Woman is by nature a shaman. - Chuckee Proverb
Giving conscious birth is woman's vision quest... It is ultimate sadhana (spiritual practice) which requires purity in strength, flexibility, health, concentration, surrender and faith. - Jeannine Parvati Baker, Traditional Midwife and Yogi
A mother on her birthing journey who is treated with integrity, provided evidence based care, and given the space, time, support and opportunity to birth optimally...enters a trance like state. She may engage in primal movement, vocal toning (deep, loud "OM's" typically). She finds her rhythm and creates rituals. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing switches on her parasympathetic nervous system- slowing down her brain waves and relaxing mind and body so that she can enter The Birth Zone. Oxytocin and endorphins, the hormones of labor, flow freely. Her innate intelligence/ancestral wisdom kicks in and this will light her way. She midwifes herself and brings her baby earthside.
Shamanic birth is the template. It is simple, straightforward and soulful.
The scene I described above should be the template for normal birth, but these days it seems to be the exception. Why is that? I think it's because many (if not most) women and medical care providers have never considered the idea that birth can be ecstatic, joyous, MOTHER DIRECTED, spontaneous, physiological, orgasmic, holy, sacred, magical. It's crucial that you know the potentialities that birth holds. As Barbara Katz Rothman said: "If you don't know your options, you don't have any." One of those options is a birth that is completely free of trauma and drama. Now, what could stand in the way of that?
If you are a labor and delivery nurse, OB/GYN, Midwife, doula, etc. and do not regularly bear witness to normal, physiological, spontaneous births or optimal outcomes, you may want to ask yourself: How am I unintentionally interfering with birth? Why do so many of my clients need to be rescued with medical interventions? Am I offering the birthing mother everything she needs to give birth optimally (food, water, support, optimal environment, privacy)? Could I be unwittingly creating pathology? Are women's bodies just prone to spontaneous, unexplainable malfunctioning, or are these complications iatrogenic in nature? Am I practicing the latest and best evidence based medicine?
If you are a pregnant woman, I have questions for you, too:
Do you see yourself:
Do you believe:
A conscious birth DOES NOT hinge on choice of care provider, birthing location, or method of delivery. It doesn’t “look” any particular way. There’s no blueprint. There’s no exact formula, or list of criteria to meet. But it is good to meditate on the questions above, because what you believe to be true about birth will profoundly influence how your birth proceeds; perhaps it is even the determining factor. The story you tell yourself about how women are “supposed” to give birth will impact every facet of your own birthing... (or, if you are a medical provider, this will profoundly affect how you view / treat women in labor). Your thought and beliefs create every moment of your reality, and exploring your Birth Beliefs is essential inner work. Take the time to shine a light on your fears, worries, concerns, hopes, dreams and desires so you can give with in awareness and with loving intention.
Gentle Sister: Please know that conscious, self directed birthing provides the opportunity for you to:
“Preparing yourself for a conscious birth is an invaluable gift to your child. You are offering your child a loving entrance into this world through your own body. Your effort to be awake and aware during birthing sets the stage for your child to be awake and aware… Set your intention for a sensitive, conscious birth; prepare yourself and your environments, give your very best…” - Yogi Bhajan