Thoughts Shared by Doulas

Preparing for an Empowering Birth

Since I became a mother, I have often shared stories with other women about the birth of their children. Women usually describe the events that "happened" to them like this, "The doctor decided to... the nurse said I must....". She describes her story as a bystander instead of the key player in the experience.  Becoming empowered by the birth of a child requires an assertive, proactive and confident attitude in order to make educated choices.

Labour and birth can often take unexpected turns and there are no guarantees that things will go the way we hope. However, there are some things we can do to make the outcomes closer to our ideal vision and there are also ways of learning to accept what may be necessary and still feel positive about the experience, even if it was different than we thought it would be.

Women often write out elaborate details of how they want their labour and birth to go as if it is a business plan that they can follow to get from point A to point B. Labour and birth are mysterious moments in life that a woman must embrace whenever and however they come.  It is a time to get rid of schedules and let go of our desire to control. This is scary for women who love to be on top of things and multi-task and plan ahead. Birth is one of life’s few experiences that we must rely on our natural animal instinct and intuition instead of our mind. It's amazing how much the mind can hold women back! I have been with several women in labour who reach a certain stage and then stop progressing. They don't trust their ability and their mind tells them "This is too scary.", "I can't do this.", "I need a professional to do this for me." As soon as their mind dominates over their labour their body stops flowing naturally with the contractions and when fear sets in, things slow down and the doctors start to fiddle.

If we can prepare the mind with helpful information and a good understanding of the body's amazing abilities during pregnancy, the woman can then let the brain step aside and go into instinctive mode on labour day.

I will give the example of my labours. When I realized I was in labour I made a focused effort to put myself in a calm space. I kept my voice low and my environment quiet and peaceful. In moments of intensity I would close my eyes and focus on my breath. When my mind needed something to do I would focus on prayer and positive affirmations and make a conscience decision to remain relaxed. By using these tricks my mind stayed quiet so that my body could focus on opening and eventually pushing.  Confidence in the body's ability and balancing our instinct, soul and mind interaction will always lead to a better birth.

Having said all that, there are almost always a few hiccups in labour and if we can be okay with that and accept whatever they may be, they don't become insurmountable.

I have regularly seen mothers who refused to consider the possible need for interventions, who in the end have an epidural or have a birth by caesarean.  They often end up with more interventions and then feel disempowered or disappointed.  I have also spoken with mothers who were set on having an epidural or caesarean who unexpectedly birthed naturally.

If a mother creates a few birth wishes to work towards instead of a birth plan it is often more achievable.

We all hope that birth doesn't take unexpected turns and dips, but the reality is that birth is full of the unexpected. If we can embrace these turns and when suggestions are made we can use our knowledge as well as our intuition to get to the other side. If we do this we can still feel empowered through the experience and in the end be able to say, "When I birthed my child I experienced....." or "I decided the best thing to do was..." and "My body began to...".  Labour and birth belong to the woman. The caregivers surrounding her are their to support, facilitate and assist when she needs it, but in the end, the woman births her baby, this is her right and her design by nature. As soon as we understand and embrace this process, the birth of our child can become one of life's great moments of growth and empowerment. -Hailey Fudu

Celebrating Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
...Pregnancy is one of the most sacred bonding times between the incoming soul and the agreeing parents. Ideally during that time the mother should be held in a very tranquil space because hormones are coursing through her body, causing upheaval. The environment she occupies should ideally be of a very harmonious nature. There was a time when mothers-to-be were taken into sacred temples and spent their time
within these temples and the gardens of the temples for the duration of their pregnancy. During that time they studied numerology, astrology, astronomy, physics, and nutrition. Alternative methods of developing psychology were also vital and the mother was taken through many programs of self healing for the purpose of ensuring her issues did not become a limitation of the child. During that time she was in telepathic communication with the incoming soul. She was fully aware of the contract she agreed to and was also aware of what aspects of her genetic imprint and physical experience were contributing to the incoming souls’ journey. The mother was fed optimum nutrition, everything of an organic nature. She participated in gentle dance and movement and spent many hours sleeping or simply just resting, usually in nature. Meditating to the sound of music eased the transition for the incoming soul to ground more energy in the incoming body. This soul should be welcomed with the utmost humility, respect and honour. Very little attention to these details are paid in modern birth situations. No wonder so many children put on their brakes when they have to come in and then later express their distress outwardly through all sorts of dysfunctionalities – like ADHD, ADD etc.
During pregnancy, there are numerous ways of celebrating the growing life within a mother-to-be’s body, as well as celebration and honouring of the woman-to-mother transition that occurs simultaneously. Some milestones during pregnancy that are great ‘markers’ for “Let’s Celebrate!” are firstly, celebration of the pregnancy: when a mother finds out she is pregnant. Seems a bit obvious hey? But how many people do you know actually mark the occasion and consciously take on board the journey they are now embarking on?
The next ‘marker’ that one can make use of to consciously action a celebration of some kind is when one reaches the end of the first trimester. Lots of moms will give this time some thought in terms of the chances of miscarriage happening past this stage reducing drastically, but what about celebrating this time from a place of love, instead of giving it focus due to our fears? Celebrating the end of the first trimester is for the purpose of having an attitude of gratitude for the physicality of both the growing baby inside AND the beginning of wonderful and beautiful body changes in the mother-to-be.
There are other markers along the journey of pregnancy – markers that help one get in touch with the birthing of oneself as a mother, alongside bringing awareness to the act of growing a baby – growing a human being! There are times when the mother is pushed to look at all issues and emotions (positive and negative) that are showing themselves to her. This is a time to celebrate the opportunity for the mother to step up her emotional maturity, thereby ensuring that her issues are not projected onto the baby. Elena Tonetti (www. will also tell you that the more work you do on yourself before the birth of your baby, clearing and re-coding, the better the outcomes of the birth for both mother and baby, and the relationship going forward.
A baby is a gift of hope and promise to us and to the world at large. It is a continuation of the power of life expressed in the new little face that is held. To honour and celebrate what has come from the Divine, to be given out to the world through the mother, is a very special moment in time for family, friends and most especially parents. The more mindfulness we apply to our pregnancies, the more the art of consideration,
celebration, telepathy, honouring, reverence and altruism can be applied to and run over into the celebration of pregnancy, labour, birth and welcoming of a new soul. This can be done in a multitude of ways. Moms should be supported and guided to experiencing their labour in an environment that supports all of her needs but especially affords her space, time and peace in which to labour exactly how her body and the baby require it to be –allowing hormones to work as they should do; to allow relaxing, feeling, moving, chanting, noise-making, listening, aligning with each other, and much more, to take place.
The mother’s life will not be the same again – however, with an empowering and embracing perspective, her life can be richer, more colourful and more expanded than she ever thought possible.
...The art and magic of celebration is a first line tool any mother can make use of in increasing her relationship with herself and her baby, ensuring a more intuitively strengthened journey for them together. It is now time to bring back the power and importance of the celebration of the arrival of a new soul on Earth. - Colette Van Heerden