Nearly eight and a half years ago, I prepared to become a mother. I was ready to embark on what I felt to be a sacred journey that was simultaneously unique and universal. I had heard the empowered birth stories of friends in the U.K. I had read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. I was confident in my ability to give birth. The various practices of pranayama for different stages of birth described in Mother’s Breath had become second nature. I was ready for a kind of birth that did not manifest because my baby was breech. The natural birth I imagined crumbled into a medical birth that I was not prepared for.
Eight and a half years later, I am given back the sacredness of my first day as a mother. In a circle of doulas, doulas-to-be and midwives, we shared our stories, our experiences made flesh by translating our sensations and thoughts into words spoken aloud and held in reverence, celebration, and compassion. There were stories of empowered and ecstatic births. There were stories of disrespect and disregard. The empowered and ecstatic held and acknowledged the disrespect and disregard. Allowed it to be seen and heard and confirmed that birth was not meant to be this way. That the shame and humiliation that some of us felt was not ours to be carried.That we did not do anything to deserve the treatment and the behaviour we received was from a broken system based on fear, pathology, mechanization and convenience. Birth is sacred, organic, unscripted. There is no schedule, no right way. There is only a woman becoming a mother, a soul taking flesh, and the tender meeting of the two – flesh to flesh, heartbeat to heartbeat. If the sanctity of the first hour is not honored and the preciousness of the first days not preserved, a tremor of doubt, disconnection, distrust winds its way through our relationship with ourselves and our babies. There is more than being grateful that our babies are healthy, or are surviving. There is a righteous anger for the disrespect and violence of a traumatic birth even if unintended. There is a deep and profound sorrow for the heartbreak of birth loss. None of this is simply clinical, medical, minimal. All of it is real and raw and a lived experience that is held in our body, our minds, our souls. Know that there are ways to heal and to restore the sacredness of the moment you became a mother.
My personal experience of birth had motivated me to offer pregnancy yoga classes that facilitated moms-to-be to gain confidence in their body to birth and to trust in the guidance of their intuition. I have loved working with parents-to-be either privately or in workshops to explore their way to a positive birth. And now, I am deeply grateful to the Ibu Robin and Debra Pascali-Bonaro for the generous sharing of wisdom and training Eat-Pray-Doula
With great respect and love,
💖 Maharani 💖