New Quotes About Birth, Motherhood, Activism, and Women

I have a LOT of new quotes to add to my collection! I’ve got to start updating more frequently. As I’ve mentioned before that while these quotes are obviously not my own words, I do appreciate a linkback to my site if you re-post them because I have a significant amount of legwork invested in finding and typing the quotes. Most are not recycled from other pages (I give credit if they are), but are typed up when they catch my eye in the books/magazines/journals I’m reading.

‎”Women experience pain differently; some feel strong overwhelming pain, some may feel a deep discomfort during birth, and still others may feel no pain at all. The experience of pain during childbirth facilitates an unfolding of inner power and resources we never imagined we possessed, similar to enduring the pain of completing a marathon at the finish line.” –Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, API founders

(I do wish the analogy was flipped culturally–ie running a marathon is like giving birth, rather than vice versa. We’ll get there!)

“For months I just looked at you. I wondered about all the mothers before me–if they looked at their babies the way I looked at you. In an instant I knew what moved humankind from continent to continent, Against all odds.” –Michelle Singer (in We’Moon 2011 datebook)

“I use the word midwife to refer to all birth practitioners. Whether you are a mother, doula, educator, or understanding doctor or nurse you are doing midwifery when you care for motherbaby.” –Midwifery Today editorial by Jan Tritten

“Change, when it comes, cracks everything open.” ~Dorothy Allison

“I invite people to examine their lives, knowing that it’s scary, but that not doing it is even scarier.” – Barbara De Angelis

‎”There isn’t a lot you actually *need* to do to birth, but there is a lot you can do to get in the *way* of birth…” –Elizabeth McKeown

‎”Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” –Marion C. Garretty

‎”In western society, the baby gets attention while the mother is given lectures. Pregnancy is considered an illness; once the ‘illness’ is over, interest in her wanes. Mothers in ‘civilized’ countries often have no or very little help with a new baby. Women tend to be home alone to fend for themselves and the children. They are typically isolated socially & expected to complete their usual chores…while being the sole person to care for the infant…” –Milk, Money, & Madness

 “I have discovered nothing more stunning, nothing more emotionally stirring, nothing more intriguing than a woman as she creates life.” –Patrick Stull

‎”My first delivery was a traumatic experience, physically and psychologically almost destroying me. My second, with a midwife, allowed me to regain my womanhood and experience my biological imperative. And yet, I would do them both over again to have what I created.” –mother quoted in the book Evolve, by Patrick Stull

‎”Too often in modern busy obstetric practice, we doctors forget this meaningfulness of childbirth. In our anxiety and impatience, or in our sincere, but misguided efforts to relieve suffering (and childbirth is not without it), we relieve a woman not only of this suffering, but also of her ‘birth right.'” ~John Miller, MD, Childbirth via Citizens for Midwifery

‎”Too often in modern busy obstetric practice, we doctors forget this meaningfulness of childbirth. In our anxiety and impatience, or in our sincere, but misguided efforts to relieve suffering (and childbirth is not without it), we relieve a woman not only of this suffering, but also of her ‘birth right.'” ~John Miller, MD, Childbirth

 “A woman’s confidence and ability to give birth and to care for her baby are enhanced or diminished by every person who gives her care, and by the environment in which she gives birth…Every women should have the opportunity to give birth as she wishes in an environment in which she feels nurtured and secure, and her emotional well-being, privacy, and personal preferences are respected.” –Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS)

‎”Aside from new babies, new mothers must be the most beautiful creatures on earth.” ~Terri Guillemets

‎”It’s a good day not to judge anything – not myself, not others, not the world. Let us just be.” ~ Sonia Choquette

‎”We’re volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. New mountains form” – Ursula Le Guin

‎”Be wild; that is how to clear the river.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes

‎”I believe global transformation hangs on the empowerment of women.” –Vajra Ma

‎”Grace reveals to you a great mothering love that you can step into, that’s been here before you and will be here after you. Grace will be with you as you open your arms, as you release your children and send them out into the world. If you listen carefully, you can hear grace whispering its thanks to you for being a mother to these souls.” –Denise Roy (Momfulness)

‎”No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” – Emma Goldman

‎”A person who believes too earnestly in [her] own convictions can be dangerous to others, for absence of humor signals a failure in basic humanity.” –Thomas Moore (Original Self)

 “There is a sacredness in tears. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” –Washington Irving

‎”It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglass

‎”No mammal on this planet separates the newborn from its mother at birth except the human animal. No mammal on this planet denies the breast of the newborn except the human.” –James Prescott (neuropsychologist quoted in The Art of Conscious Parenting)

‎”Every society practices the birthing ceremonies that best mirror its values, norms, and philosophy.” –Gregory Bateson (quoted in The Art of Conscious Parenting)

‎”The world can only value mothering to the extent that women everywhere stand and declare that it must be so.” –Oprah

‎”Motherhood focused my early political consciousness. It helped me understand how the choices I make in my personal life are linked to those I make on a larger scale.” –Wendy Priesnitz

‎”There is a wild tiger in every woman’s heart. Its hot and holy breath quietly, relentlessly feeding her.” – Chameli Ardagh

 “The state of the world today demands that women become less modest and dream/plan/act/risk on a larger scale.” – Charlotte Bunch

‎”Prenatal care of the future will be guided by a [this rule]: “Eat sardines, be happy…and sing!” –Michel Odent

‎”If you are going to generalize about women, you’ll find yourself up to here in exceptions.” – Dolores Hitchens

‎”If we can mobilize the mothering instinct in all of us, we could save the planet. It is inappropriate to be dispassionate right now.” –Helen Caldicott (1981) in Momfulness

‎”There’s something contagious about demanding freedom.” – Robin Morgan

‎”Remember our heritage is our power; we can know ourselves and our capacities by seeing that other women have been strong.” – Judy Chicago

“For months I just looked at you. I wondered about all the mothers before me–if they looked at their babies the way I looked at you. In an instant I knew what moved humankind from continent to continent, Against all odds.” –Michelle Singer (in We’Moon 2011 datebook)

‎”I use the word midwife to refer to all birth practitioners. Whether you are a mother, doula, educator, or understanding doctor or nurse you are doing midwifery when you care for motherbaby.” –Midwifery Today editorial by Jan Tritten

“Change, when it comes, cracks everything open.” – Dorothy Allison

“I invite people to examine their lives, knowing that it’s scary, but that not doing it is even scarier.” – Barbara De Angelis”There isn’t a lot you actually *need* to do to birth, but there is a lot you can do to get in the *way* of birth…” –Elizabeth McKeown

‎”Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” –Marion C. Garretty

‎”As a woman, you are powerful. Birth is of course only one of many amazing pieces of being female, but it is unique in some very key ways…it is a time in a woman’s life that requires physical, spiritual, and emotional strength. It tests the foundation of who we believe we are as women, and challenges our beliefs about our own power.” –Marcie Macari (She Births)

‎”And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.” – Black Elk (via Literary Mama)

‎”We must act to keep the knowledge and the powers of women alive.” – Lynn Andrews

‎”Doctors ‘know’ they are giving women ‘the best care’…Birth activists…know that this ‘best care’ is too often a travesty of what birth can be. And yet on that existential brink, I tremble at the birth activist’s coding of women as ‘not knowing.’ So, here’s to women…to women knowing what is best for themselves and their babies, and to women rising above everything else.” -Robbie Davis-Floyd

 “The natural process of birth sets the stage for parenting. Birth and parenting mirror each other. While it takes courage and strength to cope with labor and birth, it also takes courage and strength to parent a child.” –Marcy White

“For each of us as women, there is a deep place within, where hidden and growing our true spirit rises…Within these deep places, each one holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman’s place of power within each of us…it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.” –Audre Lorde

‎”Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.” –Brian Andreas (quoted in Momfulness)

‎”Your children love you. Be the trampoline for their rocketing and the cupped palms for their returning.” –Shae Savoy (in We’Moon 2011 datebook)

‎”Birth should not be a celebration of separation, but rather a reuniting of mother and baby, who joins her for an external connection.” –Barbara Latterner, in New Lives

‎”When you bring consciousness to anything, things begin to shift.”–Eve Ensler

‎”Birth is a time we need to believe in – and need those around us to trust and encourage – our bodies, our power.” –Choices in Childbirth blog

‎”Scientific medicine has never been shy to dismiss if not denigrate any perceived threat to its values or power.” –from the book Breakthrough: How the 10 Greatest Discoveries in Medicine Saved Millions and Saved the World

‎”Fatherhood challenges us, but it also enlarges us and reshapes our perception of what is important in the world around us. As we take stock of this new world, we find that doing our job as a dad is inherently honorable and respectful, and brings to us the dignity that goes with the territory. Far from being emasculating, being a dad makes us men in the finest sense of the term.” –Dads Adventure

‎”Where you give birth is not nearly as important as who is there. The *human environment*–the people who surround you and your relationships with them–is what sets the tone for the birth, directly affecting its safety and success, as well as your own satisfaction.” –Jan Mallak/Teresa Bailey, Doula’s Guide to Birthing Your Way

‎”Drugs, machinery, and medical personnel are not match for a woman’s own intellect and intuition. Birth is sexual and spiritual, magical and miraculous–but not when it is managed, controlled, and manipulated by the medical establishment, or hindered by the mother’s own mind.” –Laura Shanley quoted in book Home/Birth: A Poemic

I am compelled by some deep hunger of the soul, driven by a desire that will not leave me alone, to live life to the fullest. And I know this does not mean working endlessly, accomplishing the most, or consuming the greatest amount & variety of things and experiences. It means tasting each mouthful, feeling each breath, listening to each song, being awake & aware of each moment as it unfolds. ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

‎”The expectant mother is an image of strength, power, and creativity. She is able to carry twenty to thirty or more extra pounds and still continue her daily activities. And more wonderful, she is able to bring forth a new life.” – Carl Jones

‎”Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” -Golda Meir

‎”Every birth is holy. I think a midwife must be religious because the energy she’s dealing with is holy. She needs to know that other people’s energy is sacred…By religious, I mean that compassion must be a way of life for her. Her religion has to come forth in her practice…it cannot be just theory. Truly caring for people cannot be a part-time job.” Ina May Gaskin, from The Spiritual Midwife, Mothering #8, 1978

‎”We have barely tapped the power that is ours. We are more than we know.” –Charlene Spretnak

‎”Birth always alters you. It’s a learning experience…no matter how many classes you go to, how much you practice relaxation, how many books you read, or how many prayers you put out into the universe, childbirth is beyond your control, a force of nature, like a tornado, a blizzard, or an earthquake.” –Patrician Harman (Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Memoir)

“Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate.” — Charlotte Gray (via Giving Birth with Confidence)

‎”It is not female biology that has betrayed the female…it is the stories and myths we have come to believe about ourselves.” –Glenys Livingstone

‎”In western society, the baby gets attention while the mother is given lectures. Pregnancy is considered an illness; once the ‘illness’ is over, interest in her wanes. Mothers in ‘civilized’ countries often have no or very little help with a new baby. Women tend to be home alone to fend for themselves and the children. They are typically isolated socially & expected to complete their usual chores…while being the sole person to care for the infant…” –Milk, Money, & Madness

“Women experience pain differently; some feel strong overwhelming pain, some may feel a deep discomfort during birth, and still others may feel no pain at all. The experience of pain during childbirth facilitates an unfolding of inner power and resources we never imagined we possessed, similar to enduring the pain of completing a marathon at the finish line.” –Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, API founders

“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest.The blessing is in the seed.” –Muriel Rukeyser

 “One of the most important things I have learned about birthing babies is that the process is more of an unfolding marvel than a routine progression of events.” –Tori Kropp

“There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.” ~Author Unknown

“Aside from new babies, new mothers must be the most beautiful creatures on earth.” ~Terri Guillemets (via Brio Birth)

‎”There’s nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.” – Frank A. Clark

“Grace reveals to you a great mothering love that you can step into, that’s been here before you and will be here after you. Grace will be with you as you open your arms, as you release your children and send them out into the world. If you listen carefully, you can hear grace whispering its thanks to you for being a mother to these souls.” –Denise Roy (Momfulness)

“I believe global transformation hangs on the empowerment of women.” –Vajra Ma

“Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers. We will learn them now.” – Mignon McLaughlin

‎”No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” – Emma Goldman

“A person who believes too earnestly in [her] own convictions can be dangerous to others, for absence of humor signals a failure in basic humanity.” –Thomas Moore (Original Self)

“No mammal on this planet separates the newborn from its mother at birth except the human animal. No mammal on this planet denies the breast of the newborn except the human.” –James Prescott (neuropsychologist quoted in The Art of Conscious Parenting)

(While I like this quote, the snarky part of me wants to say, no other mammal wears clothes, sleeps in a bed, drives a car, etc., etc.)

“If we can mobilize the mothering instinct in all of us, we could save the planet. It is inappropriate to be dispassionate right now.” –Helen Caldicott (1981) in Momfulness

“Parenting is a mirror in which we get to see the best of ourselves, and the worst; the richest moments of living, and the most frightening.” –Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn quoted in Momfulness

“Remember our heritage is our power; we can know ourselves and our capacities by seeing that other women have been strong.” – Judy Chicago

‎”I hear the singing of the lives of women. The clear mystery, the offering, and the pride.” – Muriel Rukeyser

“She’s turning her life into something sacred: Each breath a new birth. Each moment, a new chance. She bows her head, gathers her dreams from a pure, deep stream and stretches her arms toward the sky.” –from the journal offered for giveaway on Mamahhh

“Birthing is the most profound initiation to Spirituality a woman can have.” –Robin Lim (in She Births)

“As a woman, you are powerful. Birth is of course only one of many amazing pieces of being female, but it is unique in some very key ways…it is a time in a woman’s life that requires physical, spiritual, and emotional strength. It tests the foundation of who we believe we are as women, and challenges our beliefs about our own power.” –Marcie Macari (She Births)

“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.” –Tara Brach (in Momfulness)

“We cannot withhold facts for fear of offending because the importance of the information outweighs people’s right to not be challenged in their beliefs.” ~Maddy Reid

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” –Winston Churchill

“A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Let’s declare a permanent truce with our bodies for the sake of our daughters. Imagine with me being at home, at ease, and at peace with our bodies.” –Patricia Lynn Reilly

 “I believe that natural childbirth is a right and a privilege…Our country needs to step up to the plate in educating women about the benefits of natural birth, and we need to help women actually do it – not just hear about it.” –Mayim Bialik

“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?'” – Eve Merriam

“…undisturbed (not neglected or abandoned) birth is a powerful initiation into motherhood, not only in a physical and physiological sense, but also in an emotional and spiritual sense.” –Christina Hurst-Prager (in (ICEA) International Childbirth Education Association’s journal)

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