And What’s This? More Birth Quotes!

I decided to split my most recent Facebook quote sharing into two posts, because it was becoming overwhelmingly long. These are the quotes I’ve shared on the Citizens for Midwifery Facebook page since April. While I realize that I don’t “own” these quotes—other people said them, not me!—I do have quite a bit of legwork invested in seeking and sharing these quotes (I mostly get them from my own reading) and if you re-post one or more of them on your own Facebook page, blog post, or book, I really appreciate acknowledgement and/or link back to this site or to my FB page, that this is where you originally got the quote!

‎”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

“It is a curious commentary on our society that we tolerate all degrees of explicitness in our literature and mass media as regards sex and violence, but the normal act of breastfeeding is taboo.” – American Academy of Pediatrics (via Baby Bloom Doula Service)

“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

“Attempting to fulfill an idea of the ‘perfect’ mother can only prove soul-destroying, as no such person exists.” –Adela Stockton

“In the sheltered simplicity of the first days after a baby is born, one sees again the magical closed circle, the miraculous sense of two people existing only for each other.” –Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Giving birth is an experience carried not only into the first days of motherhood but also throughout life, having far-reaching effects on the mother’s self-esteem and confidence.” –Gayle Peterson

‎”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)

“…advocates of home birth have never suggested that *all* women should give birth at home, only that it is a reasonable choice for some women. Given that rather modest claim, the force and vehemence with which home birth is opposed by ACOG seems out of all proportion.” –Elizabeth Armstrong (Princeton University)

“Few healthy, low-risk mothers require technology-intensive care…Yet…the typical childbirth experience has been transformed into a morass of wires, tubes, machines and medications that leave healthy women immobilized, vulnerable to high levels of surgery and burdened with physical and emotional health concerns…” –Maureen Corry (quoted in Lamaze International‘s journal)

“At a time when Mother Nature prescribes awe and ecstasy, we have injections, examinations, and [cord] clamping… Instead of body heat and skin to skin contact, we have separation…Where time should stand still for those eternal moments of first contact as mother and baby fall deeply in love, we have haste to deliver  the placenta and clean up for the next ‘case.'” –Sarah Buckley

“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” – Marianne Williamson

“…celebrate ourselves for our courage to birth. The real question becomes not, ‘Have you done your breathing exercises?’ but rather, ‘Can you love yourself no matter how you birth, where you birth, or what the outcome?'” –Claudia Panuthos

“Whenever a woman has a problem, I believe that she herself can find the answer, provided she is given adequate information and support. I firmly believe in women’s strength and resourcefulness; I’ve witnessed these time and again. Women care about the continuation and continuity of life; they are intrigued by relationships, how things fit together.” –Elizabeth Davis

“Deep relaxation, surrender, letting go: when midwives are asked to disclose the secret of giving birth with relative ease, these are the words we choose. More than metaphors for coping, these responses are based on physiological imperatives…” –Elizabeth Davis

“The greatest joy is to become a mother; the second greatest is to be a midwife.” –Norwegian Proverb

‎”Brick walls eventually crumble precisely because people keep busting their heads against them.” –Barbara Wilson-Clay (IBCLC)

“Some midwives pull women up the hill and say I will get you through this. Other midwives walk behind quietly and gently say, ‘I believe in you.'” -Patricia M. Couch (via Wellpregnancy Childbirth Educator Trainings and Childbirth Classes)

‎”In our own world today, motherhood is rarely sufficiently honored. One day each year, there are brunches and corsages and little gifts of love. But the rest of the time? As a culture, we do not respect the great gift of mothering. Women’s work in raising the next generation is taken for granted. Yet it is a vital service to humanity, one that deserves to be acknowledged continually.” –Patricia Monaghan

‎”Becoming a mother does not need to rob you of your selfhood. Stay away from martyrdom. Martyrs never make good mothers; what is gained in giving is taken away in guilt.” –Gayle Peterson

“The midwife cannot be skilled without being caring. She cannot be truly caring without being skilled.” –Sheila Kitzinger

“The two most beautiful sights I have witnessed in my life are a full blown ship at sail and the round-bellied pregnant female.” –Benjamin Franklin

“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

“…in a time lacking in truth and uncertainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.” –Louise Bogan

“If the baby’s body is a joy and a delight in the mother’s arms, that same body will become a joy and a delight to its owner later on.” –English & Pearson

“Even if I am simply one more woman laying one more brick in the foundation of a new and more humane world, it is enough to make me rise eagerly from my bed each morning and face the challenge of breaking the historic silence that has held women captive for so long.” –Judy Chicago

“Children are the power and the beauty of the future. Like tiny falcons we can release their hearts and minds, and send them soaring, gathering the air to their wings…” –Skip Berry

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might  not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.”- Zora  Neale Hurston (via Literary Mama)

“That they can strengthen through the empowerment of others is essential wisdom often gathered by women. “—Mary Field Belenky (via Applaud Women)

“Since beliefs affect physiologic functions, how women and men discuss the process of pregnancy and birth can have a negative or positive effect on the women that are involved in the discussion. Our words are powerful and either reinforce or undermine the power of women and their bodies.” –Debra Bingham (I was inspired to share this quote today by a conversation with Kerry Tuschhoff 🙂

“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

“When a man is truly ‘present’ for the birth of his child and allows himself to be touched by the mystery unfolding before his eyes, he will have an unquestionable experience that can catapult him into the next phase of his development as a mature human being. His encounter with the power of birth…can connect him to his partner and his child in ways that sustain him for the rest of his life.” –John Franklin

“When he becomes a father, a man leaves behind his life as a single individual and expands into a more inclusive role. He becomes a link in an unbroken chain. And in doing so, he himself undergoes a birth process–the birth of himself as a father.” –John Franklin (FatherBirth)

‎”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)

“Pregnancy and labor are periods of vulnerability. This vulnerability is not weakness, but softness, which later contributes to adjustment to motherhood. Feeling dependent may open you to your need for help, and the ability to accept help from others can increase your strength and endurance for labor. Each of us must come to terms with our own feminine strength and our need for protection.” –Gayle Peterson (An Easier Childbirth)

“Labor is also teamwork. It is a mother and baby learning together how to push and how to be born, how to yield and separate from the union of pregnancy. You are not in control nor are you out of control during labor. The best way to approach labor is with an attitude of learning rather than controlling.” –Gayle Peterson (An Easier Childbirth)

“Midwifery calls upon you to be the best you can be: the best advocate, guide, healer, counselor, mother, comrade, and confidant of the women seeking your care.”— Anne Frye

“The birth of a baby is the birth of family. Myriad births take place at once: Women become mothers, husbands become fathers, daughters become sisters, and sons become brothers. One birth ripples through generations, creating subtle shifts and rearrangements in the family web.” –Gayle Peterson

“The family’s trust in the midwife and the midwife’s trust in the competence of the family members are the basis of caring that has the power of magic.” ~ Mary C. Howell (from Midwifery Today e-news)

“Birth is not a cerebral event; it is a visceral-holistic process which requires all of your self–body, heart, emotion, mind, spirit.” –Baraka Bethany Elihu (Birthing Ourselves into Being)

“Fear is completely intertwined with what we experience as labor pain…And it is the fear in our physicians and nurses as much as the fear within ourselves.” –Suzanne Arms (Immaculate Deception II)

“There is no place for ideology in birthing. Each birth has its own story and we must respond to what the baby tells us.” –Spinning (via Kelly Caldwell)

I do think there is a place for ideologies/philosophies about birth and as guides for humane care/practice and as guides for making prenatal care and birth care decisions (before the birth), but in the actual moment, release of attachment is often necessary.

“To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and undoubtedly inhabited.” ~Anne Buchanan (via CAPPA)

“Your doc/friend/mother-in-law may be saying, ‘Don’t be a hero, get the epidural!’ But this isn’t about heroics, this is about protecting your body…” –Jennifer Block (via @Spirited Doula Services)

“Giving birth in ecstasy: This is our birthright and our body’s intent. Mother Nature, in her wisdom, prescribes birthing hormones that take us outside (ec) our usual state (stasis), so that we can be transformed on every level as we enter motherhood.” –Sarah Buckley

“The mystery of life and birth is a profound invitation to be authentic as you trust and tremble your way through labor’s Gates of doubt and fear. It is possible that you will become more intuitive during labor than at any other time…Allow your body to guide you in your breathing, in your unique movement, in knowing …what to do…even when you don’t know what to do.” –Pam England (The Labyrinth of Birth)

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman (via Midwifery Today e-news)

“Midwives can create a spirit of beauty at a birth or they can desecrate it. They can create a sacred space around a birthing woman that drives out fear & inspires the mother’s belief in herself, which ultimately determines the outcome of the birth. Midwives can be a channel of Grace in ways they never imagined & in doing so they create a spirit of reverence. Reverence in these days and times is not a common thing.” Caroline Wise, Birthing with Reverence (Midwifery Today)

Re: “advice” for someone who is pregnant: “…if you know that you are pregnant and if you know when you conceived your baby and you think that everything’s okay, doctors can probably do nothing for you. Women need to realize that the role of medicine in pregnancy is very limited…What’s important is for a mom-to-be to be happy, to eat well, to adapt her lifestyle to her pregnancy, to do whatever she likes to do…I think that’s what we have to explain to women. They have to realize that doctors have very limited power.” –Michel Odent (in Optimal Birth)

3 thoughts on “And What’s This? More Birth Quotes!

  1. Pingback: And What's This? More Birth Quotes! « Talk Birth | James Seay Positive Results

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