Our bodies are infinitely wise, containing and expressing the evolution of our sweet beginning and preset existence. When we physically separated from our Mother, it was up to this foundation of creation to support the path of growth to follow. It is this wisdom, enriched with spirit, that inspires and ignites so much of the work that I do and the life that I live. My choice to share these images and my experience with giving birth to my youngest daughter is done with the intention neither to boast nor make a statement about what is “right” for anyone else when it comes to their birth, but to shed light on what may be possible and what may be reclaimed when we are given the space to explore, know and trust our innately smart and powerful bodies. I am drawn to be open with my home birth experience because I think it is a beautiful and important one, but not a magical or extraordinary one. We have sadly been lead to believe this though. That "natural" birth is a an experience only for the "lucky"....... or for the "crazy", the "hippie" or the "martyr" types. The truth is, is that natural birth is how we were created to birth. If there is anything magical about it, it is that nature is magical, in the sense, that what seems impossible, becomes possible!
Five years ago when I became pregnant with my daughter Leela I specifically recall saying "I am sure I will need to get an epidural". Where did I get that thought from? We cannot possibly be born with this belief that the one primary purpose of our body is not something it is actually capable of performing, can we? At that point in my life, while I was health conscious, I had not yet made the connection nor exist fully in the conversation of mind, body, spirit. I did not trust the stuff I was made of, at least not enough to bring another human being into this world without believing it would be a terrifying, painful experience. Most stories about birth that I heard or saw depicted, with the exception of a few, seemed to always carry a certain amount of drama, involving epidurals, inductions, cesareans, forceps along with long drawn out periods of laboring in anguish. None of this sounded appealing to me, but there I was pregnant, and having to face the fact that I was quite fearful of giving birth, reconciling how I was going to address that. So my plan early on, was that I would do what I needed to do, to make it less scary going into it, and if that meant telling myself I would get an epidural, I would. And that was okay. And coming to that decision felt fine. Completely justifiable.
It wasn't until I saw the documentary, The Business of Being Born, that I began to really look at birth differently - reconsidering some of the beliefs I had and the preemptive decisions I had made based on what I thought I was capable of, or incapable of for that matter. From that point forward I questioned and confronted the roots of my fears regarding giving birth. As I read about natural births, I desired more and more to have that experience myself. I eventually signed my Husband and I up for a series of Hypno-birthing classes as I was becoming increasingly aware that a desire to have a natural birth is not the golden ticket in making one possible. While, yes, our bodies were made to birth, after all of the conditioning we have experienced and due to the medical protocols that are in place, a natural birth requires a fair deal of preparation and dedication to really see it through and to allow the natural process unfold.
In the Hypno-birthing classes not only were my Husband and I able to receive valuable guidance and resources to support and envision our ideal birth, but I was finally able to acknowledge that the fear I had about giving birth, was not truly my own. That the idea that birth was scary, gross, ugly, painful - that it was something to be endured but certainly not to be enjoyed, was a cultural imprint that I was free to let go of. Provided I rely on the information and ideas I had previously been drawing from, my chances of having a birth I felt empowered by and not fearful of, would be unlikely. But what if I reconsidered what was possible? What if I inundated myself with the stories, messages and images of birth as a beautiful empowering experience? What if I began to invest more in the belief that my body was capable, strong and wise and may not need any altering?
I spent the second half of my pregnancy challenging my fears and letting them go. I practiced yoga, meditation and visualizations to help me prepare for my daughters birth. My husband and I had a solid birth plan to protect my hopes at the hospital where my he would be my advocate. When the day came, I felt in charge mentally, physically and spiritually and was willing and ready to surrender to the wisdom I then knew and believed was within me. That day, part of me woke up, and I truly felt I had experienced becoming one with my body and the divine energy of life. I gave birth to my daughter in the way I had intended and that felt honored my gift as a creator. For that experience I am forever grateful.
When I got pregnant a second time this past summer, I was sure I would be returning to the same resources, and beliefs about birth that guided me so much the first time around. Thoughts of giving birth actually excited me and while I considered going to the same hospital (which so respectfully honored my wishes for my fist birth to be natural) as before, I desired the experience of being home where I could truly let the free and natural process of birth unfold without any possibility of being persuaded to have otherwise, of course unless absolutely necessary.
I can’t say enough about the midwives who I saw throughout my pregnancy and who were present for Juniper Wren’s birth. The work they do allows mamas to create a sacred space where we may be liberated from the pressures and objectives of others, feel supported and connect deeply with our bodies wisdom and power. It is in this spirit that I share this part of me and this day that I had the incredible opportunity to birth my baby how I desired and intended, at home and where I was surrounded by tremendous loving energy to see us through to our sweet first meeting.
If you are interested in learning more please contact me or use some of these great resources;
Birthwise Midwifery @ www.birthwise-midwifery.com/
Hypnobirthing @ www.hypnobirthing.com/
Natural Birth info @ www.givingbirthnaturally.com/
Saturday March 12th 2016
I awoke at 5:30 am. My body relaxed yet awake with a warmth radiating from within and a
gentle message, pulsing through me saying "today is the day". One week "early" but feeling
so on time, I joyfully accepted the invitation of my lil' one to join her in her arrival,
allowing the process, the day and our story to unfold.
Juniper Wren was born at 2:56 pm weighing 9 lbs 13 oz, healthy and happy.
Photos by Olivia J. Fite
Midwifery - Birthwise