Who really has the power when it comes to childbirth?

Michelle Obama recently gave a speech encouraging people to register to vote in the US. I was struck with how relevant and important her words are for women.

Michelle said…

“When you don’t vote you’re letting other people make some really key decisions about the life you’re going to live and how it’s going to work out for you. You’re just saying ‘you do it’… and you may not like what they decide. You might not like living with the consequences of other people’s choices.”

Many of us wanted a natural birth yet came away with something unexpected… such as a forceps delivery, vacuum extraction, episiotomy, stitches or a caesarean section.

These outcomes have felt disappointing and heart breaking to us.

The medical model of care sees childbirth as an accident waiting to happen, so to save us from this predicament the focus is on ‘doing things’ in an ordered and structured way to get the desired end results.

With all the advances of science and medicine why has it become so hard for women to give birth naturally?

The root of the problem with modern maternity care is that it functions within a masculine power system and the truth is that women and birth don’t work that way.

Within a medical model of care there is a predictable pattern and ordered process of events via which these results occur.

For example, I know that continuous monitoring in labour is linked to instrumental delivery of the baby, but many women may not know this. Labouring on a bed for hours with an epidural in situ the baby’s heart rate often drops and an emergency caesarean follows.

The masculine power system doesn’t see the deeper relationships between things such as the woman’s ability to receive support, the women’s position during labour, her need for privacy and freedom or the relationship between her inner state and the progress of labour and dilation.

Nor does it consider the quality of her relationships past or present and the impact on the birth.

There are many internal (in women’s bodies and minds) and external (in the environment and with others) factors contributing to the prevalence of medicalized birth across the world.

Most of us were born into and educated within a masculine power system. It’s based on achievement and in doing things in a linear way by taking a series of steps.

We have all been imprinted with ideas and experiences about women’s bodies and birth from years and years of conditioning.

Many of us now have the idea that women need to birth at the hospital and can’t do it for themselves, they need help because birth is dangerous.

This isn’t true.

Birth can be straightforward and simple. The truth is that without fear and in the right conditions with the right support most women birth naturally and well.

We are each also imprinted by the conceptions, pregnancies and births our mothers and grandmothers had. We are conditioned and held back by fears and inner beliefs which block our flow, our voice and our power.

How we birth is how we live.

The masculine power system is linear in its thinking and is focused on one thing: getting results.

It breaks things down into parts, so from the perspective of the medical model of care the vacuum extraction, forceps delivery and caesarean section are considered useful because they get the baby out and are therefore achieving the end result.

If a woman is hooked up to a monitor, her labour can be measured. This is seen as a useful way to chart her course to get the desired results. It’s not wrong or bad, it’s just one way of seeing things.

What’s missing here is the woman’s experience of becoming a mother, her process and the activation of her feminine power.

I’ve watched forceps deliveries, vacuum extractions and caesarean sections and I can tell you that they are right up there with the most disturbing and awful things that I have ever seen.

They are all very invasive measures and can be incredibly painful for women and babies.

Without the feminine powers of intuition, connection, support and the inner birthing tools we are left in a barren world with only the outer birthing tools, instruments, operations and machines.

There are many gentle and time tested inner tools that women can access to birth naturally that work without force.

A midwife you know, like and trust can be an incredibly protective and powerful ally for you to achieve natural birth, as can a doula.

With the loss of the ancient art of midwifery (including the highly protective powers of spiritual midwifery) women today are left with the cold outer tools that often leave incredibly deep scars and profound wounds, not just in the body but in the heart of woman, her psyche and sexuality.

Men too have birth trauma from having to watch all this, powerless to protect their woman and child from the harm of the outer tools.

There are certainly times when these options are necessary and can be helpful, and yes, they can sometimes be life savers, but if you want a natural birth they are only ever to be considered as absolute last resorts.

The thing is, if you birth within a medical model of care, your chances of experiencing the ‘outer tools’ are very high.

Let me be clear, the masculine power system is not wrong or bad, in fact it is great for achieving things that can be controlled such as scheduling flights at an international airport or building a boat.

There have been many gains to this system, such as flying from one country to another… and there have been costs too, such as the carbon emissions from aircraft.

A feminine power system works more like a garden; it is ever changing, emergent, unpredictable and cannot be controlled.

Who has the power 2 800x400

We cannot control when the tulips will open in spring time.

We cannot control when the strawberries will be ready to eat.

In a feminine power system there is an understanding of the inter-relatedness and importance of each and every part of the garden. Gardens look different in the morning compared to at the heat of the day. Gardens are also wildly different in spring compared to winter.

Just like nature, women and birth are not predictable. Women are fuelled by powerful natural cycles such as menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause.

These cycles have been consistent in women’s lives for centuries. They were not designed to be controlled but to bring all of life forward for the health of all in alignment with the deeper truth, the evolution of humanity within the cosmos.

Like gardens, women too are changing every day and every week of the month in relation to the cycle, season and stage of life the woman is in.

A garden is fecund and slow and like the weather it too can be chaotic and unpredictable.

There is no force here.

There is no due date for peaches or mangoes to ripen.

There are no inductions for roses.

Everything happens when it is ready to happen.

The masculine power system can be brutal when it is applied to feminine processes such as labour and birth.

And we women, we want things now too.

We want control and we don’t want to wait.

We want our baby on or around the due date.

We want our labour a certain way and a certain time.

The truth is that machines and medicalization can and will deliver such results.

There is another way and you have access to your feminine power right now.

If you want to be empowered to have your best chances to birth naturally message me now about Pregnancy Power, the 7 week course. I’ll give you practices to find your voice and power.

If you’re pregnant and you need support for your next birth or if you want to heal from the birth you had last time, reach out, message me and we can set up a time to talk. If you want to find out more you can go here www.birthyourtruth.com

Michelle Obama wants more people to vote, she wants change and so do I.

I want women to have great births.

And, I want to end birth trauma.

Why has it been hard for spiritual women to have natural births?

Despite all the prenatal yoga, organic food and deep healing work we’ve done, many smart, educated and vibrant spiritual women have had birth experiences we were not expecting. The underlying causes are often hidden and overlooked.

What follows here are some of the feelings and issues that conscious women have revealed to me and that I have observed in my work as a midwife, doula and birth healer over the last decade. The following list is not evidence based, complete or conclusive; rather it is my opinion and a reflection of some of my own experiences and also those of the women I work with. If any of the following resonates with you, or triggers something within you, please do your best to be compassionate and gentle with yourself and others, both during and after reading this. If what you hear here brings up old feelings you are welcome to contact me here for more support.

So, why has it been so hard for caring, educated, conscious, smart spiritual women to have natural births? Here’s what I’ve noticed that is linked to some of our most disappointing birth outcomes.

We were unprepared for the pain of childbirth and nobody mentioned pain or spoke honestly about pain in any of our childbirth education classes. When labour came, we didn’t know how to meet the power or intensity of contractions.

Looking back we had no real experience of labour and birth apart from what we’d heard or seen on movies and videos. We thought it would be much easier than it was.

We are results driven women and successful in the world and we had high expectations of ourselves to perform well and succeed at birth.

We had a plan for our birth. We aimed for the perfect birth and what we got didn’t fit that picture. Deep down we may feel we failed at birth.

We didn’t really want to birth in a hospital and got caught up in a cascade of intervention.

We were told we had to have an induction and ended up with a c-section.

We had an epidural that led to an instrumental birth.

We didn’t have the practical or spiritual support we needed to navigate labour and birth naturally when the time came. We got scared and looked to our care provider to sort it out and tell us what to do.

Deep down we didn’t really get along with or trust our care provider during birth.

We thought we could project manage our birth via an app or birth plan.

We didn’t know how to open up and be powerfully vulnerable during labour. We didn’t tell anyone how we were really feeling inside and we didn’t know how to let emotional support in at the difficult times when we most needed it.

We felt completely overwhelmed by the pain of labour and chose options we thought we never would.

We know ourselves to be strong women and for some reason during labour all our support people got sick and couldn’t be there for us.

We felt hurried and pressured during labour. We felt watched, observed and under surveillance during birth.

We got caught in power dynamics. We were unsure of our own role and power in the birthing process. We did what the care provider said whilst knowing deep down that the choice didn’t feel right for us.

When we got to the hospital we got swept up in a world not our own and felt captive and frightened. 

When the shit hit the fan we lost our voice and we were unable to ask for what we needed or even say what we were feeling and thinking.

When it came time we felt alone and realized that we didn’t feel supported.

We didn’t know how to ask for our needs and desires to be met in a way that inspired others to meet them.

We were in relationships where we weren’t seen, respected or properly heard and it impacted our birthing process.

We have prioritized the needs of others over our own needs and we haven’t been able to ask for what we want and need during pregnancy or birth.

We had children with partners who abused us. We carry shame about this.

We didn’t know how to stand up for ourselves or value or worth.

We’ve been afraid to let go of the fathers of our children even though we knew deep down they weren’t right for us. We’ve stayed in relationships too long, especially if they were safe and secure ones.

We’ve stayed in unhealthy relationships where there was good chemistry in the hope it would get better but during birth the truth was revealed to us and we had to face that truth with a baby in our arms.

We’ve had sexual abuse and other trauma in our past or childhood. During birth we were unable to trust or surrender into our own body and birthing process.

We grew up catholic and we have not felt fully at home in our female body or with our radiance or sexuality.

We were terrified of birth and overwhelmed by the pain of labour.

We had an awful birth previously and haven’t healed from it yet.

We did what the obstetrician or midwife or doula said because we felt we didn’t know enough about birth and babies and they knew more than us.

We were led to believe that the hospital was the safest place to have a baby, so we found an obstetrician and talked to them about our wishes for a normal birth. We were shocked when close to the arrival of our newborn the scissors came out and our vagina was cut to ‘deliver’ the baby from us.

We were labouring well until suddenly the baby’s heart rate dropped and we were rushed off to have an emergency caesarean.

We had an epidural and a vacuum or forceps delivery. We came home with a deep cut, a wound, lots of stitches or worse. Years later we still deal with incontinence, unresolved feelings, vaginal prolapse and trauma that impacts our sex life and intimate relationships.

We didn’t know how to say no. We said yes when we wanted to say no. Or, we said no, but were not heard. We felt pressured or even threatened to agree to something we didn’t really feel good about.

These are a few of the many reasons why spiritual women have unexpected birthing outcomes.

If any of these resonate with you, know that you are not alone.

These are the experiences of many women I work with, including my own.

Instead of blaming ourselves or others, let’s show a lot of empathy towards ourselves. All of these experiences can be gateways into power moving forward.

How we birth is linked to a much bigger story of women and power. No matter what happened we can heal.

Our birth story can teach us how to live powerfully in a female body on planet earth if we are courageous to look at what happened and how it made us feel.

Women and Birth have formidable Feminine Power, the power to create, relate, expand, radiate, regenerate, rebirth and heal worlds. 

You can have the support now that you did not have then.

You can have the voice now that you did not have then.

You can have the power now that you did not have then.

You can be now who you were not then. You can rise. You can heal. You can expand. Your voice matters. Your body matters. You can take up more space here on this earth. 

Here’s what I know… there is beautiful treasure for you within your birthing story, exactly as it happened. 


If any of the issues raised in this post are having an impact on your life, then you are most welcome to reach out to Angela for personal support.