- Birth is about change. Change is an undeniable fact when it comes to birth. From growing a baby to becoming a parent, these changes offer an opportunity to self-reflect. While it may be easy under ordinary circumstances to buzz around like a busy bee, throughout the pre- and postnatal periods change is the constant. It is a reminder to slow down and be present with ourselves and our family as new ways of relating to one another are established.
- Birth is a natural act. In essence, birth is nature. It occurs in cycles of time rather than a trajectory; no single birth defies the rhythms of nature. Each new human born will also eventually die, just as seasons change from one into another, ocean tides rise and fall with the pull of the moon, and wildflowers bloom to have their seed carried by the wind and planted once more.
- Birth is undeniable. When a baby comes, it comes! There is simply no denying its occurrence. We may be very crafty at denying our emotions or behaviors, to a point in which we evade or even forget their existence. Birth, however, is a very tangible and real experience.
- Birth is a renewal process. Birth renews our relationships to family, community, home, work, and spirituality. Renewal occurs all the time, like the rising and setting sun, seemingly without beginning or end. And yet when awareness of the naturally occurring process is forgotten, our relationships become characterized by stagnation. With its recollection, fresh perspective and purpose is passed from one generation to the next.
- Birth is a gift. It is an offering to our family, friends, community, and to all beings. Our little ones have the unique potential to create positive and lasting change on our planet. Their strengths and sense of purpose can be cultivated from a young age through skillful parenting.
- Birth is a ceremonial act. While many cultures worldwide include special traditions specific to birth, Western society has emphasized the medical aspect of birth. The medical view is largely based on potential risk to the infant or parent. Birth’s rightful place as a rite of passage is not taken into consideration at doctor visits, as it is simply not in their job description. Efforts are being made toward greater cultural sensitivity in the medical institution by indigenous and African American midwives and their allies.
- Birth is an opening. There is the literal opening of our birth canal, and there is the energetic opening to the sacred. Certain laboring positions that have become popularized through yoga and by doulas can help shape the body’s opening both downward and upward. Meaning, they can influence the baby to drop and the birth canal to change dimensions, and they can strengthen the spine and nervous system to orient toward greater surges of energy.
- Birth is energetic. Our brain and central nervous system accommodate huge influxes of hormones and endorphins. The influx in activity permeates sensory experience. We may notice heightened sensations including brighter colors, stronger aromas, and a softening to touch, just to name a few. Meaningful visions may appear as if in a dream. The entire body may vibrate and intuition may take the reins as it guides us toward optimal birthing positions and soothing laboring sounds.
- Birth is an act of communication. Until children are born and their umbilical chord severed, they are a very part of our body. The act of birth is a communication between parent and unborn child as we each navigate toward our eventual face to face meeting.
- Birth is subtle. That sounds contradictory because it is also very pronounced! And yet the physical intensity to varying degrees is neutralized by its subtle nature. Have you heard the term ‘orgasmic birth’? Subtlety is like a fine thread of silk, weaving our physical bodies into a beautiful and rich tapestry colored by the intensity of birth.
Birth Love Family
© Shaina Levee, 2019
Photo credit: Oliver + Jane Film Studio
Shaina Levee, M.A. specializes in birth psychology with a practice based in Stowe, Vermont. She is a co-founder of Birth Love Family, a platform offering community, support and resources on holistic birthing and parenting. She had the rare experience of traveling with an indigenous family from Peru’s highlands over many years, where she initiated into their nature-based wisdom tradition. She is a Buddhist and Grofian who practices and teaches Tai Chi Chuan.