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April 2016

Freebirth is not a dirty word

By | Insights and wisdom, Sacred Wombman's business | No Comments

**All images have been used with permission and copyright is retained to the photographers. I do not own this image content so please, out of respect… do not save and share images without expressed permission from the mother or photographer.**

Featured image: Copyright Captivated Photography

FreeBirth

It seems that there is a view around Freebirthing that deems it unsafe and irresponsible, where women are deliberately putting themselves and their babies in danger.

Freebirth is not a dirty word!

freebirth_caitlin

After 2 c-sections, Caitlin Freebirthed Lola safely at home.

I want to take this time to openly state that, of course it is not for everyone, and that…

Freebirther’s are not extremist birth vigilantes or crazy, trippy hippies who scream, “Fuck the System”

Most women I know that have claimed the role as “freebirther’s” are well researched. Yes, we are birth activists, openly encouraging women to listen to their intuition and strongly advocate a woman’s right to chose how she gives births and where.

The choice to freebirth is an informed one. The experience is completely liberating.

We enter into the birthing realm with full responsibility and understanding about the language of birth. We are educated in birth practices and Sacred ways. Some of us have had traumatic births in the past, Some of us are transitioning from Maiden to Mother for the first time and some of us are seasoned mamas. Point being… you can’t pigeonhole us into a box that makes it easier to disassociate with.

Baby girl Adelaide, born free at home.

Baby girl Adelaide, born free at home.

We branch across all demographics, ethnicities and socio-economic statuses. We are women, who have made a choice to birth on our own terms, without the aid of any medical professionals present. For some of us this decision is made without hesitation, for others it is a journey to feel comfortable with this option.

Yes, it is an option!

We journey in many ways to overcome our fears, social fears and the stigmatisation that can surround birth. Due to the current political atmospheres and discussions around birth, Sometimes this means keeping our plans to ourselves to avoid criticism and judgment from others- or pending on where you live, being reported!

Birth is a natural process, not a medical one.

Part of the reason I felt so called to freebirth my daughters was that I knew I could as a Sovereign Being and to lead by example, claiming birth as a natural process and rite of passage… and to say,

“Hey… there is another way! Birth is not scary like you see depicted in the media and movies… it is beautiful and Sacred and can be so completely drama free and empowering… it can be a complete Spiritual and Shamanic experience… and you CAN do it at home, safely and naturally!”

"Eden" Copyright Incandescent Photography Read Birth Story

“Eden” Copyright Incandescent Photography
Read Birth Story Here

Although birthing unassisted is not for everyone, it is such an empowering way to connect to the ancient Primal Mother archetype, to our great, great grandmothers, the tribal ways of women’s mysteries, held and guarded fiercely with grace by the wise women of the community, midwives.

Women have been “freebirthing” since the dawn of humanity.

Of course, as with anything, it is not the only way, and any woman can feel empowered through birth, no matter where she chooses. Empowerment comes through choice, and owning those choices fully and the consequences, good or bad, derived from our actions.

In contemporary culture, Freebirthing is deemed radical and unsafe.

“OH, YOU’RE SO BRAVE”

“BUT YOUR BABY COULD DIE, YOU COULD DIE”

I don’t know about being brave… to some extent yes, Freebirthing is a courageous act, but for me it just felt completely natural… like no big deal!

And yes, my baby could die… my baby could die in utero, my baby could die in the hospital with several medical professionals on guard. My dignity could also die at the hands of professionals who apparently know my body better than I do and override my right to choose.

Yes, I could die… but you know I researched the risks and prepared myself. The biggest risk for me was hemorrhaging, by full term I had become anemic. So, like any responsible adult would, I took measures to address that risk- like eating iron rich foods with vitamin C, minimising dairy intake and supplementing with 3-4 sachets of Spatone to boost my levels. I also knew that after birthing in the water, to get out as soon as possible… The sole reason for this is to monitor blood loss, as it is hard to measure once it is diluted. I also knew that if I started to feel faint or dizzy- if consciousness was fading, to call for help without a second thought.

Death, Birth… they’re two sides of the same coin really. In a completely sacred and delicate balance.

billa_paikea

Natural Labour in the Billabong. Copyright Billa kgari @ www.thepacificvillage.com

When I made the decision to freebirth Maia, it was due to the fact that I had absolutely no fear to do so. I had a wonderful midwife for all my check ups though she did not attend homebirths, and connected with a local independent midwife at 38weeks incase I wanted to hire her. The only reason in my mind to hire her, was if Maia’s father was too anxious, then she would be there more in service to him, than to me. We spoke for a while and she agreed that I didn’t really need her. She was confident that everything would be fine as much as I was. I trusted my body and the process completely. Everything felt clear, as it did with my second freebirth of Lucah 7 weeks ago and I was not ignorant to the risks involved.

Our fears about the “what if’s” can actually create the outcome we are hoping to avoid… that is not to say with respects to birth that we should become complacent… on the contrary, we should be totally prepared in all ways.  As sovereign beings, claiming the full role and responsibility of Mother.

"Piper, born on my shower floor"

“Piper, born on the shower floor”

As a Freebirthing mama, you have to be very confident in your body and ability to birth. Any unresolved emotional issues will usually present themselves in the days leading up to birth, or during labour.

You prepare to have all the support you need leading up to, during and after birth. You speak with other women and gain wisdom from midwives. You have a backup plan in place for the what-if’s, if they should occur and consider notifying local hospital and ambulance of your plans. You would also take into consideration your own physiology and any health risk factors that could impede your ability to birth safely. Essentially you know your body better than anyone else…

This isn’ a game, and the decision is not made lightly or with naivety.

Birth is a Natural process

Atticus – free-birthed at home into a house full of love.

As strange as some find the concept, Women freebirth all the time… sometimes they’re completely unplanned… in the shower, in the car, in the back yard. It happens.

You know… if un-interrupted, babies will come when they are ready and sometimes it’s a surprise or at an ‘inconvenient’ time.

Birth can be unpredictable no matter where a mother chooses to labour and birth. The most important factor is that mother feels safe, secure and that she is in safe hands, whether they are her own, her partners, doula, a midwife or an OBGYN.

Different strokes for different folks!

maree

Another safe freebirth at home, surrounded by family. Mother expressed that she wasn’t worried at all.

Just because one mama chooses to birth herself does not make her irresponsible, irrational or an extremist.

Unfortunately in Australia our birthing practices do not support all choices of the mother, and our freedom to choose is under threat. Although I am a free birthing mother, I am also an advocate and strong supporter for Independent Midwives and firmly believe that women should be able to have access to midwifery and continuity of care through the public health system which could see more women birthing safely at home. As it stands now, it can be expensive to hire an independent midwife (if you can find one in your area) and that’s if they are lucky enough to be insured.

My perception is that if we support a woman’s’ right to choose where and with whom she births, then it will free up “patient” loads in hospitals. Pregnant women are not sick. Continuity of care will also aid mother to make empowered decisions, and connect with her pregnancy and newborn. Developing relationships with the birthing mother and baby means that it will help to curb the growing rate of birth trauma, postnatal depression and PTSD which more and more women are speaking about their experiences within the medical establishment. This can weigh heavily on the medical system later and it is totally preventable!

This freebirth was with an experienced birth attendant. Copyright Lifespiral Photography

The way I see it, is that if independent midwives are not supported, we will see an increase in women deciding to freebirth, sheerly out of wanting to avoid a medical birth with interventions. We will see more women putting themselves at risk out of fear, rather than from an informed and empowered state… And that is what will cause an increase in unsafe birthing.

If you are considering Unassisted Childbirth- aka Freebirth, please do your best to research birth processes as much as possible, and find ways to prepare yourself physically and emotionally to be confident you will safely birth with ease. Talk to a local midwife and look online. There is a wealth of information from optimal positioning to what to do if you have a shoulder presentation, cord around the neck, vaginal tearing, hemorrhaging etc. Perhaps one of our most valuable resources is women’s birth stories. Seek those that are inspiring and drama free. This will help to keep you focused and in a empowered state, especially during the such a profoundly sensitive time during Pregnancy.

Mind over matter, and birth matters!

If we support women in their birth choices, we are not only supporting the birth of her child, we are also supporting the healthy birth of a Mother. Mental health and particularly Post Partum Recovery affects more than the nuclear family.

If like me, you care about women having the right to choose than please consider signing the petition below

sign here–> petition-to-allow-private-midwives-insurance

Valuable links

Freebirth Australia

Homebirth Australia

Find a Midwife Australia

 

 

wise wombman sacred feminine expression session

The Rise of the Feminine

By | Insights and wisdom, Journey Work | No Comments

I wrote this to contribute to this month’s Connect Magazine

The Rise of the Feminine 

Silent Rhythms by Autumn Skye Morrison

Silent Rhythms by Autumn Skye Morrison

When we think of femininity, we often think of gentle, delicate and flowery terms attributed with archetypal images of the innocent Maiden and the sexual Goddess, which stem from of our limited exposure and understanding of femininity.

We see the feminine essence dancing and frolicking in her sweet naivety, she is weak and dependent, soft and sensual. Yearning to be captured or possessed wrapped up and claimed in the protective embrace of strong masculine presence.

We praise her desirability, alluring sexuality and mystical beauty, yet shun her emotional impulses, wisdom and intelligence… often failing to witness and value other expressions of the feminine- primarily anchored in the form of a seasoned woman, expressed archetypally as the Mother’s sacrifice, the Crone’s wisdom and the power and authority of the Priestess.

Femiv-ads-4-ninity does not dissolve or become dull once a woman has children, it actually matures into a depth of embodied presence. This could be why our culture chooses to only celebrate the feminine form in its youthful expression. Her physical beauty and sexuality are easily
commoditized for profit.

Unfortunately though, through the skewed lens of patriarchal culture, our modern society does not know how to, nor want to, value the true essence and power of femininity.

Femininity is an expression of the feminine essence, its expression is not limited to gender and it is but one face of creation energy.

We all have expressions of the feminine and masculine energy with us and can use these energies to serve us in different ways.

The feminine is the receptive, intuitive side of being. It is Consciousness made manifest through the desire to experience itself physically. In short, it is nature.

Nature is cyclical, and whilst it has observable patterns, it is also uncertain, where the only constant is change.

Birth, creation and growth… Death, destruction and decay.

It is often the intuitive and emotionally receptive side of femininity that is so misunderstood.

Emotions are to some extent just energy in motion, the way that our subconscious responds to sensory information from our environment, just like the weather. You could say that the feminine is the barometer for emotional undercurrents and as such, due to what is socially acceptable, a range of emotional expressions are often suppressed. The full gamut of emotional expressions, accessed through embodied femininity, becomes distorted as we push the undesirable into the shadows.

The shadow side of the feminine is fierce. Full power, she will rage in righteousness and justice for ancestors that have fallen in a cacophony of screams and generations of children whose future has been jeopardized at the hands of psychopathic corporatocracy. She will voice her truth unwavering and unapologetically. Ego and Pride play no part in swaying her moral compass. She will destroy all cast illusions and protect the innocent; she will run and hide if needed to serve as a wisdom keeper of forgotten ways. She commands respect for the life force that summons her fertility and will die unto herself time and again, knowing that HERstory will be told.

kali yuga Redreev George

Kali Yuga by Redreev George

Archetypally we know this embodiment of femininity as the witch, the dark goddess Kali or Lilith. Depicted with grotesque imagery, designed to subconsciously create an instinctual form of repulsion that separates us from our means of identifying those facets within ourselves.

Why?

Because there is great power there!

Make no mistake if you cross paths with someone embodying feminine fury. As quick as nature can create life, it can destroy it in the same breath, which in itself is another act of creation.

Such is the nature of growth.

All you need to do is look to the natural world for wisdom- the microcosm of the macrocosm, as a tree falls and dies in the forest, it gives life in the way of nutrient to mycelium, composting into new soil and making room for the vines to begin their climb towards the sunlit canopy.

For too long we have feared death, and so we have feared life… the act and art of truly living as a whole being. Embodying the Masculine and the Feminine. Donna Raymond Sacred Feminine Mentor

The medicine of femininity lays in catharsis… the shedding and renewal of self. Like an alchemical womb, either seeding life or letting go of that which no longer serves.

Femininity will strip us of all masks and illusions if we dare to explore ourselves in depth.

Contrary to what our rational minds will have us believe, (because the feminine has been deliberately disenfranchised) it is our men that have suffered the most!

This subconscious meme that constantly tells us that femininity is soft or weak, severs the masculine ties to the medicine of feminine expression. Our brothers disengage with the their intuitive emotional receptors, and rather than feel their feelings and process them accordingly, they learn to bottle them up, or switch off completely- numbing the pain through distraction and addiction. We subscribe to the notion that ‘Boys don’t cry’ and that when life is challenging, or during crisis they have to ‘Man up.’

For too long we have been tricked into believing that being a woman, being feminine means being powerless and inferior. To add insult to injury, we associate derogatory and abusive terms with female anatomy and feminine qualities.

artist unknown

artist unknown

So what chance do we give our boys, our men to even want to develop their femininity? To cultivate strong emotional foundations which establish intimacy and connection with others and allow pathways for healing.

Femininity teaches us the dance of creation, contraction and expansion… it is constantly changing and evolving, feeling and conversing with the unspoken realms.

With depression and male suicides on the rise, now more than ever we must encourage the feminine to rise in us all. We must encourage the feminine to hold the masculine in loving nurture as so many are lost, scared and not sure of how to be.

Let our femininity not emasculate us, but rather call us all home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just One Of Those Strong Woman Days

By | Insights and wisdom, Journey Work, Sacred Wombman's business | No Comments
Strong Woman Days,
When you’ve been walking the floor for hours, your shoulders aching with tension… feeling your body begin to shut down… and still you walk on.

stronghead stuffy and pounding from a cold, muscles aching and you still manage to entertain the children, fold 3 loads of washing, mediate childish conflict and tantrums, navigate the supermarket diffusing the “I want’s and can we have’s?”

Unpack the car with screaming babe in arms carrying as much as you can in one go… at least the cold items.

You put the groceries down on the kitchen floor and are immediately met with a chorus of, “We’re hungry!”

oh yea, Baby is still screaming…

Pick up baby, attempt to make lunches one handed. Mother

You laugh at yourself at how ridiculously ‘unco’ this whole situation is.

Palm baby off to big sister so you can finish preparing the lunches, after 5 min of baby crying loudly, big sister freaks out and say’s she can’t handle it anymore.

You smile, take bub from her arms and say thank you.

5:30pm- witching hour!

Shhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittt!!!!!

Prepare a last minute dinner whilst caring for a newborn who is exceptionally grizzly, hasn’t slept much today and only wants to be held and boob most of the time.

After 3hrs you finally settle baby, put her down, manage to go to the toilet before you hear her cries again, you sit on the loo… tears are now flooding your eyes and cascading down your face… you just want a moment reprieve, so you stay there.
The only place you can find solace away from everyone when it all feels shit… is on the shitter…
unless of course there’s a toddler around… because nowhere is sacred
Baby still crying.. you hope her father will get up to soother her…
so you wait for a moment… crying your exhausted heart out… Baby’s cries get louder and louder… and are more important than yours.
Get yourself together woman…
You realise it’s all on your shoulders again… you pick her up and start walking… trying different positions to settle her. Your nose is dripping by this stage, and just as you feel her body relax you sneeze, or have to blow your nose and she startles and wakes again…
wash, rinse, repeat
You are both so exhausted.
Sophia-Loren-MotherYou feel like your reserve tank is nearing empty and it leaves you wondering how the fuck we manage to get the short end of the stick?
Through pregnancy, birth, post-partum. as a cocktail of hormones courses through your body… picking up the bulk of domestic and emotional labour, all the managing of who’s got what on when and how etc.
Everyone in the house is asleep except you, cos you’re totally wired now… that trusty second, third, fourth wind has kicked in…
Thanks Prolactin
It takes a village to support a mother
I’m not complaining at all…  just offering a glimpse into my world. Beyond what anyone perceives my life to be like. Yes I’m a powerhouse of a woman, but somedays hit me for a six.
Today is one of them…
Just having one of those days, they happen… and as fucked as they are, I am so grateful for them. I am grateful for being pushed to my limits and appreciating how strong I am to keep carrying on… despite illness, pain, fatigue, or emotions… I’m showing up as best I can.
I am grateful for the respect I have gained for my mother who did all of this, working 2 jobs with 4 kids in tow…
For all the mama’s out there, Stay at home, full time employed, solo, studying mamas.
We all know this is a full time gig!
I am grateful to see the areas in my life which are needing attention. By way of boundaries being set and where communication is needing to become clearer.
I’m sensitive sometimes.
And in these moments I just let my tears flow, and pop a few drops of Motherwort under my tongue…
Sometimes I feel like a seed, cracking my outer shell.
Ahh… Growth!
Sometimes painful and messy, but all necessary for learning and changing.
Tomorrow is another day. It may be a repeat, it may not be. One thing I have learnt over my almost 9 years of mothering is you never really get to “clock off’
This too shall pass…
It’s just one of those Strong Woman days