“When a woman births without drugs…she learns that she is strong and powerful…She learns to trust herself, even in the face of powerful authority figures. Once she realizes her own strength and power, she will have a different attitude for the rest of her life, about pain, illness, disease, fatigue, and difficult situations.” –Polly Perez
“The way a society views a pregnant and birthing woman, reflects how that society views women as a whole. If women are considered weak in their most powerful moments, what does that mean?” –Marcie Macari
“I think one of the best things we could do would be to help women/parents/families discover their own birth power, from within themselves. And to let them know it’s always been there, they just needed to tap into it.” –John H. Kennell, MD
“As doulas, midwives, nurses, and doctors, it’s important to never underestimate how deeply entrusted we are with someone’s most vulnerable, raw, authentic self. We witness their heroic journeys, see them emerge with their babies, hearts wide open…” –Lesley Everest (MotherWit Doula)
“When you have a baby, your own creative training begins. Because of your child, you are now finding new powers and performing amazing feats.” –Elaine Martin
“Learn to respect this sacred moment of birth, as fragile, as fleeting, as elusive as dawn.” ~ Frederick Leboyer (via From Womb to Cradle Doula Services)
”It takes force, mighty force, to restrain an instinctual animal in the moment of performing a bodily function, especially birth. Have we successfully used intellectual fear to overpower the instinctual fear of a birthing human, so she will now submit to actions that otherwise would make her bite and kick and run for the hills?” –Sister Morningstar (in Midwifery Today)
“Birth is women’s business; it is the business of our bodies. And our bodies are indeed wondrous, from our monthly cycles to the awesome power inherent in the act of giving birth.” –Sarah Buckley
“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want to hear–to hear you erupting. You Mount St. Helenses who don’t know the power in you–I want to hear you…If we don’t tell our truth, who will?” –Ursula K. Le Guin
“For most people, modern life meanders along a path of ups and downs, by and large devoid of high-voltage experiences that have the power to alter our lives in significant ways…The birth of a child is one of those significant experiences.” –John & Cher Franklin (FatherBirth)
Birth power has been on my mind today after I read my friend’s Shauna’s unassisted birth story of her eighth baby:
Our baby was starting to crown as I finally squatted down low with one leg higher than the other (I was out of time to change things up. I’ll just squat and do it the same ‘boring’ highly effective way I always do it I thought lol.) I used some counter pressure on her velvety head to help ease her head out but it wasn’t really needed and a painless contraction inched her head fully out. I noticed I talked a lot to Ricky about what was happening like I was giving him a play-by-play of a sport. I stood up on two legs again…As I stood up Ricky took a few pictures of me holding her fully birthed head with one hand and I said, “Get a picture of me smiling.” I totally posed for a picture while I cradled her head between the two worlds of womb and Earth…
Completely coincidentally, over the weekend I made a new sculpture that I named in honor of Shauna and her past births.
I called this one “Squatter’s Rights,” after an article draft Shauna wrote several years ago that had a potent impact on me, particularly her line, “and then I reach down and catch what’s mine.” (previously written about in this post.) I made the new sculpture because I received a message on etsy asking me about the sculpture shown at the conclusion of another past post:
“I believe with all my heart that women’s birth noises are often the seat of their power. It’s like a primal birth song, meeting the pain with sound, singing their babies forth. I’ve had my eardrums roared out on occasions, but I love it. Every time. Never let anyone tell you not to make noise in labor. Roar your babies out, Mamas. Roar.” –Louisa Wales
Over the weekend, I also made a batch of new sculptures for a training taking place in Hawaii:
Tonight I lit a candle as part of the Wave of Light for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is important to acknowledge that power may be found in the full spectrum of experiences of the childbearing year…
And, in a thematically appropriate connection, a Facebook fan sent me a link today to a powerful video of a woman singing during labor. I’d seen a version on YouTube before, so I went looking for it there and instead I found a short webisode specifically about singing during labor:
In my own first labor, I hummed the blessingway chant Woman Am I over and over again until the baby was born. I find that humming, vocalizing, and talking to/coaching myself is one way that I awaken my own birth power during birthing.
How do you awaken your birth power?
I shared some ideas in another past post, but I’d love to add to it!