Woman, heal thyself.

For years I dreamed of having another baby. I wanted to do it again.

I wanted to get birth right.

I had a dream of the perfect family, with my loving man and two children. I even got the dog, but sadly, had to give him away.

It didn’t happen. I didn’t meet the perfect man and I didn’t have my 2 kids.

I met the man I needed to meet to do the healing I needed to do. There’s no perfect man. There’s just me and who I am being and what I am creating.

You see there were things I needed to learn. I was living in fear, but not at all aware of it until the shit hit the fan. My default when things get scary is to panic, push and force. I learned this from looking at my birth story.

Our birth stories, if we dare to look, can teach us a lot.

How we birth is how we live.

Birth taught me that pushing and forcing doesn’t work. It only busts and tears. Big time.

Also I needed to learn how to channel my fire. I needed a creative outlet for my fierce energy. A lot of this was wasted on drama.

Note to former self: Darling heart… you could have been writing and dancing. You could have been swimming. You could have been playing. You could have been learning, but you weren’t ready. It’s okay beautiful angel, I forgive you. I know you’re healing now. I know you’re ready now.

Years went by and I still dreamed of having another baby and getting birth ‘right’.

Over ten years I lost 3 pregnancies. It was sad for me.

Life wanted me to grow in other ways. Actually, life wanted me to grow up. Life wanted me to get real, ground and wake up.

In the past I created unhappy drama filled relationships, not a safe place for anyone, let alone a baby.

Life was not going to support new growth, or a baby, in my toxic environment.

Toxicity goes against the laws of nature and the laws of love.

I needed to cool down. I needed to relax. I needed to find me inside all the brokeness. I needed to deal with my desperation. (note….I am still dealing with fear and desperation. I haven’t graduated. I’m getting closer to seeing how loved and supported I am. For years I isolated, living in fear and shame. I see how much life wants to support me to grow and become more myself, more real, more me.)

After so much trying and searching and looking and crashing I actually needed to break into pieces so that all that was left was the light and love in my soul. When the fat lady sings, that’s all that is left, our essence.

Today I know that my presence and my essence is enough.

I am enough.

There is nothing to find.

There is nothing to seek.

And now I want to tell you something. Something I have kept hidden. Something I have held inside me with secrecy and shame. It’s going to come flying out of me like a flying fur ball. It’s not pretty, okay, here goes. Feeling courageous. In 2005, I had two abortions I didn’t want to have. My partner at the time told me he wasn’t ready for children. (After telling me months earlier he was). We weren’t using any contraception.

I wasn’t able to do what my body and soul longed to do, bring forth new life. I knew I was not capable of being a single mother to three children. I knew I was not strong enough to do it on my own. I already had a child on my own and that was enough.

At the time I felt I had no other choice. I told my Dad, he sat and listened while I cried. He didn’t judge. He just sat there and held the space as big heavy tears dropped on my cedar coffee table where we sat. Love my Dad.

Regardless of how I felt, this decision made me crazy.

I wasn’t aware how angry I was until after it all. I was furious. Eventually it came pouring out. I lost it. One day, out of nowhere, I lashed out at my little girl, she was only 5 or 6.

The uncontrolled rage I felt inside had to come out sometime and it was an innocent child who triggered it off for me. I couldn’t believe that I had lost it at her. But I did.

I spent the next decade of my life punishing myself, blaming myself and unable to forgive myself for that moment.

I simply had to learn to manage my fire and meet the river of grief that lay underneath. I knew I needed help. And she came. Enter wonderful therapist. Ever grateful for my years in therapy. Thank you dear Dr. Felicity Grace.

I am still learning, every single day.

As the river of my life flowed onwards I became a doula and later a midwife. I learnt how to support women and men during birth. I witnessed many miracles. Here I learnt much about how birth works in the hospital system and I made peace with men and even the medical system.

Now, nearly 15 years after the birth of my daughter I have found what I was looking for all along. Fire for life. Fire with my writing. Fire for what I believe in. Fire for my work. Fire for my gifts. Fire for my calling.

And peace too. Peace with my choices. Peace with my actions. Peace with my mistakes. Peace with my past. Peace with man. (This one took me another 5 years I reckon)

Peace with my birth and peace with myself.

No more trying. No more hiding. No more shame.

All the time I was trying to get birth right, life was asking me to look inside and heal myself but I didn’t want to stop and listen.

I wasn’t ready. I created more pain for myself and more drama before I was ready. I had to fall apart and let it all be broken for a while. The milk was spilt and I needed to cry over it.

Slowly I heard what life had been asking of me all along.

Woman… Heal thyself.

My soul was darn persistent. 

I gave up the fight.

I cried.

I cried more.

I painted.

I wrote.

I talked.

I was held and held and slowly I healed and healed.

And finally, finally I forgave myself.

I let go.

I let it all go.

I stopped pushing.

I stopped forcing.

I stopped blaming myself.

I let go of blaming others too. (Those arseholes, I forgave them all. Each and every one.)

For this to happen I had to let go of my marriage and parenting for a while too. I had to go away. It was good.

It was very very good.

Once I decided to stop and finally take a look within and heal everything began to shift.

I let go of the struggle to have another baby and get birth right once and for all.

Healing from my first birth has helped me see how I relate to god, life energy, sexual energy, creativity, life force, whatever you want to call it.

Healing my birth has helped me heal my whole life.

I have learned from birth. I have learned from miscarriage and I have learned from abortion too. I have been turned inside out by death. I have dissolved in watery loss and grief. I am no longer ashamed. I am no longer silenced by guilt. I am sorry and I am here to shine my light, to light the way for those who need it. I have made peace with birth. I am making peace with me and with life. She waits patiently, yet she says the same thing to me, again and again, Woman, heal thyself.

Free As A Bird

Free as a bird, I love that expression. Those four small words make me happy. Funny how we rarely try and control birds, yet society has had a very good go at trying to control people.

Even before our birth we are monitored and measured. When we are born, too often we are welcomed by rough towels, bright lights and a jab in the thigh.

I left clinical midwifery knowing that I could no longer treat human life this way.

I could no longer treat women or babies as if they did not feel every single thing done and said to them on maternity wards. Although a senior midwife told me “we hurt women, that’s what we have to do.” I disagree.

I have seen too much and it is time for me to speak.

I have stepped out of clinical midwifery for personal healing. I could not witness any more caesareans before breakfast or inductions at morning tea. I miss my colleagues and I miss the women and babies and fathers too.

There is no evidence to support practices such as electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals, syntocinon (drug used for inductions) and episiotomies (cutting the skin between the vagina and anus) on healthy low-risk women [Albers, 2005]. Yet these behaviours have become cult rituals, daily routines which are carried out in many hospitals. They are an obstetric convenience rather than a necessity, or for clinical indications [Pairman, Tracy, Thorogood, Pincombe, 2010].

I have sat down to write to you today to free a bird from her cage.

Working with women, listening to their birth stories, I am aware that it is mostly not the specific events of women’s births that haunt them afterwards. What concerns the women I work with is how they are left feeling about themselves.

I hear things like….

“I missed the moment of my daughters birth, they took her away. I am so sad I didn’t get to hold her. I will never get the moment of her birth back.”

“I thought I was going to die.”

“I am so jealous when other women speak about their natural births.”

“My midwife didn’t believe I was in labour, no-body believed me.”

“I thought the hospital was a safe place.”

“I knew what they were doing was wrong. I felt so alone.”

“My birth was really medicalized and I am ashamed I gave into the medical system.”

“I felt so vulnerable with my legs in the air. Nobody asked permission to watch my suturing, I felt sickened.”

“I gave all my love to the wrong man and I can’t forgive myself. Now my son is angry.”

“I had to fight to take my baby home, they reported me to Docs.”

These are the wounds we carry around inside us until one day we release them, until the day we tell someone we can trust. We can heal these wounds, these soul birds can be freed.

Too many women are left with sadness, anger, shame and guilt from childbirth.

I offer birth spirituality and healing support to women from my home and via Skype. I also refer women to counsellors and trauma therapists when required.

My hope is that my work, my listening and my writing can help many birds fly free again.

How we Birth is how we live. Birth is as deep as it gets when you think about women’s health. How women feel about their conceptions, pregnancies and births matters. How women feel post partum matters too. Greatly. If our women are not well cared for we grow a society that is sick and unwell. We have to get birth right and the only way to do that is treat women and families with the respect they truly deserve.

To treat women right, we have to understand and respect the Feminine. She is the organizing power in Nature, the intelligence that regulates seasons, moon phases, tides, menstruation, pregnancy, labour and childbirth, breastfeeding and menopause. The Feminine principle is alive in all of life, in men and women, in nature and in children.Women feel her in their body, most intensely via their menstrual, sexual, creative and reproductive cycles such as pregnancy, birth, breast feeding and menopause.

For too long birthing women have been oppressed in hospitals, which by nature are held intact by medical and military systems, policies and guidelines. These are set up to ‘protect’ women and babies for their ‘safety’, the truth is, they often do more harm than good. The carnage is palpable, visible and silent and invisible. The silence haunts me, and I am inspired to hold space for the sounds to be freed. The damage is physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological and the counterforce will span generations.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. My hope is that the force that women have tolerated will one day turn into a tide, a wild uprising, a big long wave coming in after a long time lost at sea. The FreeBirth movement is one example of this. How we birth is how we live. If we birth with fear, control and powerful drugs, how are we actually enjoying this human experience?

I will do no more harm.

It has gotten way out of hand, way out of balance in labour wards.

Birth belongs to you, dear woman, to you.

Birth belongs to you, not to your hospital, doctor and not to your midwife.

Our rites of passage are not supposed to be mechanistic cult rituals.

Our bodies are not for cutting and suturing up again.

Our babies are not for others before we bond with them.

Our births are not meant to be drive through.

Our births are private, sacred and holy.

Birth is a mighty powerful doorway.

How we open this door has much to do with how safe we feel to allow the primal, sexual and instinctual energy that lives within us to flow. For us to dance our true dance, we need to feel private and safe. We need to feel okay with being who we are, making the noise we need to make, doing the kinds of moves only we can do, in the true spirit we need to do it. Women, like any birthing animal, needs privacy and mostly to be undisturbed to tune into her birth dance, her primal knowing of birth.

Everything we have taken in or on as young girls and later as women impacts if and how we open the door to let our children be born. Our vital energy, our health, our flow, our deepest fears, our sexual experiences, our feelings, our traumas, our relationships, as well as our matrilineal birthstories are all mixed with the primal forces of Nature during Birth.

We have all this heat and sparks and hormonal chemistry going on inside us. Then we go inside a hospital and it has a whole lot going on inside it too.

It’s here that two powerful forces meet.

Too often date night becomes fright night.

It is not meant to be this way.

It is crucial that birthing females be supported and undisturbed during labour. This is nature’s way. There is often a helper in nature, dolphins have a midwife, elephants have a team of support. Predators introduce risk to the species. The birthing mother must be protected and respected, less she become extinct. Nothing must be said or done to bring fear to a birthing mother. Cortisol is released when a mother feels fear and this chemical blocks her Oxytocin, the hormone of love that helps strong contractions to get the baby out.

When a woman travels from her home to hospital in labour the intoxicating hormones and chemicals of labour, body, sex and soul are introduced to the sanitized, bright and sterile environment of the hospital. Sometimes labour slows and then a drug is given to women to ‘get things moving faster’. This then leads to electronic fetal monitoring.

It is standard for many labouring women to be hooked up to syntocinon (the drug that mimics what the body makes in undisturbed healthy birthing women) and a monitor on many labour wards. Yet there are no long term studies on the effect of this drug on labouring women and babies.

So our birthing woman is now strapped to a monitor with two belts around her belly, listening to a beeping machine which alarms every time she moves on the bed. She is intwined in cords from the monitor and the IV pole.

She now even begins to look like a patient in a hospital.

Being hooked up to a drug and a monitor means being stuck on the bed and this creates problems with delivery, which often leads to an instrumental birth, which may need an episiotomy. Perineal trauma is associated with incontinence, sexual and relationship problems. Marriages end because of this.

There is not an animal in nature that would birth given the conditions we subject pregnant women to in most hospitals.

We are led to believe that the hospital is a place of safety for birthing women.

Is being tied up during birth ‘safety’?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is no true ‘safety’ in treating birthing women this way. This is not the way to create an empowered culture of mothers. Yet there is a sure and simple way to put an end to this madness. When women take birth back as their own sacred land, their territory, their rite of passage, the predator will no longer be a threat. There will be no more lambs to the slaughter.

For this, women must rise. Women need a strong clear voice before, during and after Birth at crucial moments. For women to rise, midwives and doulas must rise too. This stops all the madness in its tracks. I have seen it work a treat when all the chips were down. I remember one birth, the woman was labouring for over 17 hours and the  doctor came in and said “I think it’s time to call it a day” and the woman gently turned to him and said in a calm clear voice. “No, I can do this”. He put his tools away, and she birthed beautifully. We can’t give up on women and we cannot allow women to give up on themselves. Birth matters too much. When women have a voice, nothing can stand in their way. We can reclaim Birth and the power to give life and death once more. Nature will always have her way in the end.

References

Albers,L.L. (2005). Over treatment of Normal Childbirth in U.S. Hospitals.Birth,32(1), 67-68. doi:10.1111/j.0730-7659.2005.00343.x

Pairman,S. (2006).Midwifery: Preparation for practice. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Shame on Her

New year, new goals. Today’s goal is to write a blog post. It feels like date night and I don’t want to go on the date. Suddenly, I want to nap. I do not want to face sitting at my desk and writing.

I am afraid of sharing my real heart and soul truth.

I am afraid of being seen.

Oh the gripping fear, my paws are clinging to the edge of the cliff. I space out. Procrastination quickly sets in.

La de da da de da …

I take an hours nap.

I have a hot shower.

I make dinner.

I am inspired to suddenly make Silver a cheese board?!

I watch a video.

I make 50 thousand cups of tea.

And I still have to write this blog post because it is time for me to honour my word to myself. So despite much resistance and avoidance and procrastination here I am at my desk, sitting on my peachy bum, writing to you.

I know what I want to say.

I have been circling the carcass of this story for a while.

I say carcass because it is time for the shame and guilt I have carried around my story to be allowed to decompose. It is time to let old pain be laid on the earth, to gradually become compost.

Perhaps in time, this story can become fertilizer for new things to grow.

This story is just the beginning.

I have plenty of stories to tell, to share, plenty of compost for my new garden, heh heh heh….you’ll see. I see this as a wholesome thing, because I am not my story. I have lived through certain things, as you have, and I want to release much of the old shame I have been carrying. Yet I am still bricking it to go public.

Writing is an excellent washing machine. I sit, I write, I come out cleaner, and happier than before.

I certainly hope you will come along the journey with me. I cannot be doing this all alone, not for a minute.

We heal together I reckon.

I see a bird flying off in the front yard.

It is time for old guilt and shame to be set free.

If I look into the birth of my daughter I see how my sexual birthing energy was held back. I see how my pelvis was tightened in fear and locked up at delivery.

For me to walk forward helping women heal from their births, I have to heal my own experience of childbirth.

I pray that this writing in some way create a healing for all souls spoken of here.

I am going to be vulnerable and share my truth with you.

I feel a huge responsibility right now because I have a practice called Birth Your Truth which means I need to come out of hiding and have a voice.

Tears are welling. I have lived in the shadows too long. It is time for me to come out, again and again into the light of day. I have been shown this in a dream and now I have to walk out of my dark tunnel into the light step by step. This blog is one small step.

How we do birth is how we do life. Birth Matters, women matter, families matter.

I want to talk about birth spirituality and sexuality. I want to talk about the laws of nature and the Goddess. Not as a concept but as I have seen, felt and experienced her to be within me and within many birthing women.

No more waiting for permission. No more fear of being stoned to death or burned at the stake. I offer this to you as I would offer my voice in a sacred ceremony, a women’s circle or a medicine journey.

Please listen like clear water, be a waterfall. Let this story wash over you. Stay out of judgement. Let it flow over you and join a river that flows to the sea.

I would love to know what this touches in you.

My prayer is that my truth can help you in some way to look into the birth of your own children and perhaps too…. even see the central themes of your life.

I pray that you hear a song that awakens you to see yourself, your sexuality, your child, your man, your midwife or doctor, the maternity system, in a whole new light.

I pray that there is a healing for you here too.

This, my writing is an offering from my soul to yours.

Please honour me, my daughter and her father, by speaking of this Birth to no-one.

Let it remain a sacred event.

Let it be held between our hearts with compassion.

No matter how it goes, every Birth is a sacred one.

Share your feelings, your insights, yes please share them below and on the group page.

Share this blog with others by all means, yet let it remain whole and intact, as it is written here in my own words.

Thank you.

If you are reading this, perhaps you too will peer into your birth stories.

I invoke my angels and guardians to walk with me as I recount the birth of my daughter. Her birth was the most wondrous moment of my life.

My greatest achievement in this life?…. holding my new born baby girl in my arms.

I received her at home, myself with my own hands.

She was big, fat, perfect, pink, plump and whole.

In the moment I birthed my girl I felt I had achieved what I knew in my soul I came here to do – become a mother. I had a homebirth in water with a homebirth midwife by my side.

So here goes, the whole story, some of it is enriching and some of it is horrible for me to remember.

I include it all.

I want to hear all of your stories too, with nothing left out.

This will not be a walk through a rainbow fairy-unicorn shop experience for many of us. There will be no cup cakes with pink frosting for showing up to this party. We will need cups of tea and water and green smoothies though. Make yourself a cuppa now love, if you like.

This is the whole truth, the full truth, nothing but the truth.

So help me god. Here it is.

If you are still reading this…. if you have stayed with me this far I hope we can continue the conversation and journey beyond this blog. I am in it for the long haul, sharing my truth that is.

Pre-conception I pray to god. I am ready for my life to move forward and change. I pray specifically for my great work, for the highest and best thing to happen to me. I ask for a path that will bring me the most abundance, creativity and support. I ask for clear career direction and fast.

I am awoken after midnight one night by a large white owl flapping its wings outside my glass bedroom doors. I sit up in bed to see the face of a beautiful owl staring at me.

I feel this bird is a messenger of the wisdom to come to me in the form of my daughter, a great soul. I recognize her spirit immediately as a powerful and wise one.

Days after asking the Divine for career directions…. I discover that I am pregnant.

This is not what I asked for, nor what I had expected!

I was worried.

A few weeks before the conception of my daughter there is a sudden violent episode between Peter and myself. Hands over my mouth, I fight for my breath, I think I might die. I split off. I find myself dazed and shocked on the floor. I reach out to no-one. I tell not a soul.

Living in shame begins here and grows as I remain in relationship with Peter. Instead of leaving, I decide to cling on. He is the first man who touches my heart in my twenties…. he truly teaches me about generosity and kindness. I refuse to believe what has ensued between us.

I tuck it away and carry on, yet it shakes at the gate of my soul until the day I leave him with my baby daughter wrapped in my arms nearly two years later.

A month earlier Peter smashes every glass, plate and cup we own on the concrete kitchen floor.

I stand frozen outside our tiny cabin listening to the sounds of every bit of crockery we own being smashed to bits. I choose to remain frozen in fear and bury this event somewhere in my body so no-one, including myself will detect any trace of it.

I only remembered this as I began writing today.

Terrified and shocked I decide to cling to Peter instead of walk away. I love him, after all. Rose coloured glasses, firmly ON. At this point, I tell my 29 year old self that it will all surely get better. I remind myself that he is loving and kind most of the time. I remember how kind he has been towards me.

In the months before this he punches more than one of his friends within my earshot, including our friend and house mate, breaking his rib in our kitchen. Things are not going well. There is a court case of some description from one of the victims. I remain hopeful that all will turn out fine in the end. I tell myself that he will come good. (OMFG, talk about living in denial)

I grew up with the knowing that if something horrible happens (which it did), I must keep it to myself, as nobody is ever going to believe what I have to say. And so that is what I did. I kept it secret. On youtube Brene Brown tells me that shame needs secrecy to grow.

I am only unpacking this now, 15 years later… better late than never eh?

I am unable and unwilling to make peace with the light and dark in my life.

I split it in two, hiding the dark and dancing with sequins in the light. I bellydance at a middle eastern restaurant on Sunday evenings.

Despite all this my daughter’s conception a few months later was blissful and pleasurable and juicy. I remember the whole room going pink around the time of her conception. It felt as though Angels were everywhere around me, celebrating triumph.

During love making somewhere along the way, I split off. I have a tendency to go into fantasy into my head. I imagined I was having sex with an ex.

I told Peter about this later, and he didn’t seem to mind. Growing up Catholic I notice I have been prone to secrecy and a close companion of guilt and shame, especially surrounding sexuality and speaking about taboo subjects like domestic violence and infidelity. These things just didn’t happen in my neighbourhood as a child. As a small kid I remember asking the universe a question one day when I saw a tv commercial for domestic violence. I thought that they must be making it up because no-one in my suburb that I knew ever had shit like that going on in their lives.

“Where does this happen?” my six year old self asked the universe.

I grew up and found it happening in my life.

A daily joy for me is waking up every single day looking into my daughters beautiful big blue eyes. From every nap she awakens smiling sunshine, beaming absolute radiant joy to me.

Despite the ‘situation’ I am gifted by a child full of JOY. I am a radiant mother.

During her conception Peter asks me if it is a safe time for him to come inside me. I say yes and yet he still asks me over and over. My full body response is YES, yes YES….. I am ready. I am eclipsed and intoxicated by the hormones of ovulation that are demanding a conception happen NOW.

I swear it is safe. The seed is planted.

I am blissed out beyond all blissometers.

I discover soon after that it was in fact not a ‘safe’ time. I feel I have betrayed him, at the same time I am true to my biological urge. My womb longed for a baby and I simply could not wait a day longer. Unconsciously I hoped a baby would make everything wonderful in my relationship. I wanted my magic wand to work, but it didn’t. Only the truth will set me free, but this would come years later.

I grow my baby, submerging deeply the memory and knowing of ….

1. a history of violence. (I even blame myself for this). Shame detector going off.

2. the deception (dreaming of another man during  conception). Guilt buzzer buzzing.

3. feeling wrong for following my full body yes. Guilt buzzer buzzing again, louder this time.

I now fully and completely release all shame and guilt associated with my childs conception. I accept now, that I truly and soulfully wanted her, that I had desire for someone else and that for my body and soul it was a safe time to conceive her.

My soul finds a sanctuary. I venture off to a women’s retreat and go away for a month in the first few weeks of my pregnancy. I was unable to tell the facilitator the truth of what was going on for me in my relationship, and now that I was pregnant I felt I needed to more than ever, hold onto my man.

Shortly after the women’s retreat, where the facilitator supports me to stay with Peter, I go into fear and shock that I am in fact pregnant.

I am aware that Peter is not in love with me anymore and has a violent streak.

I consider having an abortion at 11 weeks.

When I ring the clinic the woman on the phone explains the procedure to me and I realize that there is absolutely now way I can go through with it.

At this moment I fully accept that I am pregnant and that I am going to have a baby.

The Pregnancy…..

I feel well and wonderful. I attend my local pregnancy support group and make new friends and find a home birth midwife who turns out to live across the road from me.

For months I am drawn to the big pink house across the street. I wonder who lives there. When I ride my bike past the pink house, I want to go inside. I am magnetically drawn to the pink house.

Turns out to be the home of my home-birth midwife Elizabeth.

The night before the birth Peters brother attacks his partner with a hammer and chisel and is arrested and on his way to prison. Peter dissolves and collapses into a well of grief, sobbing for hours on the lounge room floor. He calls out the name of his brother with deep pain in his soul. You see Peter grew up in domestic violence and when they were children Peter protected his brother from violence.

He is broken by the news of his brother.

I am unable to console him. The sound of a man’s soul cracking into broken pieces is heard all through the house. I can still recall the sound of his broken heart and his deep sobs of grief echoeing through the night air into the street.

A neighbour comes over to ask if he can please keep the noise down.

I feel uneasy, fully pregnant and do not sleep well.

In the morning I take a walk on the beach and see the biggest crab I have ever seen in my life. In the distance I see a stick figure, no-one else is on the beach as there has been a lot of rain and there is sea weed strewn everywhere.

Peter walks towards me, we meet and hug.

I relax fully in his arms. Finally I feel safe, and my labour begins in that moment.

I fear not having enough energy to give birth as I am awake most of the night and ask Peter to make me an omelette with eight eggs in it. Peter fills up the birth pool in our dining area and I am looking forward to the birth. The day I have waited for has finally arrived.

For me the first part of labour is blissful and easy…. I danced. I rocked. I swayed.

Underneath was a hidden anxiety. I find myself writing down the times of my contractions. I am excited and daunted. How will this birth go?

The first stage of labour was enjoyable and I danced along with it fine. Once I was fully dilated I paused, and waited and sat for a long time. It was like time stood still for hours on end.

I did not know how the hell I was going to get the baby out.

I moaned and groaned in the pool stuck in fear for what seemed like an eternity.

Divine women friends Jillian and Maha had offered to come for the birth but I swiftly declined their offers. I could not understand what exactly they could do for me. I was truly naïve about birth and sisterhood back then.

I was not-knowing of the ways of women and birth as yet. I learn about sisterhood as a new mother, my survival being the experienced mother’s around me, paving the way, shining a light.

I laboured wonderfully at home undisturbed. I passed through transition with a fairly clean vomit of all 8 eggs.

I floated around moaning in the birthing pool for what seemed like forever.

I wondered to myself…..how on earth did my grandmother do this? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? How did my grand mother have six children?

I moaned a bit more.

My midwife took my hands and chanted a mantra to me.

She looked into my eyes, and with all certainty said….It’s strong, It’s easy and you can do it. She told me this is the hardest thing I will ever do in my life, but I have to do it to meet my baby.

She asked me if I could feel the baby’s head. I reached down and I could feel the crown of my baby’s head on my fingers between my legs. This was all I needed. I was so close and so ready.

I felt my baby’s head move down into the birth canal and then go up again.

This ‘going back up’ sent me into a panic. I so didn’t want her to go back up. I wanted her to come out. I had had enough of labour.

I was not relaxed. I was absolutely fricking terrified. I thought I was going to die, be snapped in two by the force of the baby. I could not see a way forward except being busted and broken into a million pieces. I knew there was no way out. I did not want drugs although at this moment I understood why women might choose them and a c section.

I panicked, and then stood up in the pool and gave a big push.

I didn’t trust. I didn’t surrender.

I felt guilty about the conception and the unspoken relationship issues.

I am locked and cannot allow myself to open. I clench on and remain tight. I push and force my baby giving myself a third degree tear. I forget all about the relax and surrender part. Panting goes out the window.

I go with Wild Woman instead.

Surprisingly from just one push her head is born. After this, I sat down on Peter in the water feeling calm and said “look there is her head.”

I felt intense peace wash over me. I felt happy. I felt my work was done.

Elizabeth’s hands ventured down to my baby at which point I placed a protective arm across her chest to block her saying in a loud clear voice….

“Don’t you pull my baby out!” She assured me, she wouldn’t.

This was a purely instinctual and protective move on my part. The fierce mother had awakened in me during birth. She remains alive and well with me today. It was her that would help me leave Peter in the months to come.

I could have had a number of supportive women at my side, however I couldn’t then see the value of having ‘those that have walked the path’ beside me. I was overly confident for someone who had never given birth before. Yep, naïve and proud.

I had no idea and had yet to learn about the value of knowing sisters at birth.

I learnt the hard way by not having any (sad face) and went on to become a doula and a midwife. I went on to help many frightened women birth. I held hands and looked into eyes…. and I LOVED IT.

I held my perfect daughter in my arms, knowing in my soul that god had granted me the greatest gift I could ever receive.

A daughter.

A perfect, pink, fat daughter.

I was the happiest woman alive.

I did what I knew I could do. I did what I set out to do. I birthed at home in water.

It still feels like the greatest achievement of my life.

After writing this all down yesterday I had a dream last night that I felt something coming out of my yoni…. I felt down between my legs and discovered that three fairly large rocks in akward shapes came out of me in the dream.

Holding onto this story has kept my womb heavy. Writing it has helped heal me.

For me the rocks symbolize the weight of shame and guilt I have held inside for nearly 15 years.

I close this medicine blog with a feeling of release.

Thank you for holding this space for me. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for keeping this sacred and holy. Because it is, because I am and my daughter is and Peter is too.

Thank you dear one.

I love you.

Angela

x

P.S. This is not the whole birth story, but this is the story I needed to write for my healing today. I pray it will help you release something too. I would love to hear what this touches in you. Blessings on your womb, your sexuality and your birth stories. May they be told and freed too. Shanti Om.