Fill your body with this breath
expand your heart with this message
you are such a good mother.
Choosing to move beyond the painful disconnections of our culture, I do my best to support the breastfeeding mothers I meet. Our world must move beyond separating baby from mother, self from breath, and bodies from hearts.
–Amy Wright Glenn, In praise of breast milk.
I remain firmly convinced that the way we treat women in the birthplace reflects an overall cultural attitude towards women in general. I believe that peace on earth begins with birth. I believe that we can change the world with the way we greet new babies and celebrate new mothers and see the deep, never-ending work of parenting our children. I believe in rising for justice and I keep vigil in my heart every day for women around the world.
–Molly Remer, Rise for Justice
Birth doula work is not about double hip squeezes. It isn’t about birth plans. Birth doulaing at its heart is a spiritual path that will rip away your narcissism and your selfishness. It will restructure your values and strengthen your compassion and empathy for all people through pain and humility. It is about learning how to BE in the presence of conflict and the human experience of living at its most raw and gut wrenching…
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)
hands open to receive
she’s finding her way
she’s finding her way…
…all those tasks and interactions of motherhood, a day full of which might make you feel you’ve ‘gotten nothing done’ because you’ve been in the cycle of care, are the heart and soul of the best brain building possible.
–Lauren Lindsey Porter
Magic mama. She who transforms body and blood into milk. Into life. Into the heartsong of another. Maternal sacrament. Shared freely. Flowing sweetly. Uniting. This thoroughly embodied stuff of motherhood. This physical commitment. This body-based vow to our young. She holds her baby. And she holds the world.
Mammal mama. Liquid love. Cellular vow. Unbreakable, biological web of life and loving.
She’s just feeding her baby. Is she? Or is she healing the planet at the very same time?
Open hearts, strong hands. Be present, listen, feel her, trust your instincts. And remember–I have birthed my children…she will birth this child her way, with her power, be with her and let her feel your faith in her.
The regular old birth books and charts of fetal development and nutrition facts and birth plan worksheets didn’t cut it anymore (do they ever?). I had the same experience in teaching birth classes–yes, I could cover stages of labor and birth positions, but what about the heart of birth. What about the “mystery”? What about those unknown lessons in excavating one’s own depths? What about that part of birth and life that only she knows?
–Molly Remer via Sacred Pregnancy Week 1, Part 1: Sacred Space
…birth, if she has her way, happens below the head. In the end, fantasies and images from the stories a woman holds in her heart are what emerge with power…
–Sister MorningStar (The Power of Women)
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)
A doula gives from the heart to help another woman discover what birth and life are really all about.
…Like other involuntary processes, we cannot consciously control pregnancy and birth unless we physically intervene. Did you need to learn how to make your heart beat? How to breathe? How to digest your food? How to produce hormones?…You don’t have to do anything to make these processes work. You can support them, or you can intervene, but they will happen all on their own. You can trust them.
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)
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…
Expectant mothers need to be mothered; their hearts need to be infused with love, confidence, and determination. I now see myself as ‘midwife’ to the gestation and birth of women as mothers.
–Pam England (Birthing from Within)
Listening to your heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to get to know who you are and what you want.
Understanding birth technology shouldn’t lull you into thinking you understand birth. The profound mystery and spirituality of birth can never be understood with the mind, they are known through the heart…
…fear has to be present in order for courage to exist. The English word ‘courage’ is derived from the French word for the heart, coeur. Finding the heart to continue doing the right thing in the face of great fear inspires others to become nobler human beings.
~ Gloria Lemay