What if we weren’t afraid any more? Then what would birth look like?
What if women really weren’t afraid –I mean really not afraid- then what would birth look like ?
What if Midwives, too, weren’t afraid any more– then what would birth look like ?
What if our doctors, sisters, friends – even our hypnobirthing teachers & Doulas - weren’t afraid either - then what would birth look like ?
What if we were no longer afraid of Ourselves ? Afraid of our Bodies, Our emotions, our behaviours, our fears even….
What if we were no longer ashamed – then what would birth look like?
These are all quesions myself & my good friend - and fellow Midwife –Julia Clark (@birthupnorth) are asking ourselves, right now: What would a totally new vision of birth look like?
What if we were really honest with ourselves – then what would birth look like ?
Birth has been so entrenched in FEAR for so long, that I honestly think we’re not quite sure. SO we have to dip deep.
We have to start asking ourselves some pretty uncomfortable questions : facing our Egos and examining our own deceptions.
In other words we have MAN UP (or WO-MAN UP?)
What if we were all truly liberated – then what would birth look like ?
Women are still gagged – from truly expressing themselves physically, emotionally and spitirually – they are gagged & ashamed of following & expressing their instincts & desires.
And the big questions is :if you don’t listen to you instincts –then what the hell do you listen to ? And if you can’t follow your own personal truth, your heart’s desires….that what DO you follow ?
What about if « I trust my body » was more than just an affirmation you wrote on a post-it note and stuck on your fridge ? – then what would birth look like ?
Here’s the thing : I think we do have the answers. I think we really do, but I think it lies below layers and layers of bullshit that we have been feeding ourselves and each other for decades…
There’s so much superficial bullshit going around the birth circuit that it’s totally blinding women to the real work they need to do - on themselves.
The birth world has become a crazy fuzz of posting, and re-posting catch-phrases….And YOU CAN’T REVOLUTIONISE BIRTH by posting and re-posting a F**CKING Quote by Ina May.
It’s a good start, It’s really good start…But surely you have to reach down – inside of yourself- and find the place where that quote came from in Ina May herself– that deep & soulful place - and find where it lives in YOU.
Because otherwise we will all keep living in this superficial land of « let’s make birth better » and nothing really changes, not really…
Nothing will change for our daughters or our grand-daughter, or our great-great grandaughters because we will just keep passing on the same lies & fear on to them too.
UNLESS WE MAKE A STAND - NOW.
What if we totally owned it ? Then what would birth look like ?
I was recently having a beer with Julia in Leeds and mulling over my predicament about setting up as a independent Midwife in Paris :
ME: “I’m just cautious, reticent, not scared- but…”
Julia: “Sounds to me like you are scared… it’s ok to be scared…”
ME: “I’m not scared, it’s just I don’t know all the medical systems & protocols here, and it will take time…maybe it’s better if I start by working in a hospital first...”
JULIA: “Sounds to me like you’re scared…everyone gets scared – even when we simply change to a new hospital ‘trust’ within the UK, we get scared. ”
ME: “You’re right, I’m scared, it’s normal to be scared.”
You see: I was scared of admitting I was scared.
When I owned up to what I had to overcome – I felt much less powerless…And this is where I started to feel like we were on to something: Some of the answers must truly lie, in absolutely owning it.
So WHERE DO WE START ? A BASIC PRINCIPLE I learnt from Godfrey Devreaux
Godrey is well know in the yoga world for calling BULLSHIT on pretty much everything.
He rips the entire notion of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘spirituality’ to pieces…. And he also says the F word, a lot….
Godrey shines a very bright light on the years on years of deceptions and marketing ploys that have infested the yoga world, and made what is essentiallly a loving and enlightening practice – into something completely vacuous and even malignant.
I think we need to do the same with the birth world. I think that we started with something really really beautiful and heartfelt and authentic with the likes of Ina May, Sheila Kitzinger, and Francoise Freedman…but somehow it all got lost in a pseudo-spiritual quagmire….
Firstly – there are No ‘Guru’s : there is only you. There is only you, yourself, and your own free will.
This is the revolutionary act: you are your own Guru. And if you’re not, then nobody is, and then you’re just an idiot reading somebody else’s empty words from a post-it note.
Saying yes to life : saying yes to birth
I went to a talk with Godfrey Devreaux at the Red Earth Centre in Paris last week, and in this particular ‘lecture’ (he definitely wouldn’t call it a lecture!) Godfrey was discussing the notion that life has 2 basic instincts : ON / OFF, YES/NO, ENGAGE/RETREAT…
Whatever you name them, they are both manifestations of the 2 very simple human behaviours, that are at the basis of all life : our ability to either actively engage with life or to escape and retreat from it.
How can we apply this notion to Birth ?
It’s in this idea of « engaging or retreating » that I think we could really shake up birth, and I’m beggining to experiment with it in my Prenatal Yoga & Hypnobirthing work….
Summed up simply, it can be expressed as « SAYING YES TO LIFE »
SAYING YES TO LIFE IS ESSENTIALLY SAYING YES TO EVERYTHING, EVEN TO FEAR.
It’s about saying yes to all of it : and not being scared to LIVE and FEEL and EXPERIENCE - all of it. Or as my mindfullness teacher « Ayala Gill » puts it : Welcoming life : Welcoming eveything.
Saying yes to all of our emotions : good, bad, gentle, tough…and accepting them all as a a necessary & inevitable part of life’s rich tapestry….
Because if we don’t say YES – if don’t welcome them ALL - then we are in a constant state of ‘NO’ or RETREAT – a perpetual state of rejection, deception, escape and avoidance…fear.
This brings us full loop back to my initial questions :
What if we weren’t afraid, ashamed, gagged, to feel – experience – and act? What if we weren’t afraid to really Love- ourselves, each other – and life??? Then What Would Birth Look Like ?
I think it would look like LOTS of women running round the street shouting YES YES YES to everything - like some kind of crazed state of perpetual orgasm !
Godfrey leaves me – US - with this interesting question, that I feel could sew the seeds of something revolutionary in birth, and it’s this:
WHEN WE SAY YES TO LIFE – really say yes to life - DO WE NOT ALSO SAY YES TO BIRTH ?