THE BODY AND CHILDBIRTH
What does it mean to be IN your body? Often times, we find ourselves walking around our day to day lives in what I like to consider a "trans-state", going through the motions of life without being fully present. When you are unable to be present with yourself, you tend to lose touch with what your body is communicating to you. If there is one experience that forces you to become intensely and immediately aware of your body it is childbirth.
When ones first experience of being fully present with their bodies is through childbirth, it can sometimes lead to an unnecessarily upsetting and painful birthing experience. This however does not have to be the case and there is no physiological reason that it should be the case.
This is why at Sacred Pathways we offer a wide range of classes and services to assist you in slowing down enough to connect, listen and learn to trust in your body’s natural abilities.
Birthing through the Hero’s Journey
The Hero's Journey forms the basic template for all great stories as described at length in Joseph Campbell’s, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The archetypal character of the hero is someone who has given their life over to someone or something bigger than themselves. The Hero's Journey is about growth and passage. The journey requires a separation from the comfortable known world, and an initiation into a new level of awareness, skill, and responsibility, and a return home. Each stage of the journey will be experienced as one embarks on their journey into motherhood.
This journey is in essence a rite of passage that can be applied to any major transition or endeavor in one’s life. In this case, I am using the journey as a framework for the experience of labor and delivery. A rite of passage has three stages; separation, initiation and reintegration. In today’s medical model of birth, the experience of pregnancy labor and delivery has become far removed from the woman herself. A woman’s time to be considered in a spiritually separate and sacred space often goes unrecognized and the birth process is rarely seen as an initiation. Time and again, a woman’s experience of reintegration is lacking social supports and positive acknowledgments. These unacknowledged rites of passage during motherhood can have detrimental consequences to the health of mom, baby, family and culture.
A woman’s natural ability to birth has been overshadowed by fears, risks, interventions and the basic belief that a woman needs help. Often, birth trauma arises from a woman’s sense have having things done TO her rather than being an active participant in her own birthing process.
By using the 12 steps of the hero’s journey as part of the birthing process, women are empowered as participants in their own journey; A journey that countless women have gone on before them. These steps help create an awareness that a woman is never alone in this experience. The act of birthing becomes a process where women have the ability to reclaim their power and tap into a rich lineage of all the Heroes who have gone before them. The experience of birth then becomes one less about avoiding pain and one of tapping into the process of trust, surrender and ultimately crossing the threshold into an experience where ones ordinary world becomes extraordinary. By naming these experiences through the process of the Hero’s Journey, a woman is empowered to reclaim this rite of passage and bring deep meaning to the experience.
This journey will continue to repeat itself until the end of time. When parents come home, the journey begins once again as they embark on their new role. This framework helps reconnect people to a collective sense of meaning and purpose. Without this framework, what might be considered an common and sometimes even isolating event can be seen and experienced as a moment of potential transformation and growth. When a women journeys through labor within this model, a sense of purpose and strength can be found.