Nourish Mama by Sherry Rothwell
Nourish Mama, a nutritional program by Sherry Rothwell

Trust birth: reclaiming our daughter’s birth freedom

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… 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.


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13 Simple Ways to Sync your Bleeding with the New Moon….

(Photo: Moonwater Medicine)

Before the dawn of electricity we used to bleed together on the new moon and ovulate during the full moon-  perfectly in tune with the women in our community and with the moon energies that naturally supported us during this time.

Bleeding in sync serves to help us manage our energy.

The light of the full moon gives us the natural energy boost we require to get ‘in the mood’ and take advantage of the fertility of our ovulation time.

While the dark new moon is the perfect backdrop to support our going inward and attending to the needs of our soul.

Today, many of us are bleeding backwards.

The most telling sign that we are out of sync with our natural rhythm is that we bleed during other times of the month (rather than with the new moon).

When this happens we often feel out of sync.

So how can we re establish a bleeding rhythm that matches the energy of our environment?

Anything that attunes us to the natural forces can help to re harmonize our body with nature’s cycles.

Here are 13 ways that you can sync your bleeding with the moon: 

1) State the intention out loud or on paper that you want to bleed during the new moon and ovulate at the full moon.

2) Begin by listening to your body and asking it what it needs to do that.

3) Go to bed with the sunset (or before 10pm) and arise with the sun.

4) Eat local food in season.

5) Sleep in a complete darkness during the naturally darkest times of the moon’s phases (new moon).

6) Take moonlight walks at night.

7) Take nature into your body by eating food in the whole form that nature provides.

8) Walk barefoot on the earth etc.

9) Plan your activities in flow with the moon`s energies.

10) Create a Moon Lodge with your women friends simply by gathering and creating sacred space together on the new moon (in whatever form that feel sacred for you).

11) Share this wisdom with your women friends (women who spend a lot of time together naturally sync their bleeding -which can work for or against our intention to bleed with the new moon).

12) Attend to your menstrual health with the help of a holistic practitioner. If you suffer from yeast infections, infertility, heavy bleeding, cramps, PMS etc. claim the gift inherent in these health challenges, by using them as a catalyst to transform your life- rather than simply treating or suppressing the symptoms.

13) Avoid foods that contain endocrine disruptors or xenoestrogens such as: growth hormones, food packaged in plastic or BPA cans and bottled water etc.

As you sync up with the natural cycles, notice the impact on your health, energy and overall satisfaction with the rhythm of your life- even adopting just one or two practices daily -can go a long way toward restoring harmony in our bodies and our lives.

Want to be reminded as we transition in and out of each of the moon’s cycles?

Sign up for our newsletter (top right hand corner, towards the top of the page) so that we can send you a weekly notification by e-mail in service to helping you manage your energy and get in tune with your natural rhythms.

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Time to move or simply rearrange the furniture?


I tend to be a bit of a gypsy. The truth is, since my son was born 10 years ago, our family of four has moved 10 times from Manitoba to the west coast and back again.

I have had this ‘thing’ that happens in November when the snow starts to fall, and I suddenly feel ‘possessed’ to move (don’t judge me, we live in Winterpeg)!

This year the weather has been pretty mild, so I didn’t bother much with that thought.

Instead of moving, I decided to move the furniture (and it just happened naturally as I followed my desire to clear space and honestly assess what is working and isn’t working in my life).

Really, a simple shift in furniture can turn out to be pretty life transforming.

One specific thing that made moving the furniture so profound for us this time, is that I looked at the rooms in my home and the furniture and choose to see them outside of their ‘normal’ context.

There were two things about the way that my home was set up that just wasn’t working for me:

We have this one of a kind, made by a real person beautiful dining room table (in the photo), but there are two problems that it caused in the flow of my everyday life.

1) I used it as my desk. Imagine this, it is time for dinner and there I am pushing my work to one side of the table with barely enough room for my family to sit down comfortably. So everyday, I would have this sinking thought about having no space for my work and it taking up the space that I intended to be sacred with my family.

2) I originally purchased the table as an investment in intentional community. We used to live in a home with other families and we needed a table that we could all enjoy sitting at comfortably together. While we still have a vision of that table being used in a common space in an intentional community, it is not serving our family of four. This is on account of it’s rectangular shape. When 4 people sit on the end of it, it doesn’t feel balanced. Energetically, it makes one want to eat and get up as soon as possible. So we got a lovely round table and made the big table my desk! That’s right, save for when I have clients coming to my house, I can simply leave everything that I am working on spread out, so I can see it all at once!

Another simple shift that made a profound difference is that we not only switched the use of furniture, but we also rearranged our house unconventionally. We put the living room in the kitchen, the office in the living room and the main eating area in the dining room.

In the process, we also moved my daughter’s play space into the main floor bedroom (it used to take up most of our living room). Oh my word, the toys mostly even stay in there now!

I have to tell you that when our house was set up conventionally, it was really important to me that the children’s play space was in the middle of the living room because I wanted my kids to be close to me while I was in the kitchen.

BUT this new way that we set up means that while the playroom isn’t close to the kitchen, it is close to my work space -meaning that the children are playing close by where I spend most of my time anyway!

So not only does it feel like we are living in a new house, but something about the way we rearranged things, makes our home feel more spacious (and it is way easier to keep clean)!

The one thing that I want to share about why I think these shifts have so profoundly impacted the flow of our life and our home, is that we looked at our lives and our space ‘outside of the box’. We rearranged our home to suit us, rather than simply putting furniture in rooms the way that someone else decided makes sense.

And really, when you think about it, how could one design concept fit all people?

So if your home is making you feel like it was made for someone else, maybe it is time for some unconventional moving of the furniture so that your home reflects you (not the other way around)!

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Let the Waning Moon help you go with the flow!

waning-moonThis is the time in the month where you may start to notice that you suddenly feel less inspired to vision and create with your mind, and more turned on by the idea of clearing space and working with your hands.

We are entering the waning moon cyle. Your energies will naturally begin to recede during this time as your consciousness begins to move inward (your ‘moontime’ is coming).

Now is the time to start making preparations for conscious ‘moontime‘ (menstruation). Not only does the waning moon help you ‘go with the flow’, but attending consciously to your self  care in this time will make space for your other ‘flow’ (menstruation) to become a time of relaxation and restoration (rather than a time of pain and tension).

Now is a perfect time of the month to reflect:

  • Are you living in line with your values?
  • What needs transformation in your life?
  • What structures or support systems must be put in place so that you can live a life of your conscious choosing?
  • More importantly, what obstacles do you need to overcome or eliminate in order to make room for a way of life that works better for you?

Get out that dusty journal or enter deep conversation with loved ones to assimilate and absorb that which you encountered, struggled with and learned in the previous weeks.

Release and let go of that which is no longer needed (ie: clear clutter in your home).

Take care of your unfinished business, so that you can create a clear slate for yourself moving forward (including unfinished business with people).

Complete your unfinished projects so that you can move forward into new realms of creativity and make space for the visioning time of the new moon that is on its way.

How will you need to rework your plans for this week so that you stay in the flow?

If you notice that you are ‘pushing the river’ on something, or that you keep coming up against obstacles, stop trying to force it.


Get clear on what the obstacles are and systematically remove them one step at a time. Acting on that will get you back in the flow. The energies at this time of the month support self reflection and movement toward more space.

While your mind might want you to ‘keep pushing’, in the end you’ll get more accomplished if you are simply willing to put down the things that just aren’t coming together for you easily right now.

If you continue to ‘push’ things, they might still get done, but they will take you much longer than they should……and you’ll still be left with the clearing you need to do on all levels (putting you ‘behind’ in the bigger picture-exactly the opposite of why we ‘push’ in the first place).


If you flow in cycle with the moon’s energies….everything you need and desire will begin to fall into place. Trust it.

Allow the moon to help you cultivate harmony in your life. As you continue to pay attention, you will come to fine tune your natural rhythms.

Want to be reminded as we transition in and out of each of the moon’s cycles?

Sign up for my newsletter (top right hand corner, towards the top of the page) so that I can send you a weekly notification by e-mail in service to helping you manage your energy and get in tune with your natural rhythms!

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12 Simple Self Care Sadhanas for SAHM’s

I just read an article somewhere where a mom of 2 young children was seeking ideas for how to cope with being overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning and nap time. She said she felt sad that she couldn’t just enjoy her kids with the domestic workload. One of the responses that came from another mother was “I just hire someone 5 hours a day to come and help me with all that stuff”. If only it were that easy, huh? I wish every mom could have that kind of help, but it is telling isn’t it about how much work there really is involved in keeping a home.

The truth is that many SAHM’s are living on a shoe string budget and because they are doing the job of at least 3 or 4 people: cooking every meal from scratch (or wishing we did!), cleaning, childcare and sometimes even running a home based business to boot. They find themselves not only in a state of financial strain, but also intense time poverty. Self care takes a backseat to all of it, because it isn’t urgent (I know this all too well from experience).

After a while it can seem like there is just no point to getting out of our pajamas, showering or bothering to put on clean clothes…sure the frumpy pants from yesterday will do for the third day in a row (I ain’t kidding).

It can become all too easy to not care about how we look (whose gonna see us anyway?) And why exude attractiveness when we don’t have the time or energy to be wooed into the bedroom?

Yet while I totally get why, I also think we become a little too complacent about our self care and that by doing so, the challenge of motherhood in a society that isn’t supportive, becomes even more draining when we don’t claim any opportunities at all to refuel. It is a bad self perpetuating habit. The less self care we give ourselves, the less energy or motivation is available to us to foster the commitment we need to actually “do it”.

We’ve tried and failed before, so why should committing now make any difference? Living with young children presents so many challenges and interruptions in how we intend to spend our time that it is easy to give up just as soon as we get started.

The solution is probably simpler than we imagine if we just started with the basics. Maybe even just 1 new self care habit each month. Unless you are alone with a newborn that you can’t put down or a colicky baby, you really CAN shower or enjoy a refreshing aromatherapy sponge bath! If you have to, start with basic needs like brushing your teeth and working up from there!

Can you think of 12 acts of self care that you can begin to implement tomorrow or over time? They can be as simple as flossing your teeth. If it benefits you and you weren’t doing it before, but you are now, that is good enough.

While you might not be able to find time alone, make it to the gym, get a massage, hire a nanny, chef or housekeeper, there is some basic self care that you can do before the kids get up and after they go to bed!

And, yes I know that for many of you that your toddlers and young children will start getting up earlier once you start to and that you’ll want to throw up your hands and give up (I did)! BUT we can still do all this by setting the kids up with waking activities or just suck it up and let them join in (it is better to have “self cared” with a babe in arms than not at all!).

Ok, here is my list  of 12 (not even close to mastered, but these are the essentials that I desire to embody every day). Please share yours in the comment section, we all could use a dose of inspiration and ideas when it comes to self care!


1) Arise at 6am and brush teeth.

2) Drink a cup of herbal infusion, kefir water or simply water with a pinch or two of unrefined salt.

3) Shower and lather self with coconut oil.

4) Adorn self luxuriously.

5) Make and eat breakfast before coffee (even if that simply means a green smoothie, kefir milk or yogurt smoothie, a cup of broth or miso soup).

6) Light a beeswax candle or burn incense.

7) Make coffee and set intentions or goals for the day.

8) Do as much prep work for the day’s cooking all at once (and the dishes after) as a moving meditation.


9) Do yoga, go for a walk, rebound or exchange body work with a family member.

10) Tidy up the house (like as in take the edge off, not clean to perfection).

11) Have a luxurious bath, floss and brush teeth and slather face with coconut oil.

12) Be in bed by 10pm and practice progressive relaxation before falling asleep.

What is on your list?

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