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.

This is what I love

Illumined Angel in Crystal Stream

As the year comes to a close I pause to reflect on what I love. I love this river. She is a pristine sanctuary that delights me with her enchanted emerald green pools. 

I love dance. I love dancing in costumes. I love dancing in comfy clothes. I love dancing naked. I love dancing in community. I love dancing in my back yard. I love dancing with kids! I love wild anything goes dancing. I love dancing in gold threads.

I love Nature. I love soft grass. I love my rose tree. I love swimming in the sea. I love swimming in rivers. I love the change of seasons. I love flowers. I love bumble bees. I love sunsets. I love snow on the mountains. I love the sunsets near my home.

I love my daughter. The child who came through me, who is of me but does not belong to me. I honour the journey we’ve shared so far. Thank you for being my greatest teacher. It really has not been easy, yet I am in awe of you, how you change and grow. I miss you near. I hold you dear.

I love cooking. I love cooking curry and bliss balls and cake and apple pie.

I love celebration. I love parties and countdowns and fireworks and concerts.

I love travel. I’ve been to India several times, West Coast of USA, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Canada and New Zealand… and I’m only just warming up. I love the new smells and foods and sounds and faces. I love the different things to wear and see.

I love berries. Strawberries, cherries and raspberries. I love squishing the berries and seeing the colours all mix over my hand. Perfect water colours. Perfect ye olde lipsticks me thinks.

I love colourful spirited art. I love women’s circles. I love men’s choirs and monks singing. I love bird songs and dog songs. I love whale songs too.

I love water colours. I love how it flows and it cannot be controlled.

I love conversation. I love a good ole cup of tea and a chat with young and old.  The lady at the end of my street. Hester’s Mum. The seventy year old woman I met on the dance floor on Sunday, an earth Goddess!

I love singing.  Mantras and eighties songs, the themes of my youth. Your true colours are beautiful and ‘Wake me up before you go go’! are etched in my bark.

I love the experience of being alive. Each day a new creation. Each day a new expression of self flowing through this soft body.

I love my man. My magic Silver Moonlight.

I love my friends, rare gems, sparkling and golden.

I love myself, always here, always near.

Starlight, spiralling life, shining through me to all tonight.

What we say to ourselves matters

When I first met Silver I had to go through a lot of fear to even allow myself to start over. My heart felt broken after my divorce. I was crushed, yet after a year and a half of grieving life was moving me on to a wonderful new partnership.

Fear and pain tells our brain to put off or avoid anything associated with suffering… sometimes even to never go there again.

When I began my new chapter in New Zealand and met Silver a voice in my head said,

   “No, don’t go there again – you’ll get hurt.”

And at the same time another voice was saying,

   “Do this. You are different now. He is different. Trust yourself.”

I am so glad I did. Three years on and I am a more peaceful woman because of him. He has softened me.

In the throes of my divorce I made a decision that one day I would have a wonderful relationship.

Dreams do come true.

Three years on I now have a beautiful, peaceful and passionate partnership with a divine man.

I had to face my fear. I had to walk through a ring of fear. I made a decision to put myself first and follow my heart.

I had to let go of what wasn’t working for me too.

I’m so glad I faced my fears and manifested my dream man.

It can be the same with wanting to have another baby. It can be really, really scary. And no, that fear isn’t going to go away by itself.

Our body remembers how it felt last time and our soul remembers what we said to ourselves, even if our mind has forgotten.

The words came from deep inside me.

I remember the day clearly.

I was standing on the front lawn, holding my newborn in my arms, as mum was getting into her car after coming down from Queensland to help me for the first few weeks.

I was so lucky. I didn’t wash a cloth nappy for weeks because mum was there diligently soaking, washing and hanging them out.

But even the care and support of my own mum wasn’t enough to erase the feeling in my body.

I found childbirth a thousand times more painful than I thought it would be.

I wasn’t afraid giving birth, I was terrified.

I was in shock for months afterwards. I had stitches. I felt broken by birth.

I remember saying to her,

   “I am never doing that again.”

I told my soul that I am never having another baby again.

The years rolled on and I totally forgot my spoken vow to myself.

Looking back I can see that I spent the next ten years yearning to have another baby. To ‘get it right’. To make it good.

Yet all the hoping in the world could not overrule the words I laid down in my brain after my first birth.

   “I am never doing that again.”

I didn’t.

I became a doula and a midwife seeking to find answers to understand birth. I helped women ease their pain and not feel as alone as I did during childbirth. I spent ten years learning about what works for labouring women and what doesn’t.

All the trying, all the prenatal yoga, all the reading, all the classes… none of this can take away what your body and soul experienced the last time around.

Yet you can still transform what happened. You can heal from your birth.

If you’re willing to take a peek into what happened and how you felt, you can create a new vision for yourself and you can birth again in a new way.

Do you remember the words you said to yourself after your child was born?

Are your vows stopping you?

Now I live in New Zealand with the most wonderful man and the most wonderful relationship of my life.

I faced my fears and let go of the words I said to myself.

You can too.

You can re-write the birth story you are telling yourself and create a new birth experience.

You can.

The Womb contains the Cure

I truly believe that womb health is connected with mental health. I know what it feels like to smile to the outside world while privately living with deep seated mother grief, mother guilt, mother rage, and mother shame.

It held me back for years.

It kept me isolated, stuck and feeling invisible.

Twelve years ago I had an abortion which seriously impacted me.

I thought I was fine, the procedure was straight forward and I had some support from my partner, but it wasn’t enough. On the surface and medically speaking everything went smoothly. Inside me, however, was another story.

I can still remember the tears streaming down my face as we lit a candle and prayed for our loss. Despite this I knew that the termination was the right decision for us both.

What I wasn’t aware of then was how I felt deeper down.

Underneath my smile for the outside world was a rage that wanted to be seen and felt but was hidden.

My anger was held in my underbelly, in my womb.

Back then I had no way to articulate what I was really going through.

I was comfortable with grief but actually I was furious.

I really wanted to make a family and to have more children but my partner at the time didn’t.

Six months later we had ANOTHER abortion.

This was the final TIPPING point.

One day a current of rage rose up from deep within me and impacted the only person truly by my side back then, my five year old daughter.

My shadow self rose up and hurt a vulnerable and innocent child.

I was frightened and horrified and the shock of this day took me years to come to grips with.

I needed womb healing. I needed deep listening. I needed a shame whisperer.

I had no idea how to access myself or the support my soul needed.

This is why I created Birth Your Truth.

It’s what I needed back then when I was all alone.

I grew up catholic and somewhere inside I felt I needed to be punished for my behaviour, so after this I went on to attract a punishing husband.

We live in a culture that barely recognizes the womb and women’s truths . As women we have collectively been socialized and over educated up into our heads.

We tend to ignore ourselves from the waist down, period.

We ignore our womb and pretend she isn’t there. We even medicate her in an attempt to control her. Lest someone become overwhelmed by her power!

Womb healing is essential for women and highly protective for our children because supported, loved and nurtured mothers are safer, happier and better mothers.

Our children don’t really go with what we say as much as they go with how we act and how we behave. Our children not only feel our wounds, they carry them in their heart soul space.

Our children live in our vibrational field.

Back then I was unable to cope with how I really felt deep down. I know now that that which we cannot be with, waits for us and essentially runs us; it owns us.

If we bring ourselves forth, if we have the courage to be with our true feelings, if we can face the carnage we feel in our underbelly, we have a chance at healing and creating a real and authentic life.

If we ignore our shadow selves they can potentially rise up one day and hurt us or others or even fester away slowly and destroy us from within.

Unmet pain can implode internally into lumps, bumps, cysts and illnesses or externally it can explode hurting ourselves and those we care most about.

I am passionate about creating a better world for mothers and their children.

I do my work for women, our children and the generations to come too.

Back then I was unable to deal with the enormity of my feelings, it was too big and too scary. I was a single parent living alone in a big city and I felt ashamed.

As a daughter of patriarchy I was trained to soldier on and keep going. The modern day version of this is to carry on and ‘suck it up’.

Hiding and sucking it up only led me to hiding my truth and exploding it out later hurting my child.

After my tipping point I was totally driven to heal. I had to do something that mattered to me, something that honoured my body and women’s life giving powers.

I spent five years in body based psychotherapy and began offering women’s circles. I started Sacred Woman Gatherings in Sydney in 2005.

After years training and working as a doula, child birth educator and eventually becoming a registered midwife in two countries I now have something unique to offer.

From my journey into the depths of personal darkness, new light and new life has come.

In 2015 I created Birth Your Truth to hold space for women to heal from unexpected or disappointing experiences of childbirth, miscarriage and abortion.

This work has been full of light, wonderful and life changing for me.

I have seen deep miracles take place, however I am not a healer.

I am a midwife.

I am with woman, holding space for her energetic, felt truth.

Many of the women I have seen have been hurt by the comments and actions of well meaning and highly trained health professionals who themselves do not have the personal experience, sensitivity, compassion or awareness of the real issues women face behind closed doors after procedures are done.

Every front has a back and oft times some health professionals are only trained to see the front issue (and treat it with surgery or medication) blind to the real issue underneath.

My gift is to see and feel the deeper issues.

I’m with Rumi when he said, “The Wound contains the Cure.”

I go a step further.

The Womb contains the Cure.

The Gentle Force

This week at the primary school where I work I spotted a policeman in the school grounds. I felt a brush of fear ripple through my fur, my ears pricked. I wondered what was up.

Surprise!

Constable Josh had come to talk with the kids. Relief! It was good news. The kids were squealing and squirming with excitement to hear what this man had to say to them.

A good man in uniform stood before us. I was touched by his kind presence. He was beaming gentle energy. The children were attentive, bright eyed and bushy tailed to hear what he had to say.

Constable Josh had come to speak to the kids about his role in the Police force. His role is to be there for children who need him. His role is to protect them. He answered lots of questions and dispelled many myths about police for kids and teachers alike.

He told the children what he does and doesn’t do and assured them that a lot of what they see on television and in movies isn’t real. For instance, he doesn’t carry a gun, and his baton isn’t for hitting people with, it’s for getting people out of cars and places if they are stuck. I felt deep relief to hear this.

He then took off his 10kg vest and showed the kids his torch, bullet proof vest, radio, taser, handcuffs and pepper spray. He answered lots of questions. He talked about choices and prison and jail, then he came out with something truly beautiful. I was so touched I had to write about it.

He asked the children if they knew the best tool the police have? He told them that the best tool the police have, they have too. He said that we are all born with this tool. None of the kids or the teachers could guess what it was.

Josh went on to say that the best tool the police have is their voice. A light went on in my head. I have been saying for years that the most protective and powerful tool a birthing woman can have is her voice. And here I was in another country hearing it from a policeman!

Our voice as mothers can protect us and our babies in pregnancy, birth and beyond. If we have our voice we can speak up and perhaps ask more questions and say no to anything that doesn’t feel right for us. If we can speak from our womb (from our deepest intuitive feminine), we can move confidently through birth and beyond it.

The image of the human voice coming out and forming a protective shield in front of a person now forms in my mind as I sit here writing this.

Yes!… our voice is protective. My spirit knows this to be true. It’s been a long and slow journey for me to find my voice.

When I saw acts of violence towards an Aboriginal man out the back of my family hotel business as a teenager, I said nothing. I froze because I witnessed a family member being brutal. I locked it inside a secret vault. I knew the family line was “If you see something bad, don’t say anything”. This message went in when I was five years old, it was here that my true voice went into hiding.

From a young age I kept many feelings hidden inside. I learned that there was no point speaking up because it wasn’t going to make any difference. I gave up. I developed a socially acceptable false self to survive my early environment of family, school and growing up catholic.

When I first experienced domestic violence at age 30 I said nothing. It went underground packed on top with shame. Silencio. Sitting in the classroom looking at Josh the policeman took me back to the day I took out an AVO, a violence protection order against my ex husband.

Josh reminded me of another beautiful policeman that came to my house many years ago when I needed it. To this day I can only describe it as a direct experience of the Divine Masculine. I felt a calm but palpable transmission of divine light emanating from every part of this man. It was ebbing out through a body of quiet strength.

There is an authenticity to the peaceful warrior that makes him truly powerful. This is in contrast to so much of what we see in the media and in movies growing up. I was not experiencing the divine masculine in my marriage at the time. The energy I felt from my ex husband was sharp, cruel, controlling and it hurt my soul. I was frightened and walked on eggshells … living in the hope he would change.

I stayed because he wasn’t like that all the time, however I was sexually hooked and hypnotized by his charismatic charm and generosity – when he wasn’t putting me or my friends and family down in some way. I was called a slut and filth. One day I found myself shaking in terror as I ran from my house to sit on the ground a few streets from my home.

Friends helped me pack up his stuff and change the locks. I give a big sigh of relief when I realize how different my life is today.

Today I live with a gentle, kind and generous man. A truly peaceful warrior. An awesome companion. My man is kinder, deeper and more patient than anyone I’ve ever met before. I am grateful for his presence every day and night. For the first time in my life I feel safe and protected in a partnership with a man. I am never harmed. I am held.

I used to have a lot of shame that I experienced domestic violence. Not any more.

I forgive myself for being unable to speak.

I forgive myself for staying too long.

I forgive myself for taking so long to leave.

I honour myself for getting out and staying out. Studies show it can take 17 attempts for women to leave an abusive partner before they leave for good. I really get this from my lived experience. I have no judgement. I’ve been there.

Somewhere deep down I believed that if I stayed and loved more it would all come good, it would get better.

Wrong.

I got a divorce.

Today, six years on, I live with a Divine Man. There is no abuse, no anger, no pain, and hurtful words are not said, ever. The trauma of living with the dark man is over. I have healed something inside me.

Over time, once I felt safe again I came to see the root of the abuser experience was my deep feeling of unworthiness and the hope that I could receive love by struggling for it. When my abusers were out of the picture I took up the mantle myself. At the heart of the matter was my own self abuse. I was cruel to me. And my pain spilled over onto those I loved. I was overflowing with pain and needed healing. Silver and New Zealand has been my healing.

Today, and every day, I am increasing my love for myself, saying kind things to myself and holding myself. Although I grew up in what looked like a loving family, I didn’t feel loved. The hardest part has been forgiving myself and finding compassion for myself.

I am grateful for Constable Josh, my AVO hero and my Divine Man Silver today because they have all been men who have shown me the face of the Sacred Masculine in this world.

The best part is that The Gentle Force is now inside me too, protecting me, staying by me and loving me no matter what. I woke this morning from a dream of a long train ride that was coming to its final destination. I looked out the window and the sign read God and Goddess.

As within, so without.

Birthday Gifts

Birthday Past

When I look back into my experience of childbirth I can see how I was being during birth is often how I am being in my life now too.

Birth is an initiation into the feminine, into being.

That’s why all the study in the world doesn’t really help us in childbirth. Our baby doesn’t come out our head. Birth is a dance of wild waves meets wild sexuality, meets earthy passion, meets divine, meets soul. It’s sweaty, it’s wild and messy.

Birth is primal, it’s about surrender, allowing and letting go.

It’s deep, it’s fierce, it’s feminine.

We are all daughters of patriarchy, and the culture we live in has trained us well in achieving and doing. Birth is not a doing, it’s more like waves in the ocean, tides, waterfalls, floods and earthquakes.

Birth’s roots are in Mother Earth and the Laws of Nature.

Nature, she is powerful, so best to surrender to her. Nature always gets her way.

For birth, I was ‘prepared’ and ‘organized’. Things were ‘all good’ up until things got really fucking intense. I felt lost at sea. This is Nature’s plan. She wants us to grow. She wants us to expand beyond our wildest dreams. She wants both us and our baby to make it to shore too.

She wants us to open, stretch, let go and allow her to have her way with us.

In Birth (and life) we need to let go and be done! We need instinct, guts, perseverance, water, food, love, respect, kindness and safety.

Sometimes we have to find these things within ourselves because we are alone and there’s no one to guide us.

I was one of the lucky ones, I had a midwife, I was at home. Yet I was profoundly challenged by childbirth. For me, natural birth felt like an earthquake was doing my body. It was beyond strong. It was completely wild and I needed inner navigation, I needed spiritual guidance.

I needed to trust in myself and birth and in another human being like I have never trusted before. This challenged me.

Up until the descent of my baby through my body I’d been an independent woman who could take care of herself. In birth I needed to open up, to get vulnerable, to connect with the forces of nature within me. I was okay with getting wild and primal until I had enough. I needed a doula at my daughters birth! It’s why I went on to become one later.

This bond is set up with our earliest female carers, but to be really frank our capacity for receiving love and support is set up with our mother. If we don’t deeply and wholeheartedly trust our mother or other women, if we can’t receive from women, we may end up feeling ‘all alone’ during birth.

The bond between women has been broken by many things, maternity practices being one of them. I was born in a time when mothers went to postnatal wards and babies went to the nursery. This is not good for primal mother baby bonding! No!

During childbirth I needed to go deep within to a place of trust in life itself. For some time, around transition, I wasn’t trusting. I was absolutely bricking it. I was clenched in fear. Looking back at birth I can now clearly see the gifts that were so close yet so far.

To see these at the time wasn’t possible because I was overwhelmed and stuck in my head trying to work out how I was going to do it. I was stuck in fear. No, not fear, terror.

To receive my birth gems I needed to relax. It’s not easy to relax when you feel a watermelon coming out between your legs, when you feel you are going to die.

Yet in Nature’s terms I needed to die on some level, I needed to let go of who I thought I was and what I thought I was capable of like never before.

To go deeper, to birth naturally, I needed to trust. I needed to surrender. I needed to let support IN.

I trusted to a point, but when I thought I was going to die I clenched on, gripped with terror. The medicine I needed from within me at those moments was to TRUST BIRTH in an epic way.

I needed to trust myself, trust my body, trust in my midwife, trust in my baby, trust in Nature to bring this baby to the shore.

I needed to trust in something bigger, older and way wiser than me. Wild Woman is our ancient mother and we meet her during childbirth. So for me, trust is the first remedy for my birth healing.

Secondly I needed to surrender. I needed to stop trying to work it out in my head. Surrender means letting go and letting god. Floating in the ocean, not gripping onto the side of the pool for fear of sharks. I was afraid of sharks in the pool.

And finally, I needed a spiritual midwife, a doula to meet me at a soul level. I had offers from many natural birthing friends, divine birthing Goddesses and naively I turned them all away. I thought I could do it all myself. Neh.

I had no idea about birth, nor did I understand the natural and spiritual dimension of birth 16 years ago.

After nine years of being with birthing women I’ve learned something. There is a transmission that happens between the divine and women at birth if we are open to it, if we can surrender to it, if we can let it in.

We are the life givers, we are the gateway between heaven and earth. Life comes through us, strongly!

Women have been doing this birth dance for ever. Although much has been lost, one thing is for sure, it cannot be destroyed. It works just fine.

No matter what happened, your birth is holy and sacred and so are you.
For me, the three gems from my experience of childbirth are trust, surrender and to let support in. This is not only what I needed during birth, it’s what I need to LIVE my life. Birth has medicine for the whole of our life. Happy 16th birthing day to me!

I have a Voice

In 2006 I was hired by a gorgeous young business woman to be her birth companion, her Doula.

The obstetrician that she had also hired, in one of her fifteen minute consults, looked me up and down and asked me if I was a midwife.

I wasn’t, I was a new doula at the time. In that moment I told him I was a doula, I felt a power shift but I didn’t realize what it meant until later.

During this woman’s birth I watched as she was beginning to prepare to push her first baby out. It was a straight forward normal birth.

I watched as the obstetrician took scissors from his side table and cut this woman’s yoni and pulled her baby out. The assistants he had held her legs apart. Later I was told these women were midwives. These midwives worked for a private hospital and seemed to be servants of the doctor. This was in stark contrast to what I knew midwifery to be from my own experience.

I was so shocked by what I saw I could not speak.

I am not saying all obstetric doctors are like this. Good doctors are out there, but this is not about them, this is about my initiation into the power dynamics of modern medical birth.

This is about my journey into power via loss of it.

Let’s be clear, obstetricians are surgeons, good for life and death situations, extremely well trained with scalpels and scissors.

Birth is intense, but most of the time it does not need any machines and rarely sharp instruments.

Birthing women do well with honesty, love, courage, protection, trust, safety, time, respect and understanding.

We women hold back our stories and our pain.

Many of us don’t want to frighten other pregnant women or our daughters. We think we should get on with it.

We hold back our stories because we feel they are in the past or because we feel we are so lucky to live in the western world with so much abundance, we are not starving and so we shouldn’t complain.

Yet the abundant western world we live in has also managed to nearly double the amount of women who died in childbirth in the USA and Canada between 1990 and 2013. (World Health Organisation, Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2013)

Rising Maternal Mortality trend

The maternal mortality ratio increased by 136% in the USA from 1990-2013. Women who died in birth increased, yet the number of women who experienced psychological, emotional or physical trauma has never been recorded. It is hardly spoken about, until years later, perhaps when you might see a glowing pregnant woman, then it all comes flooding out. You suddenly feel you must tell her about your birth experience.

Pregnant women do not need to hear our horror stories.

So although there are wonderful benefits about living in modern times, we are still living in a world that often makes childbirth look like drive through.

Women can reclaim birth and stop this.

We can have a voice now.

It is essential women reclaim birth, and for this we are going to need to speak up. We are going to have to say “no thank you,” to many ideas and many offerings. We may even have to say “Stop!”

If you experienced a loss of power or voice in your birthing experience it is not too late to reclaim it now, in present time. Read what women are saying here.

We have a womb and our womb has a story. I want to hear your story, so your music can flow again.

If you know you are still suffering from an unexpected birth outcome, a miscarriage or an abortion. I am here for you. I have experienced these things myself.

If your petals feel crushed by birth it could be impacting your authentic voice, your contribution, your relationship, your business, your music, your creativity and your sexual flow.

As the wonderful Wayne Dyer said “I don’t want to die with my music still in me”. He certainly didn’t. He authored dozens of books and audios.

You can heal from your child’s birth, no matter how long ago it was. If you know it’s time you can book in here.

2 words to live by

Words shape our life. Two small words made me an honours dance student and star performer in my teens, an award winning business graduate in my twenties, a joyous bellydancing hippie who had a natural birth in my thirties and a registered midwife and healing coach in my forties.

The best is yet to come.

In October 2015 I started helping women heal from childbirth. I left my job as a midwife, I moved countries and found a house in the stunning Byron Shire when everyone told me that it’s really hard to find a house!!!

Looking back, I’ve realized that no matter what other people say I have set my sights on my dreams.

My soul has unfolded my life on the wings of two words, like a mantra they have blazed internally uniting to form a pilot light that never goes out, without me even consciously realizing it.

These two words ensured that I had a beautiful natural home birth with a private midwife, graduated from not one but two Bachelors Degree programmes, (one with Distinction, just sayin’)(the other in my forties whilst escaping domestic violence, going through a divorce AND solo parenting a teenager, just sayin2’), moving overseas to New Zealand for a year, and creating a fun, respectful, delicious and divine wonderful new relationship with a gorgeous man I LOVE.

The words are very simple and looking back on my life so far I can see that they are THE deciding factor in ALL of my successes and my failures.

These two words are not hopes, or wishes, or hard sought after; they are deeper than that. They navigate my inner compass. (and of course I still have heaps to learn and much tweaking to do!!)

Decisions I have made with my whole heart, my willingness, my joy and devotion.

The two words are I CAN.

I decided that I CAN have a natural birth and I did.

I decided that I CAN have the job I want and I got it.

I decided that I CAN become a midwife and I DID.

I decided that I CAN have the wedding of my dreams, and I did.

I decided that I CAN leave an unhealthy relationship, and I did.

I decided that I CAN grieve and let go and create a healthy relationship with a gorgeous man, and I did.

I decided that I CAN move overseas for a year to travel and adventure, and I did.

I decided that I CAN move back to the Byron Shire and I did.

I decided that my daughter CAN go to an expensive STEINER School, and she has been there for 9 years already!

If I am honest, if I look inside, ALL my achievements are based on these 2 simple words.

Not hopeHappy smiling Angels.

Not wishing.

Not wanting.

Not waiting.

Not dreaming.

Not pushing.

Not forcing.

Deciding…

I CAN.

Whenever I reach roadblocks and downward spirals it’s because I am thinking and feeling the opposite of the two words. When I hear myself thinking and feeling that I can’t. I see this reflection and the downward dog results reflected in my life.

If you think you can, you CAN and if you think you can’t, you CAN’T.

Now, what have you decided for your life, your health, your vision, your studies, your art, your relationships, your adventures, your finances, your dreams???

I wish you the magic of these two word Angels.

I believe in you.

I am here to tell you that if you believe, if you trust, if you surrender and most importantly if you DECIDE…

You CAN, you really can.

A Time to Die

Heading up to my birthday I felt like a part of me was Dying. I couldn’t go on the way I was. I knew I had to let go.

I had to take some Death.

I had to call in the Women for Support.

I had to crack my Shell.

This Birthday I lay on the earth, belly down.

Arms open wide.

Womb to the earth.

I lay my suffering down.

I lay it all down.

My tendency has been to soldier on and keep going and keep going, lone wolf style, no matter what. I had to crack my fear and resistance to being vulnerable myself, for needing deep support and to talk about the real issues I am having in life, parenting and work.

I did not want to enter another year with the same patterns.

As I lay down on the grass outside I breathed in and released my fear, my pain, my tension, my stress.

I let go.

I released what was between me and everything I need now for the next year of my journey.

When I finally peeled myself off the earth I looked up to see three women passionately drumming, and others with bells and shakers singing and smiling at me.

Support is here for me.

Love is here if I only I can LET LOVE IN.

Thank you blessed Sisters for your love over my birthday.

My Story…

Over the last few years I’ve been holding space for women (and men) at their most vulnerable moments, becoming new parents, journeying through childbirth as a doula, student midwife and midwife.

For the last year I’ve been holding space for women healing from birth and more recently abortion as a birth healing coach.

I have become comfortable with being the support person, the listener, the seer, the space holder.

Now it’s crucial that I create more practical support with parenting a teenager.

More nourishment for myself.

I do actually have access to these in my life now.

However…

My old pattern of lone wolf means that I tend to isolate.

I work alone.

It’s absurd.

I enjoy my solitude and I enjoy connection too.

It’s Nature’s way.

A tree needs a tree network, water, roots and sunshine.

I began to lose Sisterhood when I got into an unhealthy relationship years ago.

It was then that I disconnected from the roots of what feeds me: honest, deep and intimate connection with other women. Fear and Shame can keep us alone, afraid and isolated.

I felt so ashamed of my story I just wanted to hide after my divorce.

I disconnected from my natural web over those years.

Then I went into Midwifery and was catapulted into my head, pushed to my limits and simultaneously horrified by a lot of things.

I was shocked at the medicalization and physical violence displayed towards women during labour. So many justifications are used by care providers as to why women need to be harmed. I’ve heard them all. It has to stop.

I saw too many mothers and babies harmed by procedures and harshness at the hands of care providers.

Horizontal violence towards midwives and student midwives is present here in Australia and in New Zealand too.

The compliance, the coercion, the bullying, and the insanity of a medicalized maternity system was harmful to my spirit. I don’t belong in the military.

I saw a lot of things, good and bad.

I healed a lot of things too.

I saw what happens when women have good midwifery care and caring medical support when required. That’s a really good marriage. I liked that a lot. Beautiful, powerful, respectful relationships between midwives and doctors. Deeply good.

And I saw the not-beautiful, the not kind.

I’m really glad I took the journey. From all this I have learned that patience, kindness and respect are crucial to our survival and thriving as a species.

I’ve needed to return to my roots.

To Community.

To Friends.

To Nature.

To Women.

To Body.

To Breath.

To Self.

To Family.

I became comfortable with women being vulnerable with me, but when I looked around I didn’t have the deep holding support that I have needed to keep going, to be held in my vulnerability.

Leaving my beloved Silver behind in New Zealand has been a far greater challenge than I anticipated. Such a big leap, but a necessary one, as my Daughter and her tribe are here.

Returning to the role of single parent and sole bread winner has been a bigger deal than I imagined. I love and miss my man.

So this birthday, this wise, cute inner chickie pushed her beak through the shell.

It had to crack.

The time of the lone wolf is over.

To survive we must belong.

To thrive we must connect.

This I learnt from Trees, Babies, Women and Families.

Reflections on Abortion

For many years I have been supporting women through all aspects of pregnancy and birth, firstly by empowering them to have joyful, healthy birth experiences, and more recently by helping women reclaim their power and self worth if their experience was not what they had hoped for.

Whilst women often approach me to resolve the trauma of medical complications or clinical intervention, what comes out in the safety of our sessions is that there are many layers of grief from a whole range of situations and events. Of these, one of the deepest wounds comes from those pregnancies that never come to term.

Today I am reflecting on my own and others abortion stories. Here are a few notes and reflections from my healing work with women. These are not ‘truths’ or ‘facts’ – these are my personal feelings and observations from listening and holding space for women healing from abortion. I was astonished that the research I did find on abortion supports my own experience on a personal and professional level.

1. We suffer alone in silence

Abortion can mess with who we feel we are at the deepest level of our Feminine. Honouring the Sacred Feminine is the first step in the healing path.

We are the life givers.

We want to create more love.

We want to create more beauty.

We want to create more life.

Having an abortion can be very disturbing and emotionally painful for many women. So the first thing I want to acknowledge is the loneliness a woman can feel for weeks, months and even years after the abortion is actually over.

On a deep level we feel we have done wrong by life, that we have sinned, that we have now moved from being divine creators to cruel destroyers.

We can place ourselves in the very bad person basket.

From here we punish ourselves relentlessly. This can sometimes go on unspoken, underneath the surface layers of coping fairly well in the everyday world.

We move on in a daze like denial, pretending we are fine, whilst actually feeling sad, angry, furious, resentful and even depressed and isolated.

The truth is that the deepest part of us, the part that created the pregnancy, the Sacred Feminine part of us deeply deeply wanted to conceive, nurture, grow and birth. She wants to grow more love and more life. She is nature’s way. Growing, cycling, birthing more love and light onto planet Earth.

2. We feel guilty

We don’t yet have enough circles for healing after abortion. At least one in three women in Australia has an abortion.

There may well be a tsunami of collective grief in the female underbelly.

We are collectively afraid of being judged, found out and punished. We are afraid of being persecuted, stoned to death and even jailed. Deep down we feel we have done the wrong thing, even though we made the difficult decision from the heart of love. We often felt choice-less, forced into abortion because having another baby would wreak havoc with our physical, emotional or mental health, our families, our bodies, our relationships or marriages.

In short, having the baby sometimes threatens our survival as women. We may feel threatened emotionally, physically and psychologically, so we feel forced into choosing abortion to protect ourselves from abuse, neglect, alienation, rejection, and generally being cast out of our partnerships, communities and families.

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3. We feel unsupported to go ahead with the pregnancy

Often we abort because our partners do not want, or will not support the pregnancy, or the child. There is no judgement here. Male partners see things through male bodies and male minds are sometimes able to be pragmatic about such decisions. They do not grow human lives inside them.

Male partners are not under the super nova of divine spiritual and hormonal influence of pregnancy the way women are. Partners may be more able to detach from the lived experience of conception and subsequent abortion and post abortion healing phases. This is not to say they do not suffer grief and loss, for they certainly do, just not in the way a woman experiences it on an alchemical level.

We need to grieve the fact that we could not bring life in without the necessary support of our partner by our side. I want to acknowledge that often a partner makes this decision from his deepest truth, from great love. Sometimes not. There is no one to blame. Each has their own unique experience of pregnancy and abortion.

According to Ewing (2005), the majority of women and girls who have abortions do so because of a lack of support from partners, parents and friends. Seventy percent of women say they felt they had no alternative to abortion.

4. We are afraid of going crazy

Recently I was listening to a woman who had a significant amount of grief from her abortion. She was afraid to feel her sadness because in her youth her mother had said, “women who have abortions end up going crazy and regretting it for the rest of their lives.” She associated sadness, lots of sadness, with going crazy.

Women fear mental breakdown. Nearly one quarter of the female population is taking anti-depressants. It wasn’t that long ago women were given shock treatment and sent to the mental hospital.

In an attempt to ‘still feel sane and normal’ we can bury the bones of guilt, grief, anger and shame.

This doesn’t work. Like grass growing up through the concrete, our feelings want to be seen. At some point we may get a whiff, we smell the pong of something with a foul stink. We need to tend to the dying aspects lurking within us. Giving death, tending well to what is dying and what is dead is ancient women’s business.

We are the guardians of life and death.

Respecting these sacred transitions in an authentic way to our spirit gives us a sense of peace and well being. By giving death the honour, respect and time she requires we become truly liberated to live whole and full once more.

Fearing or avoiding giving some death robs us of the life we are meant to live. Death has the power to liberate us from many old wounds, old grievances and illusions.

Life and Death are one.

5. There are no accidents

I don’t believe there are any accidents. Every experience we have is for our truth. Everything is for our learning. Every experience is for our awakening.

My abortions led me deeper into myself. My abortions took me to the darkness so I could find the light and love that still remained in my heart and soul.

I wanted to create a family. I wanted more love. I thought that having more babies would bring me that, yet the universe was clearly not going to support that path.

I have said this before and I’ll say it again. The baby I needed to nurture and care for was the child within my heart, my very own inner child. I desperately needed to love the baby inside me. I wasn’t willing to do that then. I was looking to create more illusions.

I am loving my inner babe now.

Today I have a teenager and although I am sometimes sad she never had a sibling, I am deeply grateful I do not have more than one teenager to parent now. I am grateful for living in a time when I can have a safe abortion. My grandmother did not have this option, blessings on her soul.

I am grateful for my abortions, because I know in my heart that if I had three children now I would be crazy. That’s my truth.

Abortion is often a painful and unspeakable experience for many women.

Too many feel alone often years later.

If you have experienced abortion and are still suffering in silence, I am here for you. I am here to tell you that you can heal.

You are not crazy.

You are good.

You are worthy.

You are truly wonderful.

I honour the creator and the destroyer within Nature and within us all.

Amen.

References

Selena Ewing, Women and Abortion: An Evidence-Based Review, 2005; a meta analysis of Australian and international research on why women have abortion, compiled for a Women’s Forum Australia parliamentary submission. See also www.afterabortion.org