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.

Birthday Gifts

Birthday Past

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

Birth is an initiation into the feminine, into being.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 words to live by

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

The best is yet to come.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two words are I CAN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not hopeHappy smiling Angels.

Not wishing.

Not wanting.

Not waiting.

Not dreaming.

Not pushing.

Not forcing.

Deciding…

I CAN.

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

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

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

I wish you the magic of these two word Angels.

I believe in you.

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

You CAN, you really can.

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.