Saturday, May 15, 2021

Birth Portals

 Today I am on the second letter ... and that would be B, and B stands for Birth Portals.

This was posted on Instagram by @catearth76 and it is so true! But, and I am so full of "but..." and "wait a minute..." and "sorry what?..." these days, but what about those women who don't use that portal to birth their babies?

No, I'm not talking about how wonderful gentle cesarean is and how it's so great that we can lie on the surgical table and do skin-to-skin. Neither am I talking about women whose babies might have died if they hadn't been intervened with.

I'm talking about women who are pushed, coerced, bullied, lied to, manipulated, scared, threatened into agreeing to surgical birth for their babies when there really wasn't any good medical reason for it. This is a fact, it's real, and it's happening in a hospital near you. Especially now that Covid restrictions have made it impossible for a woman to bring the support she needs into the hospital or birth center, and it's made medical workers much more jumpy and afraid.

What is the actual spiritual damage that is done to that miraculous portal when a baby is yanked out through a surgical cut nowhere near the portal? How can we repair that damage? How can we repair that damage to babies, to women, and to the world? 

This is a question I've been struggling with for decades. I started working as a doula in 1997, and I truly thought that accompanying women to the hospital and providing doula support was a valid option. And, yes, I did have a pretty decently low c-section rate (around 10 %, compared to 25% at the hospitals I attended births at). But watching these births wore me down. Watching intelligent, adult women being lied to and treated like children (actually, since when was it fine to manipulate and bully little children?) hurt my soul.

I quit attending births for a while, for various reasons. And now I've started again, and I'm very clear that I only will accompany women who want to KNOW that they hold a sacred portal between their legs, and they WILL NOT be bullied into messing with it. This is my own bias speaking, partly because I wasn't strong enough to do that - I let every Tom, Dick and Harry and their female counterparts bully their obstetric, know-it-all, fear-mongering way into my obstetric activities. And the reasons behind that are many and unsolvable and complex. But I believe that the way I work now is the way to open up that sacred power, so that women can come back to the recognition of their own selves and their own bodies.

Women contact me at various places in their pregnancy journeys. Since I have been back in the practice, I have spoken with women who want me to walk with them throughout their pregnancies, and others who have called me during pregnancy, during labour, or after giving birth. 

When I walk with a woman through pregnancy, we meet online every week and speak for an hour. Sometimes we could talk about books, or what seeds they're planting. Other times we talk about how the pregnancy is progressing, or where they've decided to give birth, and whom they want around them when they're birthing. We talk about their fears, dreams, desires. We try to plan the kinds of support they will have after the baby is born, and they try to imagine what life will be like when they're responsible for feeding and providing for their new baby.

Sometimes we talk about stuff that's happening in their lives, either in the present or in the past, and how that will affect their birthing. Serious abuse in the past affects how we live in the present, and it can definitely affect our ability to reach deep within to find the power it takes to open that sacred portal. Fighting and anger in the present can sometimes mean that a woman no longer has a home where she can feel safe to give birth in, so that is another hurdle for her to jump over. Physical challenges and illness can also affect our body's ability to give birth, but these are rare. Often women worry too much about the physical aspects of pregnancy and birth, and they don't consider the emotional and spiritual weight of their pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

So, I try to walk with a woman and her family through this important time in their lives while maintaining an open spirit and an open heart. My open heart reflects with theirs and together we can find a place where that shy but powerful portal will open. Women are being cut open for no reason. Placentas are being pulled out with no reason. Women are not listened to when they say they have a pain, for no reason. Women are being ignored when they say they are scared, for no reason.

Or, wait, is there a reason? Who could want to keep that portal scarred and closed? Who could want to stop that power from being unleashed in the world? Who could want a world where we all remembered that we are all birthed through a sacred, fiery, spiritual, creative, awe-inspiring portal? Who might be afraid of a world that was held together by witch power and magic? 

Oh, so I forgot - this is a gratitude note! So I am grateful for Birth Portals. I'm grateful for witches, for womanhood, for love. I'm grateful for the circle of women who surround me and protect me. I'm grateful for the moon and the stars.

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