e-Course Sneak Peek: Chapter 7 {Non-Violent Birth}

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be joyFULLy sharing  excerpts of some of the material covered in “The Holy Work of a Doula” e-course.

If it resonates with you, HOLLA!  Or, skip on over and register for the e-course on September 4, 2012 and join us in the sacred “circle of stones”


Excerpted from Chapter 7: Non-Violent Birth

It seems counter to our very humanity and biology that any violent act or tactic would be present in the holy space of childbirth. Violence is not only responsible for long-term physical, sexual, and psychological maladies but its short-term impact on the process of birth cannot be underestimated.

When fear is introduced into a birthing woman’s birth space, catecholamines (hormones responsible for the “fight or flight” response) may be released. The early release of these hormones can cause labor to stall or stop completely. Fear can be introduced in a variety of ways and her sense of safety can be thwarted from a physical, emotional, and spiritual perspective (“the holy trinity” or “holistic safety”).

This is why I ask all clients “Do you feel safe – emotionally, spiritually, and physically – where you are choosing to birth and with whom you are choosing to care for you?” I feel our culture underestimates the “holy trinity/holistic safety” of all three of these aspects, instead focusing on the physical health of the mother and baby only.

During my first birth, when the decision was made to transfer to the hospital (due to my baby’s breech presentation) I was 9cm dilated. I had been managing the steady waves of birth with power and pleasure. However, because I had an intense fear of birthing in a hospital, my labor mellowed and stalled completely by the time I arrived.

{relaxing in the birth tub during her labor…}

I remember how odd it felt to be sitting on the cold and bright ER table having the spinal placed without a trace of contractions. I reflected back on just an hour prior, floating in the warm birth tub with my husband, engrossed in the most cosmically expansive experience of my life. The idea that my body held this duality was an intense and bittersweet realization.

From Solaceformothers.org

“When a woman looks forward to giving birth to a baby, she may not know exactly how the birth will go, but she has a basic expectation of respectful and protective treatment from her partner and from maternity care providers. This expectation includes the right to understand and to participate in health care decisions, and a confidence in her own and her infants’ safety. When these things are not present, the results can be severe.”


Sharing the Holy Work…

  • What is violence?
  • What words and sensations come to your mind when you ponder the word?
  • Tell us how you perceived violence (or the lack thereof) during your birth.

2 thoughts on “e-Course Sneak Peek: Chapter 7 {Non-Violent Birth}

  1. My first child was a cesarian too, and I was in early labour when it happened – but I do remember that even those early once-in-20-mins contractions stopped cold when I entered the hospital. The violence I perceived was not latent, but on subtler planes.

    Not knowing who to turn to when the OB pushed for a c-sec for cord round the neck, and ultimately just giving in to the “cult of the expert” because it’s a precarious uncertain time, all new and happening for the first time, and you’re not seasoned enough to trust that inner knowing vs. the authority of the expert.

    Having everyone in your family get to hold the baby before he was passed to you, and feeling that gap where that primal initial bonding should have happened and didn’t. Not being able to properly hold your own baby because of the stitches. He would stare into my eyes, and I would almost be afraid to hold his gaze because there wasn’t a person there – just pure consciousness looking out of those eyes – which was too raw and unbearably holy for me to suddenly relate to.

    It was like I went through the spiritual transformation into motherhood without being able to physically integrate the transition. For months later I’d have these dreams where I’d have a fully pregnant belly, and then suddenly there would be a baby in my arms, without any medium of connection between these two disparate states of being.

    So basically I perceive violence in that swift impersonal medical action that left those bitter aching gaps of all the things that we are genetically blueprinted to experience during birth, and didn’t.

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