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.

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.

Taking a Stand

It was on a plane in 2015 on one of my many flights across the Tasman between New Zealand and Australia that it happened. I was watching a film called “How to Save the World” – a fascinating documentary about the founders of Greenpeace.

Greenpeace, an organization founded by activists and volunteers, has done a phenomenal job of protecting whales and seals and other wildlife since its inception by a handful of courageous eco-warriors.

Whaling has been stopped in many countries.

Greenpeace did change the world.

Watching this film I thought to myself… “Who is going to protect the mothers and the babies? Who is going to stop birth trauma?”

Unlike the slaughtering of baby seals, violence towards women and babies at birth is hidden from the world.

It is not about anger, but rather compliance and control. It is about fear and how fear is applied in a controlled way to a mysterious process that is unique to each birth.

From a midwifery perspective, birth trauma in big hospitals is predictable with poor outcomes and life long consequences for women.

To avoid it we must not be afraid, nor must we be naive and pretend it does not exist.

Violence against women and babies during labour and birth goes on in subtle and direct ways across the world.

Medicine expects compliance. It is carried out by those who don’t know any other way. They are doing the only thing they know how to do with the linear cortex, medical perspective and surgical skills they have.

It gets the baby out quickly, yes.

And it makes Birth look like drive through.

It goes like this.

As part of normal labour women experience intense pain in birth. They can feel very vulnerable and they sometimes want to go home or give up or die or all these things.

Hospitals provide a smorgasbord of options which, from a position of intense exhaustion, pain or suffering can sound like a very good idea at the time.

Vulnerability + Pain + Hospital + Fear + lack of Autonomous Midwives = Massive Intervention = Unnecessary birth trauma

This doesn’t happen in midwifery led environments, in fact maternity care from a known midwife means 50 – 80% fewer medical interventions during childbirth.

I listen to women. I hear their stories of birth. I hear how healthy women feel about their caesareans, and their forceps and their vacuum. I hear about their lost dreams. I see their tears.

And I know that so much of this pain can be prevented.

Unnecessary birth trauma will end when women and midwives reclaim their rightful place as guardians of normal childbirth.

When Midwives return to their respected and important role in society as the guardians and protectors of normal pregnancy and birth we will see Birth come home.

We can turn the tide.

We can restore our sacred rites.

We can and we are.

Women are the experts on themselves, their bodies and their baby. Midwives are the experts of normal birth. Medicine can be called upon IF, and only ever if it is truly required. Most of the time, it isn’t required but because we take a normal healthy life giving process into a medical environment much is lost, we create problems, lots of them.

The medical model sees birth as an accident waiting to happen and treats it as such. Every step of labour is charted, women are questioned, prodded and poked.

Surveillance goes against Birth and creates problems.

Unnecessary birth trauma is then created, it is a by-product of being caught in a net and hoping that something outside ourselves will help us escape it.

When we listen to our inner guidance above all else, and go with it, birth trauma can begin to end.

There are many ways to help a woman get her baby out. Instruments and surgery are one way.

Midwifery is another.

When we heal the soul of midwifery Birth will begin to come home.

The seal fur traders probably thought they were doing the best thing for their communities by supporting the baby seal fur trade back in the day. Perhaps the fur industry supported their families and communities for generations.

Not any more.

Facing our fear of death during birth is a long forgotten aspect of spiritual midwifery.

When we neglect the spiritual and shamanic dimensions of birth we have to resort to machines and instruments.

The inner doors open through an alchemical process that is a mystery. Midwives hold the space for this and support women to release whatever holds them back. When we let go and trust, our baby comes earth side. Sometimes it means we die to something internally. This is an aspect of birth that is overlooked by those who think their way through maternity care with only linear symbol processing. Much more is going on beneath the surface, and the inner workings of women contribute to the outer workings in birth.

Many maternity care providers feel they are doing the best thing when they introduce a monitor, fetal scalp electrode, an episiotomy (cutting a woman’s perineum between vagina and anus) an epidural, forceps, vacuum or caesarean section into a woman’s birth.

It’s often the only way they know how to get the baby out. Yet from a midwifery perspective, creating the right environment and honouring the woman and her process is how the babies emerge naturally.

This happens spontaneously, without force.

Too often these things are introduced because they are seen as the only option. It’s sort of like being hungry and the only thing open is McDonald’s. Just because it’s everywhere doesn’t mean it is good for you.

We can Birth in a natural and humane way. There are too many cuts, too many machines, too many drugs and too many interventions. It all can stop. It can stop with you.

Many women say they want a natural birth, yet birthing in a hospital means that pretty much everything in there goes against that outcome. For instance, driving to a hospital to give birth, bright lights, strangers, sanitized clinical environments that don’t smell familiar, operating theatres, beeping machines and throngs of medical staff peering at your body is not natural.

Far from it.

It’s a jungle in there and there are traps. Traps that you can walk into without even being aware of them.

Birth can be straightforward. Birth can be spiritual. Birth can be Wild. Birth can be empowering. Birth can be sexy. Birth can be intense. Birth can be whatever she is.

Natural birth happens when women are undisturbed in labour. If we disturb the mother, we disturb the delicate chemicals of love and safety required to expand enough, to trust enough to let the doors of life open and let babies be born. If we don’t feel safe enough to let go, the doors of life won’t open no matter how much they tell you to push.

Women aren’t made to be hooked up to machines during birth. Women are not made to birth on white sanitized sheets lying on single beds in the middle of medical rooms.

Women are not made to be told how to birth.

We’ve got this.

We know how to Birth.

If women are healthy, prepared, protected and feel safe, most can birth well.

We know. We know. We know. We just have to remember.

So many women tell me they want a natural birth, yet they walk themselves into an environment that offers the opposite.

Some have tried to capture Birth and diminish her. Women were not meant to birth in captivity. We might need to roam, we might need to rest. We might need to go quiet. We might need to get fierce.

There is no animal on earth that would agree to the kinds of intervention women agree to during childbirth.

Show your teeth if necessary.

And be sure to heal from your previous birth if you are birthing again. This is a must.

Don’t play dead. Don’t be compliant.

Get in alliance with your birthing powers.

Seek out an experienced Midwife or Doula you trust to support you.

Birth is the big work and we need Midwives, autonomous and fully supported to do the work they are so good at. Controlling women, birth and midwives in institutions is not working.

It isn’t.

Midwives need support, they work all hours of the night and day. Women need support and both need freedom.

Since Birth went to hospitals women’s outcomes improved for many decades but between 2000 and 2013 the number of women who died of child birth related issues nearly doubled in USA and Canada. (World Health Organization, 2008)

I am making a stand for something else. For the capacity of women to birth without a whole lot of machines and equipment.

Birth in most big hospitals has become like drive through. You go in, you get your baby and you come out with some kind of cut or wound.

Women and Birth are not drive through. Something important is happening.

Our bodies and our baby belong to us, not to hospitals.

I have seen violence towards women in hospitals and every midwife who works in a hospital knows exactly how, when, where and with whom it happens.

It has to stop.

Violence towards women during childbirth is hidden because women birth in private behind closed doors where they are expected to be compliant. Grrrr …

97% of women in Australia birth in a hospital. From 2007 to 2014 I worked in these hospitals as a doula, student midwife and midwife.

Midwifery today would require me to partake in practices I believe are dangerous. Practices that have no evidence to back them up.

Surveillance in the form of continuous fetal monitoring (which has a woman tied to a bed) as well as routine vaginal examinations contribute to unnecessary birth trauma.

It’s not humane. It has to stop.

The medical model disturbs the natural birthing process. It then has to introduce instruments or operations to get the baby out.

Continuous fetal monitoring, Induction of Labour, Episiotomy, Vacuum Extraction Forceps delivery and Caesarean section are not enjoyable experiences for many women.

The accepted cultural myth is that the hospital is the safe place to have a baby, but I disagree. Personal safety is a subjective concept. I think we have gone too far into the illusion that the hospital is the safe place.

Birth today is like an endangered species.

She is being hunted.

She is being captured.

She is tied up in ropes and wires.

Too many women are birthing in captivity.

It’s time to free her.

Birth was never meant to be drive through.

Hands off the Mother.

Hands off the baby.

Hands off the process.

Hands off her womb.

Sacred Woman.

Sacred Earth.

Sacred Birth.

My body.

My baby.

My choice.

Do you believe in Angels?

Angela and Michael Close Up

I am talking about real life angels. Human beings that come into our life for a moment, a chapter or a life time. Beings that change our life forever, filling us up with goodness.

Angels are beings that ONLY want to love and support us.

I’ve been surrounded by real living breathing Angels all my life. This makes me feel emotional because the story I used to tell myself about my childhood was that I felt all alone, but actually I was never alone.

In grade four my primary school teacher Mrs. Allcock told my mum she thought I would benefit from having a dog. She worked at the local animal rescue and knew of a dog that needed a home.

Mrs Allcock was an angel for me. And so magic happened. At nine years old I received a soul gift that would see me through my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, my red dingo cross kelpie dog Georgie girl.

I was an extremely sensitive child, although I didn’t know it at the time. It was before the time of sensitive children! That dog meant the world to me. It was a profound experience of love. I felt joy with Georgie that I never knew existed. I did not feel that sort of love for the adults around me at the time.

Georgie howled at the moon and followed my every footstep. I felt completely one and connected to all of life with her by my side. It was pure joy.

My theory is that there is always an angel for us and we are an angel for someone else too, at the same time.

When my daughter was born I was the Angel for her, as her mum, and Michael, her father, was an Angel for me. He built me a birthing swing to hang from, filled up the birthing pool, stocked up on food and stood by me through milky days and nights of breastfeeding, making sure I was well fed and protected.

Angela and Michael

I’ve noticed there is always an Angel behind us supporting us and in front of us as we move into the unknown.

WE ARE the angel sent to love and care for someone or something today. We are put on the path of those we can serve. This is how the angel network works, it’s an inner-net connecting the hearts and souls of people, animals, places and things.

It’s my angel theory.

I’ve been living with a human Angel here in New Zealand. I met Silver when I needed a friend. God gave me more than that.

I was diving into the unknown, driving around the mountains of New Zealand. I went to a sacred place called Mana Retreat in Coromandel to dance and there he was holding out his hand, inviting me to join him on life’s big adventure. What I got was sweet love and three years of soul healing.

As I said before, there is always an angel behind us and in front of us, and WE ARE that angel sent for someone too.

Everything is sent to us by source. Our money, our friends, our pets, our loved ones, our helpers, our leads, our homes, our cars, our new swimmers, our connections. It’s all sorted by the Angel network.

Yesterday I happened to be in contact with my friend Justina, who happened to be traveling in LA, and happened to be looking for a place to stay. I immediately got in contact with my friend Jo who lives in LA so now Justina has somewhere to stay. And that was all from my place in New Zealand!

In this example I was the Angel for Justina (who needed a place to stay) and Jo was the Angel for me (helping out a friend).

This world so needs our love.

The good news is that we can always give something. A smile, a flower, a kind word, a car park, an opening of a door.

Who needs your help today?

Give it now.

And with that, all your prayers are answered too, in advance.

Loving this world back to health is what we are all here to do.

We are all in Angel School.

We are all Angels.

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.

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.

3 Big reasons why women don’t heal from Birth and 5 ways YOU CAN

We can become quite attached to our wounds. Yes, we can even become addicted to our awful birth story. We can increase our energy from emotions such as rage and anger, which does feel better than sadness or depression. But when we are stuck between the two we are still stuck. We are not at peace with our birth, with what happened and how it made us feel.

I was like this.

The story I told myself in my head was that I had FAILED at childbirth. I told myself this story for many years. I was ashamed of my birth. It was painful and I wanted to heal it by ‘getting birth right’, by having another baby. This approach totally didn’t work for me. I didn’t get to have another baby. I actually ended up having a miscarriage that initiated me into Death and Midwifery instead.

This was my medicine, my path, my healing. Looking back, I can see the absolute wisdom in Nature’s plan. She is Wise.

I had to come to peace with my daughters birth exactly how it happened. The healing was in the story I told MYSELF, in my head, in my heart, in my body. I learned so much about myself and about birth that I saw clearly that this was the birth I needed to have to learn what I have needed to learn. I look at Birth now as a treasure chest offering gems of wisdom to anyone who cares to see.

If we cling to a broken story, we don’t tend to see the gems and we certainly don’t heal.

angel-card-tarot-card-reading

So here are 3 Big reasons why women don’t heal from Birth.

1. We are stuck in Blame and Shame

We either blame others (the system, the doctor, the midwife, the doula, our partner) or we blame ourselves. “If only I had declined the induction,” “If only I had said no to the epidural,” or the caesarean section. “If only I’d done classes.”

Mine was, “If only I hadn’t pushed!”

Either way, blame is a ball and chain. We remain victims, we feel damaged by birth and we feel alone with our birth story. We secretly tell our horrible birth story over and over in our head and we may even feel we need to warn pregnant women of the pending danger that lays ahead for them.

2. Stuck in Wrath and Resentment

We are angry at care providers, support people, partners or ourselves for how our birth turned out. We feel sad, envious or resentful when we hear of friends or relatives who have beautiful natural births or home births.

An enormous amount of energy can be wasted in anger and resentment. I wasted years of my life being angry. Looking back I can see that if I truly feel my emotion of anger, sometimes I need to do something like smash a plate or hit a pillow or scream under water. If I allow it to pass through me physically, these days it flows through pretty quickly.

Feel anger, let it move through. Make sure nobody, including yourself, is hurt.

It’s only taken me nearly twenty years to get to this point. I regret taking my anger out on the people I love in my life. Looking back I did not know how to feel and process anger efficiently.

Being stuck on the A note has dire consequences. I started out as a young girl being an imploder (keeping it all tucked away safely inside) and then in my late twenties I became an exploder (spraying it all around, hurting myself and others, mostly the people I loved).

I’ve had a long journey with anger. Now in my late forties I am finding the middle path. It feels wonderful to know I can let the wild fire move through my system and out of me in a matter of minutes.

3. Stuck in Guilt and Failure

When our birth goes pear shaped we can even feel that we have failed as a woman, that we are less of a woman because of our birth experience. We may work hard to ‘suck it up’ (I really dislike that expression) to protect our wounds and cover it over with a ‘socially acceptable face’, rather like a false self, a functional, strong mask of ourselves that ensures the wounds we carry are buried safely in our underbelly where they cannot be seen, even to ourselves.

We soldier on. We go into denial.

We may even feel disgusted by the sight of a pregnant woman, we push the pain away in an attempt to never feel that hurt or vulnerable ever again.

Okay enough of the stuckies…. time to MOVE ON….. here are 5 ways you CAN heal from Birth.

1. Spring Clean your Birth Story

What is the storyNew Life - unfurling fern frond. you are telling yourself? Write it down. Get a piece of A4 paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left write at the top of the page What Happened and on the right of the page write How it made me Feel.

Be willing to feel how you really feel about your birth. Go through each part from early labour, through transition, birth, delivery of placenta, and post partum. Break it all down, moment by moment if needs be. Be gentle, and be open and willing to accept painful emotions. Feel them and when you are ready, let them go.

2. Express yourself

Get those feelings into the light of day. Writing your birth story, painting your birth, drawing and dancing are a few creative ways to start the healing process. Whatever your style, fully acknowledge that this was your experience. Have no judgements about whether your feelings or your expression are good or bad – they are yours, and that’s what matters.

3. Empower yourself

Write your story again, and this time claim the power. Write in the first person “I did…, I chose…, I created…, I felt…, I knew…” This is not to change the past, or to deny any of it – it is to claim the power to choose, so that right now you can choose your experience, choose to heal, choose to empower yourself for the future.

4. Share your truth

Find a safe person to talk to about your birth. Someone you trust, who won’t interrupt you or try and fix you or be triggered by your emotions. As best you can, choose someone who will simply hold space and witness, rather than somebody who will ‘sympathize’ and reinforce any dark story or victim feelings.

You are a valuable part of this world, and you deserve to be witnessed. This is a huge step out of shame, and into self worth.

Fully honouring your story like this is part of the process of completing and letting it go. It can feel so good that sometimes it is tempting to keep doing this step. Don’t let this build into a pattern, where you become dependant on this story – there are so many beautiful stories waiting for you.

If you know you are ruminating over and over about your birth, seek professional support that feels right for you.

5. Honour your process

Carve out the time and space for your healing. I work on the principle that every woman has a Divine Healer within. She is unique and creative and powerful in every woman I work with. Some women are very earthy, some are very spiritual, some are emotional, some are singers, some love to sew, some need to laugh, others sweat, others bake. Every woman has her way.

There is no ‘right’ way, only the way that feels natural in your body and spirit and right for you.

Give yourself some space to tune into your unique way of healing. Trust the Healer within who is guiding you every day.

Whichever way you choose to heal, whichever path you follow, fully acknowledge that this is important, valuable, worth while. Consciously choose to support yourself by committing the time and resources to heal, because you are worth it. Whether that means buying a new box of paints or investing in a three month programme, you are worth it.

How can you heal from your birth?

I think it comes to down to willingness, readiness to let go and openness for the birth story to retell itself within your body and spirit. Women that heal tell me that they have a new found appreciation for the miracle of their wise body and they come to peace with the birth they actually had.

What has changed?

Perhaps it’s a small shift of perception that releases a whole lot of energy, our feelings about our experiences. It can be a number of things, but often it comes down to a few key moments. It boils down to reclaiming power in the moments where we felt we were powerless. It boils down to having a voice now where we didn’t have then. Not what happened, but how we feel about it, where the story we tell ourselves has become a story we can now feel good about.

Blessings on your healing journey. I wish you every success, however you choose to proceed. The most important thing is to begin, because you are worth it.

And if ever you want help, I am here for you. For an hour, for a season, for a therapeutic massage or a heartful Skype session. You can even use my box of paints. Just call me.

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.

bouqet

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