We need to share our birthing stories. The ones that are less about war and pain, and more about magic, miracles and possibility. Of courage, and love, and intuition.
Of what it means to be a woman, and a mother, and a soul on an intense, transformative journey.
These birth story posts are gatherings… celebrating circles of women who have experienced birthing and their sacred stories. I’m so grateful & blessed that mamas from around the globe have agreed to speak their stories to me, and to us… I want to weave a woven wicker basket of mama’s birthing stories for us all to hear in our hearts.
Today’s birthing stories are from the gorgeous Goddess Jane, artist, lover & mama of two mini-goddesses.
How did you prepare for your birth?
With my first daughter (Eila), I prepared by undoing all the fear and loathing I had learnt about birth from my family (very medical model – a nurse a pharmacist and two doctors and all drama queens to boot) and my work (I was a nurse – I couldn’t break the mould now could I? I was mainly working with young people with disabilities in a psych hospital)
I did this by reading all the books I could get hold of about homebirth – like Michael Odent & Spiritual Midwifery. They became like antidotes – every time I would hear a negative birth story or have a negative comment from my family I would take another long read through those affirming books.
I also went to the local homebirth group and met the magnificent women there who all believe that birth is one of the most wonderful things they have ever experienced…
Of course I also did stuff like eat well, sleep well, finish work with plenty of time before I was due, did lots of swimming and a bit of antenatal yoga and pre natal stretches. I also spent a lot of time on the ball instead of a chair to keep my baby in the easiest position for birth, and spent time imagining the birth and making sure i had the things there i wanted to welcome the baby with – the right music, the right smells…
I charged up crystals and had the birth pool ready – I think ticking all those lists of things helped me to feel like I was prepared and supported in the best way for me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know yet that I was a slow cooker of babies, and here in New Zealand, there are quite strict rules over gestation length, so I ended up in hospital for an induction.
Importantly, a crucial part of the preparation is building a relationship with the midwife (we have a system of independant midwifery in NZ) who understood implicitly what worked for me and what didn’t and why I wanted what I did.
With my second daughter (Willow) I prepared in the same way – but this time I was more assured – my body knew how to do it, and I could say with confidence that my body was ship-shape for birth….
I also think I was prepared for Willow’s birth because I wasn’t holding on so tightly to the idea of homebirth being the only way for me to birth… having a homebirth it was by far the most amazing experience of my life and a true gift to Willow and our whole family.
Can you describe your birth story?
My daughter Eila’s birth was in hospital and it was quite scary in that we were out of our environment, listening to other people’s births/tea breaks/etc. I have never been very good at blocking out the energy around me so it was doubly difficult to do when you are designed to be at your most open, as you are when you are birthing. I had no control over who touched my baby and how they spoke about her – the sacred nature of birth was not upheld in the hospital. It ended up with a healthy baby but I still greive over the birth and some of the things that happened.
Willow’s birth was the opposite… I could be totally engaged with the process of birthing, I was in my own space & it was how I needed it to be (quiet, candlelit, dark, no strangers). I used the birthpool, crystals and music. My supporters were fully aware of how sacred this was for me and my babe and upheld that sacred space.
I was connected to all women who had birthed through all time – I felt upheld by that timeless energy that many others had walked that path and were turning towards me urging me on…
Also I could swear and groan as much as I wanted without feeling self concious…I think this freedom from restraint is crucial!
And then we had a party with birthday cake and candles and I could snuggle in my own bed with my beloved and my baby and the newly made big sister when it was all over….All i could say, after Willow was born was”I
am so grateful”.
Willow’s birth made me the vessel of a miracle.
What was the best technique you used when birthing?
The best technique was being able to go inside myself, being able to connect with that power that comes from surrender – I could only do that in the quiet.
I moved alot, I made whatever sound came to my heart (actually it was from my bowels – the sound was so deep and primal it wasn’t heart/sparkle/floaty at all!)
And I heartily recommend a birthpool – that was such a gift at 6 cm or so when i felt like the hill was too steep…connecting with water ahhhhh..
Holding eye contact with Simon was really important too – it kept me grounded and focussed.
Oh and I just remembered – as it is above so it is below – a tight mouth means a tight yoni… so lots of opening of my mouth and crucially for me wriggling my toes so I wasn’t holding on so tight…
Do you have any birthing/mama books, blogs, resources that inspired you that you’d like to share?
The best book was Spiritual Midwifery…Ina Mae just helps turn birth back to the process of heart/mind/body/spirit connected in a miracle and not just the business of pushing a baby out a vagina…
I have read many books since then – Sarah Buckley is a stand out – she describes the miracle of birth in terms of science – she articulates the intuitions I had and I see why, scientifically, those intuitions are so
valid – the hormones the chain reactions that are instantly kicked off allow healing and bonding to take place in a way that interventions interfere with.
What do you want to say to all the birthing-mama-goddesses-to-be out there?
Find people who see birth as a natural miracle and stick to them like glue – you need to antidote all the fear around childbirth that has been propagated over the last two generations (my grandmother had homebirths – but my generation and the next were the first to be born at hospitals).
Educate yourselves about the real implications of interventions and acknowledge that you are made to birth – you are capable of this miracle!
The gift of a natural birth is that you realise how incredibly powerful you are.
If you give birth as your body was meant to (I believe particularly at home to maintain your sacred space in your own way) you know you can achieve anything…
Thank you so much dearest Goddess Jane for sharing your beautiful, honest stories and heart-sharings with us…