Birth as a spiritual journey

Sometimes I will be asked by an expecting couple,“What is your birth philosophy?”  I’ll confess, it has evolved over time, and has been influenced by each birth I’ve attended, each mother I’ve worked with, and each continuing education opportunity I’ve learned from, plus nearly 7 years of mothering.  I feel confident, now, that my “philosophy of birth” will endure all of the future births, mothering experiences, and workshops I will face, unlike that of my former philosophies.

Previously, I would tell a couple something about natural birth, and how I believe it to be best for mothers and babies.   At another time, I would offer a more vague statement about how it mattered not what I believed, but what the family believed, since I was merely a support to them and their birth plan.

The truth is, my philosophy of birth does matter to you, and you deserve to know my true feelings and beliefs.  A doula can say she offers non-judgmental support, but she will almost definitely still have biases, no matter how private she keeps them.  This should be obvious!  How can a person be so passionate about birth that she seeks a career as a doula, but then is so weak in her stated birth philosophy?  I will no longer be that timid.  It is only fair, when you are spending a considerable sum of money on birth support, to feel the person you have hired has beliefs that are enthusiastically aligned with your own.

So without further ado, here are my unabashed beliefs:

Birth is a spiritual journey.  You will be molded by the experience of becoming a parent.  

Birth is also anatomical and biochemical, physical, mental, and emotional, yet none of the facets can be separated from the spiritual.  Attempts to segregate the pieces of a holistic birth within a holistic mother result in negative repercussions.  

You can expect to be humbled and uplifted, humbled and uplifted, humbled and uplifted.   Feeling powerful at times, and vulnerable at times, you will learn how warrior strength is gained by yielding to the divinely designed process.  

As vessels for a new generation, pregnant and birthing women may have a heightened sense of our being temples for the Holy Spirit.

It is reasonable before, during, and after birth to seek counsel and support, to praise God, and to pray without ceasing.   We will never again face a transition like birth, until death, when we may see God face to face.  

Within the spirituality of birth, there is relationship.  You can surround yourself with people who may be an encouragement, or who may, in ways, be able to lighten your burdens.  You can also birth in solitude.  Either way, your journey of pregnancy and labor will have lasting effects for the children you bear.

As a baby receives continuity of care from womb to breast, a mother, too, needs continuity of care from pregnancy through postpartum.  Babies have a God given instinct to suckle after birth; mothers, too, have God given instincts, which must be revered and guarded against the influence of people who may believe they know better.

Birth is a means to insight and discovery, not only for mothers and babies, but also for any spouse/partner, friend, or professional attendant who is blessed to be invited by the mother to be a witness.

Birth guarantees nothing other than a journey.  How we respond to the journey — not only of birth, but parenting and life as a whole — is what defines us.

That is birth. 

Take it or leave it.  

These statements form the basis for my perspective when serving in labor, pregnancy, and postpartum.  They are the inspiration behind my choices when sharing information, and they are a huge part of my drive to do the work of a doula.  I hope you will agree or come to agree with me on this philosophy, but if not, another doula will likely give you the support that you feel is worth your money and time.  God bless you, as you decide on your doula!

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