7 protective tools for Women Birthing in the system

Wild Wolf

During pregnancy I lived by the sea. I swam daily, admiring the beautiful crystal clear green waves. During childbirth I became the ocean.

In labour it seemed there were only two choices, surrender to huge waves and trust that my baby would come to shore with me, or be consumed by fear.

Alongside a tremendous amount of fear with the help of an experienced midwife I gave birth to my daughter at home in a birthing pool.

It was monumental and magical beyond belief.

Birth set me on my path.

Birth became my teacher.

In 2007 I became a Doula and in 2014 a registered Midwife. Soon after graduating I moved to New Zealand to avoid the horrors of  medicalized birth in Australia.

I know in every cell of my body that healthy women can birth naturally given respect, support and an environment they feel safe to let go in. If we are free of fear labour can flow brilliantly.

As a student midwife I experienced a record number of normal births. I was guided by something bigger than myself especially when things got intense. I found deep stillness and calm within many medical dramas, where my point of intention was connection with and protection of the mother and baby.

Moving to New Zealand at the end of 2014 I thought my career as a midwife was set to go.

I was in for a surprise.

Although I tried to convince myself,  I was not aligned with clinical midwifery within the medical birthing model. Reluctantly I followed inner guidance and surrendered the career I worked hard to attain.

Surprisingly, in its place a new path opened up.

I began listening to women’s birth stories and helping women heal from unexpected and disappointing outcomes of childbirth. This act transformed their lives (and mine too).

A woman’s birth story takes me straight to her soul. I discovered that within her birthing experience there is deep medicine for her life on planet earth. Nobody taught me this, I didn’t study trauma healing. Like attending women in labour I sat and listened and listened to hundreds and hundreds of birth stories.

There is much you can do to protect yourself and your baby from unnecessary birth trauma.

You must have a voice, you have to be fierce. I don’t mean aggressive, I mean fierce the way a mother lioness is fierce.

If you are pregnant for the first time or planning your next birth after a disappointing experience here are my top 7 tips to prevent unnecessary birth trauma.

1. Reclaim your Body

If you conceived and grew your baby you can birth it too.

You can.

Be discerning about what you read. Just because a pregnancy book is on the shelf at the book store doesn’t make it good for you. Read true birth classics such as “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” by Dr. Sarah Buckley,  “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin and “Birth Goddess” by Katrina Zaslavsky.

You don’t need your thinking brain for birth.

You need deeper wisdom, your instinct. Although we have been socialized this still exists within us.

Surrender your mind, sink back inside your softness, melt back in with your womb, go with your body.  Your body, like the moon and the ocean has her own flow, her own timing and her own divine rhythm.

Women in a coma can birth a baby. Your body knows what to do if you can give her a chance to do it.

You’ll need a safe space to birth, one where you can tune into yourself and let go. You need privacy and to be undisturbed. A good midwife knows how to support a woman in labour without interrupting her. It’s a fine art, being there but not getting in her way.

Remember that your baby doesn’t come out of your head.

He or she comes out of your body.

So come back to your body. Go offline. Unplug and switch off from social media in pregnancy. Tune into your body. Tune into the earth. Get yourself onto the grass or by the sea or into nature.

Walk in the park, dance, swim, sway and rock. Pregnancy is a time to just be. Yes, you can just be sometimes. Enter into the realm of the Feminine, with nothing to do, but enjoy being in a pregnant body. You are like a glowing and radiant full moon. A Goddess.

Take care in pregnancy. Protect your baby and yourself. Protect your energy. Stay away from negative people.

Be safe.

Do what makes you feel alive, free and happy in your body.

Garden. Breathe. Make love. Rest.

Feed yourself delicious food.

Be in your body.

You are made for this.

You can do this.

You got this.

Nourish your body.

Enjoy.

2. Reclaim your Sexual Power

The energy within you that got the baby in will get the baby out. Your sexual power is key. Let it flow, let it open you. Let it heal you. Let it wash right through you.

Labour goes in waves. It can start slowly and build up or it can just be there full on and cranking.

If you are uninhibited and open to your waves of sexual energy and flowing it through your body you can open and surrender to the waves of labour with ease.

Let each wave expand your pelvis and your consciousness. Let each breathe take you further inside the ocean of bliss within you. Let sex and birth expand you, not frighten you.

Breathe. Seek support from someone you love and trust.

You’re not lost, you’re just going wide and wild, stretching further than you ever have before allowing something new to come through you. Hop out of your own way, let the ocean come through you. Let your child be born. Open.

Pleasure yourself in pregnancy. Massage your breasts, your belly and your Yoni (your vagina) and your perineum (space between vagina and anus). Get to know your Yoniverse.

Experience your growing sexual energy. Flow it through you, share it with your partner if you have one and enjoy it.

Heal sexual blocks and traumas.

Free your heart.

Circle your pelvis.

Make love, even if you’re the only one there.

Open.

Open your mouth.

Make a sound… Aaaahhhhhh!!!!

Open your arms and legs, stretch out.

Open your voice.

Open your heart.

Open your soul, a new one is coming to earth through you.

Reclaim your sexual power.

Take up space.

This is your time.

You open and close the space.

Thou art Goddess.

3. Reclaim your Primal Voice

Be like wildlife, make animal sounds. Let your energy flow freely through you with sounds. Get down on all fours and sound. You can do this through pregnancy when you get stressed and in labour too.

Let it be easy.

Howl to the Moon.

Purr like a cat.

Grunt like a pig.

Moo like a cow.

Meow like a kitten.

Scream like a banshee.

Moan like a sex Goddess.

Release Sound. Deep sounds.

Express the sounds of your womb, your yoni, your hips and your thighs.

Let it out.

Sounding will help you release stagnant energy and take up space for yourself in pregnancy and birth.

Birth is not a time to be small and cute and play dead. You will be challenged at times on many levels and you can breathe and sound though it.

You can do it.

Practice having a voice in pregnancy, not just the voice of your head, include the deeper voice, the voice of your bones and your womb and your blood.

The voice of ancient feminine wisdom.

You’ve got this.

Your body. Your baby. Your birth.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Become comfortable with saying both yes and know and don’t betray yourself. Ask for what you want and say no to what you don’t.

You will be tested. During pregnancy and birth you will be offered things you may not want so practice with your body yes and your body no.

You know what you want.

You know what you don’t want.

Trust your belly.

Trust your wisdom.

You’ve got this.

Have a voice.

Go Wild.

4. Release your Fears

Fear is the enemy of birth. What we resist persists. Fears don’t go away, they wait. Face them and they disappear.

Sit down and write all your fears about giving birth down on a blank piece of paper.

Example.

I am afraid of…

write your fears here… i.e. hospitals, tearing, exhaustion, blood loss, male doctors… whatever your fears are.

Look at each one. Face it. See it for what it is. Look it in the eye. When you are ready you are going to release all the energy of this fear from inside you.

Write each fear on a separate piece of paper.

Create a safe space for this ritual, such as a fireplace or an enclosed fire pit outside.

Burn each piece of paper one by one.

Ask yourself, have I let go? What do I still need to let go of?

You may need more support with this from a midwife, birth healing coach or counsellor.

When this is complete and you feel ready return to your writing tools.

Affirm what you want instead.

Energize your new beliefs.

Bring it to life. Paint it. Write it. Speak it. Dance it.

Drop the drama. Energize what you want instead.

Write positive affirmations.

Stick them up in your house where you can see them.

Alternatively you can also… dance or paint out your fears.

Do hypno birthing.

Fear holds us back in labour and in life.

Release your fears.

Express yourself.

Write.

Paint.

Sing.

Knit.

Crochet.

Cook.

Create.

Dance.

Get them out, out out!

Release your fears.

5. Hire support people you trust in every cell of your body

If something feels off with your care provider, investigate your feelings. Too often women tell me they didn’t really like their doctor, midwife or doula. It’s too late after your birth to fix this problem. Pregnancy is the time for choosing care providers very very carefully.

It is important that you like, love and trust your chosen care provider with every cell in your body.

Birth is intimate. You gotta feel right about your support team.

It is important you like them. You are going to have a baby with this person.

Think about your main care provider for the birth of your child and answer the following questions as honestly as you can.

Do you feel respected?

Do you feel safe?

Can you be yourself?

Do you feel heard?

Do you feel comfortable with the idea of going wild and getting naked with them?

Do you trust them in every cell of your body?

If not, move on.

Start again.

Next.

6. Trust

Trust yourself. Trust your baby. Trust the process. Trust your Midwife. Trust your Doula. Trust Birth. Trust Life. Trust. You can do this.

7. Surrender

When labour begins, there’s nothing left to do. Let go and enjoy it. Let labour wash through you and take you to the motherland.

Dance it.

Sing it.

Sound it.

Move with it.

Shake it.

Swim with it.

Love Birth.

Let go.

Let Goddess.

Surrender.

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.

Your Voice

Having a voice can protect you from all kinds of really bad shit.

Did you know that having a voice now is one of the greatest tools for healing your birth experience?

Did you know that your voice is the number one most powerful way you can protect yourself and your baby from birth trauma?

Reclaiming your voice can completely change the trajectory of your life.

Have a voice.

I don’t mind if it’s quiet, loud or runs off your tongue like honey, just make it your your own voice.

Finding our voice can take patience and courage, and as women we need to know how to find our authentic voice.

Let me begin by explaining what I am not talking about here.

I am not talking about the voice of your head. I am not talking about the voice of what you’ve been told. I am not talking about the voice of your friends and community.

I am talking about the voice in your bones.

I am talking about the voice of your womb.

I am talking about the voice of your soul.

I am talking about the voice of your deep inner knowing.

I am talking about the voice between your soft inner thighs.

All these womanly body parts have a felt sense that cannot be denied. No more silence. Let the sound of your skin, bones, womb and yoni be heard. I truly believe that if women felt courageous to express the truth of their body (and not silence it) birth trauma would begin to stop across the world. Enough already.

You see, many girls have been taught to play sweetly and nicely, even when we are being harmed or threatened.

We have been taught to be compliant, nice, quiet and to ‘not make a fuss’ despite being coerced into being cut, pulled, prodded, and tied up to a monitor or worse still, an operating theatre bed.

This has to STOP.

We must stalk the predator within and without lest we become prey. We were not born to become prey. We must protect what we love.

When we are young we hear the voices of our parents, teachers, friends, relatives and churches day in and day out.

We take in and on, we digest many of these voices internally (even if we don’t agree with them) as if they were the absolute truth about life.

When we are very very young, i.e. pre-verbal we don’t question, we just absorb.

When we are infants, we are like chalk in a glass of ink.

We take it all in.

We take in ideas and random comments made by others as truth and make them mean something about us. As girls we have taken in births portrayed in television sitcoms and movies and on some level we may even unconsciously expect this kind of melodrama when we go to the hospital to have our own baby. You can clear all of this unknown material with some inner work.

Birth was not meant to be a crazy drama with you screaming in a white gown and your legs splayed open on a bed. FUCK NO!

Birth can be intense, primal, passionate, YES, but did you know that birth can also be even profoundly sexy, beautiful, wild and very very straight forward.

Take back your power.

Take back your body.

Have a voice now.

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.

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