Tag Archive | birth power

Thoughts About Birth Thoughts

When I check my blog stats, I’m interested to see which search terms bring people to this blog. Recently, a search term used was “birth thoughts.” I use “birth thoughts” as my default category for posts that don’t fit in a specific other category and I have a lot of posts in that category. So, I searched for the term myself and was very surprised to see that of 52 million google hits for “birth thoughts,” Talk Birth was the FIRST site to come up on a search using that term. Isn’t that cool? Since, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with searching for “birth thoughts” to see where I continue to stand and I guess it depends on page updates (?), because sometimes it drops off the top 10 (though then it is usually of 32 million or 27 million sites, not 52 million—not sure what is up with that either). Either way, I think it is interesting :)

I do think a lot of birth thoughts. Sometimes I wonder why birth remains such a consuming subject of interest to me. I have been considering this a lot lately, actually, and still working to put my finger on WHY. I think it is because birth, for me, is one of the fullest experiences of standing in my “personal power” that I’ve ever had. A “peak experience,” a “flow experience,” almost a “religious experience.” Last year I led a series of classes on women’s spirituality and one of the questions we addressed was, “how do you feel when you are standing in your personal power? When do you feel like you are standing in your personal power.” While it is great that I experienced such powerful births, I was saddened slightly to discover when answering this question myself, that essentially the only personal power moments I could come up with were in giving birth. What about the rest of my life?! (On my m/c blog I have written that apparently I need to get into extreme sports!) So, one of the birth thoughts on my mind lately is how do you pull that “birth power” feeling into the rest of your life? Make no mistake, my life is full and vibrant and full of good things, but that birth power feeling comes only in giving birth—maybe there is no other way to experience it?!

More Birth Quotes

Reposting some of the quotes I’ve recently shared via my Facebook page…I’m surprised by how many hits my blog gets for people looking for “birth quotes.” I think as long as I bother typing them into Facebook, I might as well then copy them here for those people searching for birth quotes to find! (Here is a link to a previous post with more birth quotes.)

“For far too many women pregnancy and birth is something that happens to them rather than something they set out consciously and joyfully to do themselves.” –Sheila Kitzinger

“Labor is all about finding your threshold and learning you can go beyond it.” –Father quoted in the book Fathers at Birth

“Wise women mean a spicier, more interesting world, not guided simply by linear reasoning and accomplishment, but by intuition, internal self-agreement and fiece creative love.” –Sareanda Lourdes

“Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom.” –Harriette Hartigan

“I believe in the power of accurate information to help women make the wisest choices for themselves.” – Judy Norsigian

“Humanity cannot invent a drug that can work better than a mother’s body can manufacture or a knife that is sharper than her instinctual nature.” –Patrick Houser

“It has been said that if each of us went out into the world tomorrow and shared our love with two people, ‘such that they got it, and they in turn went out the next day and shared it with two more…following that progression, in less than… 33 days we would reach the entire planet.’ *Thirty-three days*. It begins at the beginning. At birth. A peaceful birth, where there are no hunters and no game.” –Nancy Wainer

“Let parents know that they don’t need special techniques and gadgets to give birth safely and happily. Make sure to communicate to every mother you help, that she has all the essential ingredients for a safe, healthy birth within herself. …A womb, a baby, a vagina, and a few warm pieces of fabric make an excellent, complete birth kit.” –Laura Morgan

“Women’s bodies have their own wisdom, and a system of birth refined over 100,000 generations is not so easily overpowered.” –Sarah Buckley

Awakening Your Birth Power

25_ways_to_awaken_your_birth_power

“If you have heard enough birth ‘war stories,’ advice, and medical information…

If you are beginning to doubt yourself and to feel confused and worried about giving birth…

It is time to focus on something simple, positive and inspirational.

It is time to come back to center and listen to your own inner wisdom.

It is time to Awaken your Birth Power.”

I recently received a copy of the book and CD set 25 Ways to Awaken Your Birth Power, by Danette Watson and Stephanie Corkhill Hyles. The book is a collection of 25 short breathing meditations each accompanied by a beautiful (and sort of whimsical) drawing. The enclosed CD has 3 tracks–the first is called “awaken your birth power for pregnancy” and consists of the relevant meditations from the book read aloud. The woman reading has a pleasant, soothing voice with a slight Australian (?) accent. The second track on the CD is “awaken your birth power for labour and birth” and consists of 48 minutes of the relevant meditations from the book read aloud. The third track is an abbreviated almost 8-minute guided meditation. This CD would be perfect to listen to while in labor. The book and its gentle illustrations is a nurturing, confidence-inspiring, birth-power-enhancing, reflective, time-out for use during pregnancy or birth.

Reading it got me thinking about ways in which women awaken their birth power during pregnancy? How did you awaken yours? I’d love to hear about it and to write more about this topic!

I reflected on the ways in which I awakened my own birth power and my sense of confidence in my own inner wisdom. Here are the ways that I came up with when considering my own pregnancies and births:

+I read like a maniac :-) During my second pregnancy, I read a lot of literature about unassisted birth–though I didn’t have an unassisted birth (my midwife was there for 5 minutes of my son’s birth), I found the philosophies of unassisted birthers to be very inspiring.

+I maintained a daily yoga practice that included affirmations about my ability to give birth.

+I had specific dreams that reinforced my confidence.

+I journaled daily.

+I created birth art–needle felted birth goddess sculptures during my first pregnancy. Later, I drew womb labyrinth drawings–the labyrinth is a powerful metaphor for birth and I really connect with it. There are pictures of both of these on a very neglected other blog of mine.

+I talked extensively with my very birth positive friends–no horror stories from them!

+I formed my personal philosophy about birth and its role as a sacred rite of passage.

+My mother had a blessing way ceremony for me (with both my pregnancies) that made feel special and also confident and secure.

+The materials and philosophy on the Trust Birth website. I love their “what we believe” statement. It gives me chills!

+The book Birthing from Within–one of my all-time favorite birth books and a great birth power resource.

Nothing really worried me about my second birth or my ability to do so. I feel like I had a deep and true  and physical sense of confidence and trust in birth. During my second pregnancy, it became a *knowing* for me that I was a capable birth giver. I had complete trust in my body and my baby. With my first pregnancy, I remembering feeling like I was studying for the biggest test of my life–I did not yet have the deep and true sense that developed during my second pregnancy (actually, I think  developed as I read voraciously during the interim between my pregnancies). I also earned my certification as a childbirth educator during the interim between births and that also increased my confidence.

I attended a performance of Birth, the play, in St. Louis last weekend. While there, I picked up one of ICAN‘s flyers called “ICAN Birth” (sponsored by Hypnobabies). I think the flyer is an excellent resource for awakening your birth power, particularly the back panel with a list of things that, “if you were my sister, I’d tell you…” I’m going to order a bunch to give away in my class packets.

How do you awaken your birth power?

Birth Quotes

I’ve been periodically posting various birth quotes to my Talk Birth Facebook page. Then, I realized I should also be collecting them into a post where they will last a little longer and be enjoyed by more people! I think I will just keep updating this post as I add quotes, but I may make multiple shorter posts or otherwise sub-categorize them to make them easier to follow.

“…labor is not about dilation. Your body knows how to give birth whether or not you ever have a pelvic exam during labor. Birthing women need encouragement to trust their bodies, and to be the stars of their own labors…”

The Doula Guide to Birth


“The empowerment of laboring women, not the management of childbirth by means of painkillers, leads to satisfactory birth experiences.”

Research conclusion by Belgian scientists in 2007

I received a comment on this quote that is very true: “Satisfactory is the wrong word. Spiritual, beautiful, peaceful, wonderful, mind blowing, amazing, phenomenal…. any of those would be better!” My response is Absolutely! I would say powerful, transformative, beautiful, and empowering :)

“In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves.”

Everyday Blessings

“The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.”

Heather McCue

“You will find it incredible that labor gets stronger and stronger–and you do, too.”

The Doula Guide to Birth

“You do not have to be a particularly strong or brave or relaxed woman to get through labor. You just need to be a woman.”

The Big Book of Birth

“It is not ‘ladylike’ to give birth. The strength and power of labor is not demure.”

An Easier Childbirth (quoting a midwife)

“Women are strong, strong, terribly strong. We don’t know how strong until we’re pushing out our babies.”

Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay’s Dance

“Women around the world and throughout time have known how to take care of each other in birth. They’ve shown each other the best positions for comfort in labor, they’ve used nurturing touch and repeated soothing words, and they’ve literally held each other up when it’s needed the most…”

The Doula Guide to Birth

“Education for birth consists not, as some would have it, of ‘conditioning,’ but aims at giving a woman the means by which she can express her own personality creatively in childbirth.”

Sheila Kitzinger

“A self-determined birth is a potent symbol of womanly power, of human courage, of loving compassion, even of ecological holism. It may look like childbirth educators are just showing charts and teaching relaxation, but we are also helping to create a gentle atmosphere in which personal and cultural transformation can take place.”

ALACE CBE Manual

Birth as Maximum Power

I’ve shared quotes about birth and power before and here is another good one. Someone on the ever-fabulous Independent Childbirth group shared it today:

“Today the old images and models of childbearing are giving place to a new model.  There is a growing groundswell of awareness that birth is a point of maximum power for women.”


Emmett E. Miller, M.D.

Feeling Powerful

As I’ve mentioned before, I love collecting quotes about birth. This is a great one about power and birth from Christiane Northrup:

“Imagine what might happen if the majority of women emerged from their labor beds with a renewed sense of the strength and power of their bodies and their capacity for ecstasy through giving birth. When enough women realize that birth is a time of great opportunity to get in touch with their true power, and then they are willing to assume responsibility for this, we will reclaim the power of birth and help move technology where it belongs–-in the service of birthing women, not as their master.”

—Christiane Northrup MD

I found this on the Birthing Utopia blog.

On an unrelated note, I absolutely LOVE the glass pendants available from Family Tree Glass. I bought several of the birthy belly pendants at the LLLI conference in Chicago in 2007. Since then, the artist has started making wonderful family pendants and also slinging mama pendants that are just phenomenally beautiful. I love them so much. My birthday is coming up. Perhaps my husband will read this and take a hint…;-)

What’s at the root?

On a discussion board this week in the birth professionals section (doulas, midwives, birth educators), someone asked the question “what’s at the root of your love of birth?” I was still for a moment and let my intuitive, heart-felt, gut level response come to me and it was this:

Women.

Women’s health, women’s issues, women’s empowerment, women’s rights.

Social justice.

…..

And, that feeling. The “birth power” feeling–that laughing/crying, euphoric, climbed-the-mountain, glowing, rapture…feeling. The transformative, empowering, triumphant, powerful, I DID IT, feeling.

I want all women to have the chance to experience that.

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As I look at my list above and invert it, it becomes my “tree” of birthwork–with women as the root and then spreading up to blossom with that birth-power-feeling. :)

To any birth professionals reading this, how about you? What’s at the root for you?