). From the beginning of time grandmothers, aunties and experienced mothers have attended other mothers in birth! Some Doulas are comfortable with a woman’s right to choose not to hire a registered caregiver. Seek and ye shall find.
Another birthing option is to birth unassisted. While not for all woman, women who are very confident and who have a deep trust and faith in life and in their body’s, are choosing to have their babies all by themselves! This movement is growing all over the world and there are many internet support groups for this birthing option. It certainly is one way to embrace your power as the authority of your own body and to take full responsibility to mother your baby following your soul’s intuitive nudging every step of the way!
If you are choosing to birth in the hospital, please do your research about labour induction with synthetic oxytocin (pitocin). Induction of labour with synthetic drugs interrupts the hormonal interplay of labour and birth and makes it impossible to get the oxytocin peak that mothers are biologically meant to be gifted with for optimal primal bonding. If that weren’t unfortunate enough, even mothers who labour naturally in the hospital are at the last minute injected with pitocin just as their babies are about to be born, making even a natural hospital birth, biologically unnatural.
The implications of a last minute shot of pitocin is tragic and here’s why: while our natural bonding hormone, oxytocin crosses the blood brain barrier and initiates bonding- synthetic pitocin on the other hand fills our receptor sites, BUT does not cross the blood brain barrier and therefore cannot initiate instinctive bonding.
This is tragic because most women birth in the hospital and pitocin injection at birth is routine care! This means that the majority of women giving birth are not biologically set up to be bonded with their babies!
Thank goodness that we can consciously choose to love our children and can override our instincts or lack of them and access our soul’s wisdom anyway if we consciously desire it -but we must ask ourselves how does the lack of an oxytocin peak set us up to mother our children? How do we know if the mother we are, is the mother we are capable of being? How would we know the difference?
Do you want access to all of your biological capabilities as a mother, or are you content to give up your mothering blueprint?
The routine use of pitocin in the third stage is used under the guise of preventing post partum hemorrhage. Pitocin injection is used, instead of facilitating an undisturbed birth and patiently watching and waiting for the body to expel the placenta naturally. This requires time and the recognition of each woman’s individuality- something doctors don’t have time for and unfortunately they are not trained to attend birth in this way.
According to Obstetrician Dr. Michel Odent, there would be virtually no postpartum hemorrhage if the first hour after birth is undisturbed and if all birthing environments were warm. Unfortunately these are conditions that medical mindsets have not yet been that quick to embrace!
So how will you create the conditions to reset your brain to birth instinctively in your birth?
References and Resources:
Birth and Breastfeeding-Dr. Michel Odent
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering-Dr. Sarah Buckley
Unassisted Childbirth– by Laura Shanley
Dr. Sarah Buckley’s website- www.sarahbuckley.com
Dr. Michel Odent’s website- www.wombecology.com
Laura Shanley’s website- www.unassistedbirth.com
As you carry your beautiful Buddha belly have you stopped to acknowledge that you hold the future of humanity in your sacred womb and gentle heart? The late Midwife, Jeannine Parvati Baker brought us the insight that we can indeed “heal the earth by healing birth”. As mothers we carry a sacred potential to be healers of the world through the power of giving birth.
While we may be intitially focused on creating a great birth experience to protect the health and well-being of our baby, in time it becomes appharent to the seeking mother, that the way we give birth has vast and far reaching impacts on humanity at large.
Where we look for answers and feedback about our choices in birth, reflects our deepest values conscious and unconscious. By looking closer at our choices and their subsequent impact on our baby and society at large, we have a unique opportunity for insight, inner growth and expansion of our power as pregnant women.
Many women are beginning to harness the transformational power of birth and motherhood as a time to consciously “evolve”. They are harnessing the momentum of change, to question and recreate many aspects of their lives with much greater reflection and attention than they ever have before. Many new mothers today are looking more closely at how they can align their choices and actions with their deeply felt values. They are living in the question of their incongruencies and “sitting with” how they can come into greater alignment within their inner selves. This new and upcoming generation of mothers, are longing to feel the peace that comes with no longer making choices that conflict with their true inner values and they are finding the courage they need to take the actions needed to come into alignment with their souls longing.
How much value or significance do you place on the responsibility you carry as being the vessel for bringing a new soul onto the planet?
Few stop to ponder the irony that many people will go into debt for wedding expenses (most of which is to entertain and impress others, but only lasts one day!), and then bemoan the price of paying for the gentle midwifery or holistic Doula care that leads to upholding the sanctity of one of the most precious days of their lives, the birth of their own child.
How much are you willing to investing into creating a beautiful and sacred journey of pregnancy and birth, whether it be research, time, money, self care or all of the above? Do you agree that your baby’s birth has at least as great significance as celebrating the love and commitment between two lovers, if not more? After all, partners come and go, but motherhood is forever!
Have you wondered how you can infuse greater consciousness into this sacred rite of passage as you are prepare to partner with the creator to bring a new soul to the planet? Do you wonder what mission does your child have in the conscious evolution of the planet? How will you ensure that your child’s first experience of the world, namely his or her birth is one where he/she feels welcomed, embraced and unharmed by medical technology?
We are coming to an age where we can no longer assume ownership of our children. We must also question how our choices affecting the incarnating soul, in turn affects the planet at large. What kind of birth do you want for this child? How will your child’s first embarkation with life mark his/her soul? What patterns are being wired in your child’s brain even now while in the womb?
As conscious parents, we must begin to ask ourselves how our actions, feelings, experiences and intentions are affecting our womb baby…”parenting begins before conception”(Carista Luminare-Rosen)
Our Birth is Significant for Life
It was once thought that the newborn does not feel pain, and that their amnesia about their own births meant that we need not concern ourselves with how they feel. Science has long proved that premise false (while we mothers have always known that our babies feel, for we can feel right into their feelings)!
“The truth is, much of what we have traditionally believed about babies is false. We have misunderstood them and underestimated their abilities. They are not simple beings, but complex and ageless-small creatures with unexpectantly large thoughts.” David Chamberlain, Ph.D.
In fact, the field of pre and perinatal psychology is telling us that the moment of a child’s birth has great significance for the rest of their lives, setting up unconscious patterns that play out again and again to call our attention to their need for healing and resolution.
While pregnant women hold the continuation of humankind literally in their wombs, they also hold the key to the future of world peace. Whether children are harmed or unharmed at birth, is carried forward into their adult lives. While all of our dysfunctions as the result of our past traumas can be be healed at any moment in time, is it not better to be born gently and peacefully so we can each bring our gifts to the world with ease rather than the insecurity and pain of trauma that masks our potential in fear?
How we give birth and how we mother matters.
If you are reading this and you know a pregnant woman, honor and celebrate her for what she represents and can embody fully with the help of her community. Uphold her, for by her love and selflessness as she gives of her body, heart and soul, she is ensuring a beautiful world not only for her child, but for all of us. Nurture the pregnant women and new mothers among you! Joyfully give of your time, energy and attention if you feel called and inspired!
When we give to mothers, we give to children. What children are given, they reflect back to us and re create in the world. Take time to love a mother and her child today!
For ideas of how to nurture yourself as a pregnant woman, how to nurture the new mother or mother-to-be, check out my e-book “Nurturing the New Family” and get it on sale here for Boxing Week!
The following books are highly recommended to learn more about gentle birth choices and how to “feel into” the needs of your unborn child:
Sacred Birthing-Sunni Karll
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J Buckley
Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
Calm Birth-Robert Newman
Parenting Begins Before Conception -Carista Luminare-Rosen
Birth Without Violence– Frederic Leboyer
The Secret Life of the Unborn Child-Thomas Verny
The Mind of Your Newborn Baby-David Chamberlain
http://www.eco-action.org/dt/bwv1.html to read Birth Without Violence online!
During the birth process, we transform at the cellular level and become the archetypal bodhisattva. The process of being aware as we conceive, gestate and open our wombs to the creative force or the all that is, becomes our attunement as woman healer, giving rise to the higher functioning that we need to mentor our children into their vast potential and greatness.
Parenthood is a spiritual path and awareness is the practice.
As mothers, we have great honor and great responsibility. The consciousness and tone with which we conceive, gestate, birth and parent our children, becomes the fabric from which they create their very lives. We come to conscious awareness through mindfulness meditation, although it often looks different for the householder. “Householders are challenged to watch our natural attachments to our children and let them be manifest in their fullest and purest sense. It is a goal to revision this attachment with eternal eyes, not just with temporal sight”. (Jeannine Parvati Baker).
On the spiritual path of parenthood, we do not go to the ashram or to the monastery. We instead make our homes a Sacred Space and the practice most often looks like kneading bread, shelling chickpeas or washing dishes and sweeping the floors. We sit in awareness for 15 minutes at a time, rarely longer with little hands just begging to pull us off the meditation mat.
We breathe deeply when we notice our self about to rote respond to the discomforts, whining or misbehaviors of our children; instead we stop in that moment of awareness and we respond to a child, rather than to a behavior. We know that our relating to them comes first and that right action follows, never the other way around. We are connected so deeply to our children that we feel their pain to greater degrees even than we feel our own; and our love for them is eternally unconditional.
The actual process of opening to give birth is a gateway for complete transformation on all levels of our being. Inherent in this transformative process is the awakening of dormant capabilities that give rise to expanded states of being and self empowerment that include knowing how to raise this child. We come back to relating, just as we come back to our breath. This relating informs our way of being with our children.
As mothers we give up the freedom to live by our impulses, yet what arises in its place, is awareness and expanded states of being that could not be experienced by any other means or path!
No other practice but motherhood could conjure up the sensation of a heart beating inside our wombs or the experience of feeling love again as though for the first time; and even again with the subsequent birth of each new child coming thereafter. From feeling the life force move through our yonis as we give birth, to the awe that comes with seeing our babies for the first time outside of our bodies and simultaneously getting that, it was this baby that we nurtured in our womb for nine moons.
There are so many altered states of consciousness inherent in co creating, carrying and birthing a child; right from the time of conception and before that, as a women’s climax coaxes the sea-Men into her watery depths. The whole journey of Motherhood is an altered state of consciousness that is informed by the birth process; just as the birth process is informed by who we are, that life is. The altered states that we experience are unique to motherhood; there is no other path by which to attain such incredible states of being and awareness.
As pregnant women and mothers who have taken great care to nurture the souls that gestate or have once gestated within our wombs; we are privy to the very sacred task of mentoring the evolved souls who come to us disguised as children. Yet in the modern context of motherhood, we are often not acknowledged or celebrated and rarely apprenticed and finally initiated into the bodhisattvic path of service called motherhood.
Mother as bodhisattva, is a very real, honoring and empowering archetypal image in which to view motherhood in the modern context. The path no longer chooses us, for today we have the freedom to choose not to mother a child.
Let us acknowledge ourselves and one another for putting aside our own personal nirvanas, to instead merge in service for the highest good of our children, and subsequently for our planet. As we choose to offer ourselves up to mother in awareness, we consciously raise the consciousness of our children, and ultimately we generate the enlightenment of humanity as a whole.
Books for Embracing Childbirth as a Spiritual Path:
Prenatal Yoga and Childbirth by Jeannine Parvati Baker
Sacred Birth by Sunni Karll
CalmBirth by Robert Newman
Childbirth with Insight by Elizabeth Noble
Queen Jin’s Handbook of Pregnancy by Fred Jeremy Seligson
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh