The Birth Shaman
Maia Lily’s Free Birth Story
Grab a cuppa… this will be another long journey… This has quite a bit of a back story to bring the whole journey into context- I had been so hesitant to share it online that this has been sitting as a draft for over a year and a half… so if you are not interested in the story, feel free to scroll down to the Labour/ Birth part.
In 2012, After the unofficial opening of InfinitUS, I took my mother on a journey to connect back with her roots in Melbourne, as a way of honouring her and all of her unwavering support. That’s a huge story in itself and one for another time perhaps. I mention it as the journey coincided with a Peruquois workshop where I felt the energy of my second daughter come through (and realised that the wombSong work that I had intuitively discovered was a “real” thing)…
I called through my Womb Song, “Ashama”- it was a name (or perhaps just how I heard it tonally) that was chanted in part of one of Peru’s songs- When I sang, it felt like I was calling to HER… and immediately I felt my heart burst wide…
I had received a new daughter in the Astral Realms.
When I returned from the trip I told my Adam (ASM- my partner at the time) that there was a baby girl that wanted to come through. We had discussed having children and even though I was ready, I didn’t want to push him and there was absolutely no rush. The perfect time would present itself… and that it did.
2012 was an EPIC year for me.
My father passed away in January.
ASM was stuck in the USA with Visa issues for a few months.
I was working with crew to help realise the EntheonGaia Festival in Cairns.
A couple weeks after that, we were officially opening InfinitUS- Australias first Visionary Art Gallery- with the “Divine Align” Exhibition which showcased aprox 40 different visionary artists from around the world. This all happened shortly after the Solar Eclipse, and Global Elders Gathering in November, followed by a week long intensive Visionary Art Course at our house titled, “Charting the See” with Amanda Sage. We were so busy!
I was on Implanon for most of that year, which was not something that I was pleased about. It did however lead to me finding out about the male contraceptive which is been trialed in India. About time! I had the implant when it was in its trial stages. I was 15 and never had a period until I the hormones started to wear off nearing the completion of its 3rd year. Needless to say as a young girl I was happy that I didn’t have the “burden” my monthly cycle. This time around though, after being a mother, and coming to the realisation of how sacred menses is, I was really upset that it was my best option at the time.
I didn’t know about IUD’s then and I was not interested in the pill.
Being a passionate lover and HIGHLY FERTILE… I knew the main responsibility… unfortunately rested in my hands… and considering I had used this method before, it seemed the most convenient.
The day I went to see my wonderful GP I felt so angry inside… Hard to explain really… but on a soul level I really didn’t want to be doing this… but I kinda HAD to I guess… I bruised more than I did the first time, and I had nerve damage in my arm for around 3months. It was such an odd sensation of numbness. The body didn’t receive the implant like it did the first time… I guess as a mature woman, my hormones are different, and really when I think of it, I didn’t even want it in.
My body was talking… and I was listening.
I kept spotting for weeks. I had weird irregular cycles that didn’t shed lining properly. I felt like I was all out of whack.
I wanted it out! So I discussed this with ASM and we agreed that I would get it removed.
One month later I was pregnant.
I remember the night of conception very clearly. I could feel something brewing around us. Everything felt so good… too good.
2 weeks after conception was the EntheonGaia festival.
I worked tirelessly as the Arts Manager with lots of organising and site inspections, timetable planning, allocating space, meetings, etc.
Behind the scenes, event management and festivals are freaking hard work to bring to fruition for public enjoyment.
I collaborated on a potent and powerful opening ceremony with 3 other beautiful medicine women, 2 present male fire-keepers, 4 gorgeous elemental goddesses, and a wonderful couple holding space in ceremonial Aztec dance. Not one, but TWO rainbow spectral anomalies appeared in the sky.
As the gatekeeper for West, and the element of water, I only saw one which appeared as a small strobe of colour in the only fragment of cloud in the sky… the other was a massive circular “sun-dog” around the mid morning sun.
Shortly after we anointed and welcomed all festival attendees and the ceremony has come to completion, I felt really strange and went back to my tent and passed out for a couple hours. I thought it was sunstroke… but in hindsight realise it was because I was pregnant and didn’t know at the time.
After Entheongaia, the plan was to head out to the massive Solar Eclipse festival. For some reason I had a very strong feeling to not go… it was a very clear “No” from inside my body. I couldn’t really justify it at the time and expressed to ASM that I was not going to go. We were both booked to exhibit and present. I was also helping with the Global Elders Gathering in Yarrabah at the time and it was if there was a split… and I had to choose what “world” I wanted to invest in.
It was one of those initiations where you are tested on your moral standing.
I chose to support the Elders Gathering.
I had been down to the Yarrabah site helping to build shelters for the Indigenous elders, and felt welcomed by the land. On day 2 of the gathering I drove down with a boot load of blankets and bedding from my linen press, and when I arrived I was hit really hard with an energetic feeling of what I can only describe of not being “welcome” which I felt was rather odd… It was if I was being told that I was not supposed to be there.
I went back to Kuranda and processed what this mean to me.
The next day I sat in a Cacao ceremony with some close friends and had this feeling of fullness in my womb. I even said that I felt pregnant, and I was jokingly mocked by ASM and a couple others.
A couple days later, with my little car packed, I had planned to drive back to the Elders Gathering and set up camp in time for the Solar Eclipse. I didn’t get far- My car broke down in Kuranda. The “Harmonic Resonator” needed to be fixed.
Drinking the cacao bought up some stuff for me, and I really felt like ending the relationship with ASM. I had started to feel trapped and although I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, had a feeling that this “dream” was indeed a fabrication of a desire and yearning, and that the actuality of our relationship was far from meeting that standard.
I questioned marriage, and blind-devotion.
I felt trapped and restricted in the relationship. I felt like I was I was dragging a lead weight.
I admitted that I was confused and that I wasn’t sure if I wanted this. I felt like running away… admitting that I was scared and that I could feel that a lot of my shit… my wounds were surfacing. I owned it the whole way, openly and honestly, and it hurt.
Cacao has this amazing ability to create clarity with the subconscious stirrings, to give voice to the emotional undercurrents clearly. Atleast that is my experience of this plant medicine. We forged through this difficult time for 3 days around the eclipse…
ASM stopped talking to me.
A lot of pain was surfacing. As honesty is one of my core values, I was owning where I was at, even though it was hard to express. It felt like we were a rubber band being stretched to breaking point… I honestly thought the band was going to snap… and I was ready for the aftermath… Ready to call it quits and tell him to move back to the USA… but it didn’t.
Something pulled us back together in union.
Two days later we opened the Gallery.
I was having dreams and I knew I was pregnant.
That was an interesting time with what ended up being a massive house party.
In the morning I awoke to around 20 hippies and free-loaders that I didn’t know… lounging around in my house, coming down of who know’s what drugs (I went to bed early as that wasn’t my scene anymore) helping themselves to food/coffee… It was Sunday, I had shopping and a few others things to do to prepare for the week long workshop the next day.
Being an ambivert… I felt like I had no place in my own home. There were people everywhere.. People that I did not know… that had no permission to stay. Trippers sprawled out throughout the house, deck and garden. Smoking, drinking you name it. I was livid. ASM was still asleep (as usual) I snuck into the gallery to finalise a few things that I needed to do for the day. A young couple saw me and asked for my wifi password. The nerve! I was quite firm and told them no they can not have access to my wifi..
In my head I was like.
“Who the fuck are you people, why are you in my house?”
After that I announced (firmly but kindly) to everyone that they had 30mins to accumulate their belongings, and leave my property. After everyone had left there was this eerie silence… stillness… I could breathe… I knew I had to go and get a pregnancy test to confirm my suspicions.
And so I did.
When I returned home from my morning errands, the house was still quiet, ASM was still asleep. I went into the toilet… and very sneakily unwrapped the test packet as if to not wake him… strange I know. The test was confirmed.
Ashama was conceived.
An hour or so after ASM woke up I asked him to join me on the couch and I shared the news. He was shocked… and was uncertain if this was the best timing.
Now those who know me know that I am not one for abortions, that is to say its not an experience that I ever wish experience personally. Though with age and wisdom on my side, after becoming a mother, I was more open to the idea.
I expressed this to ASM, saying this was a statement as to how much I love and respect him, that I would never want to pressure him into something he is not completely ready for. That out of respect and love I would terminate if that’s what he wanted… if he wasn’t ready.
I expressed that I was unsure of what the journey would be like after that and due to our recent tension, was unsure how such an event would impact our relationship and if we’d make it though but I was willing to journey together through whatever comes our way. To weather the emotions storms. I told him I was around 80% sure of continuing with the pregnancy, he said he was around 60%.
I told him to have a serious think about what becoming a (biological) father means to him and to let me know what he decides. I expressed that after being a single mum I did not want to experience that again on my own, that I wanted the father to claim his child, as a conscious choice, so that he would really… really WANT it, and thus being excited about the pregnancy because it was something he wanted, not something that was happening to him or that he didn’t have a choice in the matter.
In my romanticised and physco-spiritual view I thought that claiming that choice for ones own journey would make a man step up into the role of dad and all the responsibilities that come with it. Then our first student arrived. The conversation was put on pause for now. 4 days passed and we had a house full of students. I was busy preparing all the meals for our attendees and cleaning up afterwards… I had underestimated how demanding such a role was to be… made even more difficult by my situation, being so exhausted at 6 weeks pregnant and not knowing if I should plug in and connect with this child… as I didn’t want to connect too much on the emotional side if we were to terminate.
This was very traumatic for me psychologically… topped of with feeling like I was not able to talk about it to anyone.
Those 4 days passed so slowly… I felt really strange in my body… unsure of my future, I felt like I was left dangling in space with no safety lines.
Thursday was my official entry into my Saturn Return. I turned 28 and had a small celebration with everyone attending the course. The days/nights were long… Being my birthday, ASM finished up his role earlier that night and joined my in our room which had become my solace as we had a house full of guests. We were laying in bed talking about how the workshop was going and how intense everything had been lately. I was looking into his eyes, hanging, waiting for him to connect with me on that deeper level.
He mentioned earlier that he had a birthday gift for me and then quite strangely looked into my eyes and said “Yes” I honestly didn’t know what he was talking about. I replied “Yes?” in a questioning manner, as if saying “What does that mean” He said it again softly and directly… “Yes”… I just looked at him and then the moment came when we discussed bringing our child into the world. To me it felt strange as if the “Yes” was meant to be my birthday present… as if this was the ultimate gift for me to celebrate. I was perplexed… I had hardly had any connection with him over 4 days, no talk about the pregnancy and then the night of my birthday suddenly it was a “Yes?”
He then said he was certain that this was his “path with heart” and that he felt this way all along, he was just testing ME to see if this is what I really wanted…
I looked at him in utter shock… and then punched him in the arm not hard, just to prove my disdain… and said something in the like of,
What the fuck? Don’t you EVER do anything like to me ever again…
He was perplexed…
I was fucking furious… in my mind.. and perhaps I verbalized some of this, I can’t remember now but I was like
“How fucking dare you… 4 days… 4 fucking days i’ve been dealing with this alone… not a word… not a hint of connection to this journey… you said you were 60% sure in the beginning and now you’re telling me you knew all along…you fucking arsehole”
I cried, I vented, I was confused hurt and disoriented… He said a lot of eloquent and beautiful words… he always had a way with words. Deep down I intuitively felt that he wasn’t ready but I trusted him and his words.
Fast forward 5 months and I had been connecting very strongly with this baby. We had affectionately called it “Zenith” because I felt a very strong energy in my womb and knew that I had received my boys name years before. This baby was very funny… I would often find myself tuning in and giggling.. like we were giggling together, I would rub my belly and say “Oh, you’re so funny” There was a certain element of cheekiness and joyfulness to this baby. A stark contrast from Auraura.
It was around this stage that I started to immerse myself more fully into my work as a Sacred Feminine Mentor. I had realised that my energy was best served in this role than it was as a visionary artist, as ASM had that covered and I did not have the time (whilst rearing children) to be the artist that I wanted to be. I kept tuning into this baby, who by now I was certain was a girl… Ashama… She was a very strong and wise soul who pushed me very strongly into this work… which at the time I was scared to step into… putting myself out there… to be seen, so to speak.
The messages I was receiving from my womb were more of a kick up the ass… saying,
“Mama.. this is what you need to be doing in the world, stop fluffing around… step up…do it…”
I planned my first intensive workshop titled “Seeding the Circle of the Sisterhood” part of which I trialed work that I had received from my dreaming, the most potent and powerful journeywork being WombSong… which was reminiscent to what was validated when I did the Peruquois workshop, where Ashama was conceived and received in my dreaming. This happened shortly after ASM and I were married. I won’t go into that story cos that’s an epic one! HA!
I was 7 months pregnant at the time and I still remember the moment when I had to sing, I was so scared and so nervous. It was my first time, women had invested money into this journey. Two sisters had flown up from Sydney to work with me… I paced the circle for what seemed like eternity… until a little voice told me to trust… to Jump mama… just do it… and that is perhaps one of the most potent gifts from the pregnancy, the complete alignment with the Wise Wombman… claiming my role as facilitator and mentor… feeling the fear and doing it anyways. What transpired afterwards changed me forever. A deeply shamanic journey for myself and the 13 women present, held in the loving graceful presence of my full womb. It felt like I bEarthed myself that day.
My body responds well to pregnancy, in that I am lucky to not suffer from any morning sickness, swelling, stretchmarks etc.
At the time, ASM was completely consumed by his Music Video project. It was a challenging time for me as he was working around the clock on a project that had no income stream aside from a kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that he was going to set up. He worked long hours and I had to trust his vision of what he told me was going to be the “greatest music video ever made”
As I began to ripen in my pregnancy I started to feel the disconnection between myself, baby and ASM.
I felt so alone in the journey and how huge this transition was going to be.
It seemed like his project was more important than becoming a father for the first time… he was glued to the computer.
I held my tongue for a while and just focused on preparing for my homebirth.
At 38 weeks I still didn’t have a solid birth plan in place. I had tuned in with baby and expressed how I wanted to free-birth at home… I felt so completely clear and grounded on that journey, though I was very respectful of ASM’s journey being a first time dad and mentioned we would hire an independent midwife if he felt it would ease his anxiety about not having any medical professionals present. I met up with a local midwife and still didn’t feel like it was necessary. The money wasn’t even an issue, it was more of a feeling of I am meant to do this in complete trust.
My Blessing ceremony was really beautiful. It was the same day the turquoise birth pool was delivered to the house by a local woman. The pool had held safe passage for a few local homebirth babes, and I was honoured to be able to join in that circle. I had a beading ceremony and also one to initiate Auraura into “Big Sisterhood”, we shared stories and food and my belly was Henna’d by Henna Temple Cairns. After the pool was positioned into the birthing room- the same room of conception we all gathered around and sung the space, ASM and I sat inside the pool and everyone placed their hands around and started drumming…
I felt the birthing vortex start to open.
The following weeks I was in the birth space every day, setting and preparing the space, singing, dancing, meditating, reading and sleeping.
This was going to transcend the function of the room, it was going to be a portal to an enigmatic realm… and I was the guardian of the gate…
The sacred bridge.
The Birth Shaman.
I still felt so alone on my journey and it surfaced a lot of hurt.
I felt abandoned and neglected by my husband in a time of need. It surfaced a lot of trust issues which became apparent as I was overdue.
With full intent I kept anchoring the birthing space, singing, belly dancing, calling baby in, I could feel the “Birthing vortex” opening and swirling around my head over the tub…
Everything was in place…
Everything was ready.
I was walking everyday, taking evening primrose internally and orally, having sex regularly for the prostaglandin to ripen the cervix… everything I could do to facilitate this birth.
I had organized two Doulas to be present for the birth, just to hold the outside space. One was a local medicine woman with potent herbal wisdom, the other a Birth into Being Practitioner.
There were a few Galactic alignments leading up to the birth and one particular night during a 3 day Cosmic alignment, we went into ceremony to naturally induce baby with Blue/black Cohosh.
I journey for the next 24hrs with the prepared tinctured, sitting on the grass in stillness calling baby in…
I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks and was excited about potentially having a baby by morning thinking it may be prodromal labour…
It was getting to the point where I was SO READY for baby to come… but nothing was happening… and I knew it was an energetic block.
I tuned into baby and knew it was from “Papa”
I had bitten my tongue for so long, felt like I was fulfilling my duty as a “supportive wife” trusting my husband’s work, purpose and process… but I started to feel blocked…
So I approached ASM one night in his studio, very firmly and expressed how I was feeling, how I felt that he wasn’t connected, how this is such a sacred time and some of the most important work he will EVER do in his life as he prepares to become a father…. I told him I needed his complete presence, that I could feel a blockage and it was coming from me not feeling safe or supported.
I was over his music video… Over it consuming his time and energy… over feeling like I was doing it alone… feeling like being a birthing Mother was unimportant.
That night he came into the birth room for perhaps the first time with intention…
It brought up a lot of my stuff…
I expressed to him I didn’t feel safe with him to be fully vulnerable in labour… I didn’t trust him to be able to step up and support me and so I felt like I was “holding on” and I didn’t want to feel that.
I expressed how I was scared that if anything happened during labour, birth, postpartum etc that I felt he wouldn’t be able to help in an emergency as he didn’t have his license (which I had requested he obtain years ago) and that this weighed on me.
All of my insecurities came up at the Birthing Doorway… in this vulnerable space… Although I felt like I had expressed myself honestly and respectfully, it wasn’t received very well… and he stopped talking to me for a while.
There were lots of tears, lots of healing…
I share this back story as a reminder that any subconscious pain or unresolved tension that is not addressed and healed beforehand, WILL SHOW UP at the doorstep of birth.
I continued to go for long walks everyday and meet with my midwife. I found out that I was classed as “High Risk” because I had chosen to freebirth.
This felt like an injustice and only gave rise to the birth activist in me. Even Though I had made a conscious choice to freebirth I did not do so naively. I had a lot of systems in place in the event of an emergency. The local Ambulance as well as the Cairns one were notified of my decision to freebirth at home and were on standby in case of emergency with a request to take me to Mareeba Hospital, unless the paramedics assessed the situation and would make the executive decision to transfer me to Cairns Base Hospital. I knew all the risks involved in birthing at home, and still felt safe and secure in a deep internal knowing that everything was going to be fine.
I had absolutely no fear. I had birthed before, I knew the language, I was familiar with the space and knew what to do. It almost felt like I was guided to claim that choice, to be an example and show that it is possible to birth safely and naturally at home.
I had been having contractions for a couple of days but no physical sensation to the tightening, though they were visible.
The morning of 40+10days, I went for a checkup with my Midwife and requested a stretch and sweep… as I did with Auraura. After my appointment I also went and saw a local Bowen Therapist who specialized in natural induction.
I had a rest when I got home and went for another walk. I started cramping.
By late afternoon I had a show. The sweep and inductions worked… The ball was rolling, baby was coming.
I felt like pre-labour was commencing and with the wisdom garnered from my last pregnancy, decided to rest. Since I had decided to homebirth, My mother, Mother in Law and my close sister and Birth Support were requested to keep the space clear, that meant no visits unless asked, as I had begun to get overwhelmed with naturally playing “hostess” to guests. Auraura was staying with her dad.
It was a challenge for me to express myself as I was just learning how to be assertive in my needs. I had a lovely meal that night and ASM and I decided to watch a bizarre foreign film. I wasn’t actually interested in it and tried my hardest to stay awake… Eventually I drifted off to sleep after midnight.
I awoke around 4:30 am to the beginning of contractions.
I got up, made myself some raisin toast and just sat in stillness, knowing all too well that I had crossed over the threshold of the Birthing Doorway and into the sacred rite of passage.
I emailed my father in law and let him know that labour had begun and that he would be hearing about the birth of his first grandchild soon. He did not come over with ASM mother, so it felt like a nice way to include him on this big life change.
I greeted the dawn in silence with a sense of purpose and clarity.
I then started to fill the birth pool.
ASM was still sleeping…
Part of me didn’t want to wake him…
I felt like I could labour and give birth on my own in silence… and present him with his child as he woke up.
It crossed my mind and I laughed to myself… then I felt that it would be disrespectful to do that.
Labour had started to set in and I began timing the contractions which progressed from 20 min apart- to 12, 7, 5 and 3. At around 6:30am I sent a message to Rachel to start singing baby in. I’m not sure if it actually sent as it was a very surreal experience trying to write a text message whilst in labour. Haha.
At approx 8:30 after the birth pool was pretty much set up, I went into the room where Adam was still fast asleep. I labored at the end of the bed, moaning deeply but gently… He didn’t wake up. The contractions started to become more physically intense and sharp… I was coming into Transition. I called for Adam to wake up… telling him it was time.
I entered my birth space and labored outside of the pool for a while while ASM fumbled around setting up the music. The contractions were intensifying and I got into the warm water. It was the middle of winter so I kept a singlet on. This labour was different from my last as it was very “in body” very physical… very clear, whereas with Aurura I was hallucinating and being flooded with what I can only describe as a full DMT hit- in and out of this reality… birth just happened to me.
With this birth, I could feel everything, I could feel baby, the parameters of the room, the house, the town, the birth field/grid where I was connected to all other laboring mothers in that moment. I felt like I was communicating in a sacred, unspoken realm…I could feel the enmeshment and fragility of life. I could feel mothers that had just lost their babies, lost their lives, mothers in both pain and bliss… it was all there… all apparent… I was connected to something much bigger than me… Pure, Sacred and Whole.
In that moment, I became the Birth Shaman, travelling all dimensions to receive my child, to bring baby through the Sacred Bridge safely. Guided by the wisdom of all Mothers that have walked and birthed before me. The web was crystalline and such a gift to experience and witness. In those moment of being in this Sacred portal, I received wisdom that I was requested to share with pregnant women to prepare them for the journey and to claim the Sacred Birthing ways of Initiation. Deepening into Wombman.
These precious moments of connection were interrupted by being offering frozen juice ice cubes, and being asking questions which frustrated me immensely… as I had expressed to how I birth and what space I needed to be held for me. Still I had compassion though- this was a new experience for him.
I remember the moment when I realised I needed someone else to hold space in the room… It wasn’t that I needed help… I needed an anchor and although he did the best job he could in being supportive, I felt that my husband did not offer that grounded presence of strength and I needed him in the pool with me, applying counter pressure to my back- and I also needed someone else’s hands to hold.
The Birth Supports were called and arrived soon after. As my Medicine Woman arrived, she asked me how I was doing, I looked up at her and she scanned me with her deep eyes, knowing it was all happening. She asked to check my bum (as during labour a redish/purple line appears which can help to measure dilation) I was in a full state of immobilisation as the adrenalin was surging through my body as my pelvis was opening to let baby’s head pass through.
I reached down and told her I was “crowning”
I squeezed her hands through contractions. The labour was so internal and I was very quiet and peaceful within. Breathing with full presence and intention. I allowed my body to do the work and was simply breathing baby down. I kept repeating (not sure if out loud or internal) that,
“we are ready to receive you baby, you are so loved, we are here, we are ready”
A few moments later I felt a familiar sensation… I reached down again to feel inside my vagina and realised what was happening. Unable to really speak I managed to pant,
I let my Doula know and kept breathing deeply. Consciously relaxing my jaw and throat, softening my mouth and relaxing into my body. I could feel the womb’s natural “fetal ejection response” so intensely. It was such a profound sensation. Surreal
My body and baby were doing all the work. I was a vessel… The Sacred Bridge.
I remember going to my dreaming space and “collecting” my child and walking baby through a dimensional gateway. Claiming my role as The Birth Shaman.
Then with a backup of intense surging pressure the membranes burst with a BANG! and set a ripple through the pool.. because I was in a wide legged squat and so open… the impact felt like it rippled through my entire being. Like the universe had just ripped through me in multi-dimensional waves. A nanosecond after the rupture I remember thinking,
“Holy fuck… here we go”
It was an intensely wild ride feeling my baby descend upon its short journey down the birth canal. It felt like there was no reprieve between contractions… Baby wanted out.. the F.E.R was so strong it felt like the birth was happening way too fast and I had to summon all my strength to actually control my muscles to hold baby so I wouldn’t split myself open. I can not express enough how fast it was… wild!
I felt the head begin to crown and reached down to clear away some mucous membranes. I could feel baby’s hair swaying in the water.
My heart began to swell…
I knew not to touch baby’s head during the crowning as it is very sensitive and can stimulate the breathing response. But it was just enough to have a very empowered primal sense of really “Birthing” as a process of action, birth wasn’t happening “To me” this time… I was actively engaged in physically facilitating the process. Fully claiming my role as Mother… And I understood SO much more about this Sacred rite of passage.
Auruara arrived and quietly took her place beside me, stroking my head. The look of wonder and support in her eyes was so beautiful. She wanted to get in the pool but I said no. So she stayed by me for a while and held my hand and whispered in my ears a few times. So precious that she was there to witness, and I knew what a gift this was to her, imprinting her for the future.
Babys head was out, and then I felt this ripple in the water, I Asked Adam if he had moved because it was quite disorientating and an almost unnatural feeling of being rocked from the inside… I then realised I was feeling the “corkscrew” turn that baby makes to birth the body. I never “pushed” I breathed deeply and let baby and body do the work.
One of the most profound experiences of my life.
ASM told me to lift myself up as I was squatting too low for baby to come out.
That was hard to move whilst you have a baby hanging in between your legs. Haha
Baby was birthed into dad’s hands and with a gentle grace in one fluid movement I turned and he passed our child back under my leg into my arms. I held this new soul face down across my arms and slowly brought it to the surface. I noticed the first meconium passing just afterwards. As I lifted baby out of the water, lovingly stroking the back to stimulate breathing, there was this slight anticipation waiting for the first breath.
It felt like it took ages, and there it was, a gasp, a cough and a splutter. In less than an hour after transition at the end of my bed, I reached down and realised I had given birth to another daughter.
I didn’t stay in the pool long, and got out to rest on a mattress I had prepared with towels and blankets. I was given 10 drops of Motherwort under my tongue and then rested with my new daughter upon my chest to initiate the birth crawl and her first feed from my Breast.
A rich and healthy placenta was passed within 10 minutes.
ASM, Auraura and I quietly sat together gazing at this precious new family member. Such a beautiful moment. As with Auraura, I had a lotus birth. This time more prepared for what that entails. The grandmothers were welcomed into the space, then Auraura’s dad and his pregnant partner.
The room swelled with love as birth had come to completion.
The placenta was left to “bleed out” before we prepared it with salt and herbs in a wrapped in a special “Lotus” bag that Rachel had made for me. Just before the placenta was transferred into the back, with my bare hands I tore a 20c piece size of the placenta away from the mother’s side. She flinched in that moment which was pretty trippy. I tore this small portion of placenta into 6 pieces, ingested one raw and froze the rest for later consumption during my hormonal transitions. It was such a primal and empowering act, as most mammals eat their afterbirth.
Although I felt strongly that my new daughters name was “Ashama” ASM said that it was too “ghetto” and so we began calling in her new name. We like Aaliyah, but there was a little girl not much older in our small town. Our second pick was Maia and then Iris. We settled for Maia.
Maia is a light, ethereal name with mystical overtones. In Greek legend, she was the fair-haired daughter of Atlas who mothered Zeus‘s favorite illegitimate son, Hermes. To the Romans, Maia was the incarnation of the earth mother and goddess of spring, after whom they named the month of May.
Adam and I were married in May, and so our marriage together was to bring Maia into the World.
I liked the idea of intoning my children with an attribute for their middle name. Clarity kept coming to me as that’s what the birth represented to me. ASM suggested “Lily” which means purity and was also his grandmothers favourite flower.
On day three after the umbilical had fully dried out and was hanging by a thread- causing irritations again , we had a small naming ceremony in the lounge room with both grandmothers and big sister Auraura.
ASM made a toast with a bottle of “Anubis” wine, her name was declared and I chewed the umbilical chord with my teeth. It tasted like what I imagine jerky to taste like. Ha, so primal!
Maternity Photo’s by Chanel Baran
honouring the feminine
Radian Mother. Photograph Chanel Baran
Henna by Henna Temple Cairns