Birth Quotes of the Month

As always, while these quotes are obviously not my own words, I do appreciate a link back 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.

“The first few months after a baby comes can be a lot like floating in a jar of honey—very sweet and golden, but very sticky too.” –American College of Nurse-Midwives

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

“There is nobody, out the other side of that sort of strong birth, who is not better prepared to meet the absolutely remarkable challenges of parenthood. When the power and trust is transferred to the mother, when she delivers her child, rather than ‘is delivered’ when she chooses, rather than ‘is allowed’, no matter what sort of technical birth she has, she is stronger, fiercer, and better. After a trip like that, you would kill for that child, and you know you can.” —The Yarn Harlot

Why do birth work? “I do it, because nothing else… nothing else, compares to watching a woman move mountains with her own self, to watching her rise to a challenge and meet the moment with all she has, and that experience is only enhanced when she is supported by those who care for her, respect her, and want her to be empowered by the journey.” –The Yarn Harlot

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

“Birth Freedom is inevitable. The natural progression is for people to move from tyranny to liberty. The agents of the status quo, however, rarely yield power without a fight.” –Senator John Loudon (ret.) in Midwifery Today e-news

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde

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

“Woman is a glorious possibility; the future of the world is hers.” – Matilda Gage

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~Albert Schweitzer

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

“Don’t you dare, for one more second, surround yourself with people who are not aware of the greatness that you are.” (Roots of She by Amanda Oaks, via @ROAR! Empowering Women to Give Voice to Their Truth)

“We all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls.” -Robert R. McGammon

“It’s hard to describe if you’ve never been there, but to watch a woman access her full power as a woman to give birth is awe-inspiring, and I never get tired of being witness to it. It’s an honor to watch that transformation take place.” ~ Julie Bates, CNM

“The emerging woman..will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-souled, and strong-bodied…strength and beauty must go together.” ~Louisa May Alcott

“We must relearn to trust the feminine, to trust women and their bodies as authoritative regarding the children they carry and the way they must birth them.” –Elizabeth Davis, CPM

“The women in labor must have NO STRESS placed upon her. She must be free to move about, walk, rock, go to the bathroom by herself, lie on her side or back, squat or kneel, or anything she finds comfortable, without fear of being scolded or embarrassed. Nor is there any need for her to be either ‘quiet’ or ‘good.’ What is a ‘good’ patient? One who does whatever she is told—who masks all the stresses she is feeling? Why can she not cry, or laugh, or complain?” –Grantly Dick Read, Childbirth without Fear

“The purpose of life is not to maintain personal comfort; it’s to grow the soul.” –Christina Baldwin

“Everyone who interacts with a pregnant woman is, in some way, her ‘teacher.’ Telling birth stories, sharing resources, imparting obstetrical information, giving advice or warnings—these are all direct or indirect ways of teaching about birth and parenting. Whether you currently identify yourself as a ‘childbirth teacher,’ or you are a midwife, doctor, doula, yoga teacher, nurse, therapist, breastfeeding counselor, or you are simply a woman or man who cares about the power of the childbearing year, you already hold the power of mentoring within you.” –Pam England

“The purpose of our lives is to give birth to the best which is within us.” –Marianne Williamson

“There is no single formula for motherhood and writing that suits us all. Instead, there are many paths on this literary journey, all leading to the same destination, each equally valuable.” – Elif Shafak

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

“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

“Midwives often forget that our beliefs in [mom’s] abilities can alter her accomplishments. It is important to check our hearts and push through any lack of belief that may inhibit her strengths. This may sound silly or ethereal, but I guarantee it can make a difference for a laboring mom and family.” ~ Carol Gautschi (Midwifery Today)

“Hormones have a kind of crazy rhythm that you can trust. Behind them is internal intelligence; try listening instead of controlling. When hormones are ‘raging,’ they exaggerate what’s already going on internally as a signal for us to pay attention and learn from it.” –Camille Maurine (Meditation Secrets for Women)

“Since the release of adrenaline is highly contagious, the main preoccupation of an authentic midwife, after the paradigm shift, will be to maintain her own level of adrenaline as low as possible when she is close to a labouring woman. Midwives of the future will also need to train themselves to remain silent, since language is the most powerful stimulant of the neocortex. The silent knitting session will be a necessary step towards an understanding of what authentic midwifery is. We present it as the symbol of a vital new phase in the history of childbirth and midwifery.” –Michel Odent (in Midwifery Today)

“Sons branch out, but one woman leads to another.” –Margaret Atwood (quoted in Sacred Circles)

“We can no longer sit back and debate whether maternity care is evidence-based. We have seen that over and over again, in most cases, it is not…” –Connie Livingston

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, together women ought to be able to turn it rightside up again.” –Sojourner Truth

“The intrinsic intelligence of women’s bodies can be sabotaged when they’re put into clinical settings, surrounded by strangers, and attached to machines that limit their freedom to move. They then risk falling victim to the powerful forces of fear, loneliness, doubt , and distrust, all of which increase pain. Their hopes for a normal birth disappear as quickly as the fluid in an IV bottle.” ~Peggy Vincent

“The problem is not that obstetricians are surgeons. They are. The problem is that society has invested surgeons with control over normal childbirth.” –Michael Klein, MD (in The Journal of Perinatal Education)

“Perhaps the greatest gift that women can give their daughters is to take precious care of their own lives—to develop their natural talents and to honor the opportunities that come their way. By so doing, they become vital models for their children as well as full women in their own right.” ~ Evelyn Bassoff

“When one woman puts her experiences into words, another woman who has kept silent, afraid of what others will think, can find validation. And when the second woman says aloud, ‘yes, that was my experience too,’ the first woman loses some of her fear.” –Carol Christ

“Befriend fear, embrace struggle, trust nature, the process, and a baby’s wisdom.” –WYSH (Wear Your Spirit for Humanity see also

“Thousands of women today have had their babies born under modern humanitarian conditions–they are the first to disclaim any knowledge of the beauties of childbirth…” –Grantly Dick Read, Childbirth without Fear

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” –Audre Lorde

“Not only do I trust my body, I am in awe of all it can do. I don’t know if I will ever be able to accomplish anything as marvelous as birthing and nursing two babies. That is more amazing to me than running a marathon or climbing a mountain. I have created and nurtured life; nothing tops that. ” ~ Corbin Lewars (via Midwifery Today)

“Humanizing birth means understanding that the woman giving birth is a human being, not a machine and not just a container for making babies. Showing women—half of all people—that they are inferior and inadequate by taking away their power to give birth is a tragedy for all society.” –Marsden Wagner

“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.” – E. M. Forster

“The strength that is displayed in labor and birth is something that no one can EVER take from you in your life. Elixir of courage.” –Desirre Andrews

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