Thursday, September 29, 2011


My Dear Birth Peeps,
I have been away too long, and you have been patient. I thought of you all often, and missed you, and yet, the blogger needed time to reflect, rest, and write new material... but I am happy to be back and to continue our journey together as we compassionately change birth in our culture. We resume...I believe we are on change #27, a two-part entry.

PREGNANT WOMEN ARE CONSTANTLY BEING TOLD what to believe, fear, and do—after all “(acquired) knowledge is power”—and then they are told: “trust yourself!” The new initiate, trying to get it right, is clichéd with mixed messages.

When we have not yet lived a life-changing event, one that we anticipate living in the future (e.g., college, vacations, a wedding, childbirth), we can only idealize, dream, fantasize about the event from a place of innocence and trust. All children have done this. And so has every adult, at the beginning of a life-changing initiation, the initiate must begin in her archetypal Child, a natural place of Innocence and Trust. This is why when a woman is at the beginning of her first childbearing year, she is often in her archetypal Child, a place of Innocence and Trust--and why we must meet her there and listen to what she trusts and doesn't trust before we try to cliche her or lead her our way.

It is also a given that during the Ordeal (e.g., Ordeal refers to a trying event that may occur at any time during pregnancy, labor, or postpartum), she will lose some part of her innocence as the price for Wisdom—and “growing up.” We cannot keep our Cupcake of Innocence and have the Frosting of Wisdom, too! Did this blended metaphor work? You get the idea anyway.

And yet, there are many who do not understand this part of birth as a hero’s journey, who inadvertently encourage mothers to remain in innocence and vague trust. What exactly she should “trust” is up for grabs and will be determined by the one advising it. It might be an order to unconditionally trust her body, or trust in a benevolent Force to protect her, or trust the wisdom of some expert, or even to trust her own intuition—even though (she will soon find out) nobody else will trust or allow her to act upon!

For this reason, this cliché message to “trust” is often, or later becomes, confusing to the initiate.

When an initiate shares her Innocent Trust openly with others, she will invariably encounter one of two responses from: those who share or support her innocence and keep her dreaming sweetly, or from those who will dash or dismiss her innocence and trust in a misguided attempt to prepare her for the moment she loses her innocence. But neither sweet support nor jaded warnings serve to prepare the initiate to meet that moment that awaits her.

There is also the possibility the Seeking-initiate will encounter One Who Knows (i.e., one who has completed the journey, lost her own innocence and gained true wisdom and compassion)—one of YOU birth peeps!!

Or, she might be visiting this blog and take up a process that will help her genuinely prepare to meet the moment she loses her innocence during or after her Ordeal. There are countless ways to prepare the mind, heart, and soul for this moment, here is one:

Let’s lay the groundwork first with a little philosophical groundwork. Let’s think of the natural Innocence and Trust in something not yet lived as a “seed thought.” Within a seed is the full potential for a particular plant, tree, or fruit. But the seed must be watered often, even daily, and protected to allow for its full potential to be realized. Just planting a seed and “trusting it will grow on its own” does not ensure it will grow and later bear the fruit we need to sustain ourselves during the Ordeal.

The daily effort of watering the little “seed” of trust and inner-knowing with intentional practice throughout pregnancy matures and strengthens the gardener, too! The gardener becomes invested in, and “owns,” the plant. This is a very different experience and relationship from giving the gardener a full-grown tree that someone else grew and saying, “Here! Eat this fruit to sustain yourself in your upcoming Ordeal.”

We cannot assume that an initiate “has everything mature and ready within her at the beginning her Preparation or Ordeal. Telling a new mother, “Everything you need to know is already within you,” might misguide her to relax and do nothing during her Preparation Phase, when she should be taking action. Instead, she waits, trusting that this Knowing, this Oak Tree of Knowing, to magically sprout from the ungrounded acorn during the Ordeal. And this why so many mothers are in shock and feel lost, overwhelmed in and after labor.

Becoming pregnant does not automatically ensure a spontaneous awakening of intuition, knowing, and trust. The gestating-mother may have to do a little inner work and practice, take time to reflect, then take small, deliberate steps, even small risks, to try out and integrate her new knowing. Her success is dependent on daily attention to the practice, and often guidance and encouragement from a childbirth mentor or elder.

A NEW MOTHER NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING to water her newly sprouting mother-instincts, mother-voice, and nurture a genuine, deeply rooted, trust in herself and others. In this way we could say her initial pure innocent Child-trust is maturing as her baby grows in her. For her baby to grow she must feed her baby, not just trust her baby will magically grow, she must take action. By taking action, her Trust and Knowing is embodied, it is hers!, it is registered and rooted in her body, so that if and when her Innocence and Trust is shaken in labor, even if she is scared, she will not abandon herself.

In the Garden of Soul Change,
we are growing a new consciousness together!