Birth is a gift and the most poignant of transformations in a mother's life. Like a caterpillar in its chrysalis that turns to jelly, recombines its elements, and emerges a butterfly, childbirth is an opportunity to discover your wings.
My childbirth experiences gave me multiple and diverse gifts, many of which took me almost a decade to fully realize and embrace. It was the awareness of those gifts that led to the creation of the Bhava Birth course. I wanted all women to know how truly remarkable childbirth was, if only we know what to look for, if only we know how to prepare for it, if only we know how to embrace it.
Childbirth gave me the gift of surrender, and motherhood is giving it to me still. I didn’t realize it then, but ten years ago when I muscled through a lengthy, drawn-out labor to deliver my first child, a daughter, I was experiencing the microcosm of motherhood. You can’t control labor, just like you can’t control your children. Labor teaches us how to let go from the get go. The nature in which babies are born is much like the nature in which children grow up—it’s messy, unpredictable, and most likely not at all what you had planned. The more you try to control it, the more it evades you.
Childbirth gave me the gift of healing. That first time, with my daughter’s birth, felt like my body was betraying me. I had trained it well to be self-contained, to hold onto everything very tightly, to keep myself from spilling over the edges. As my body hummed “open…let go…relax” my mind and emotions screamed “It’s not safe…keep it in…don’t let go…just hold on!” But my body did open, slowly, painfully, eventually, and with it came a lifetime of suppressed pain. Once it was out, I had a choice—stuff it back in, or let it go. Birth gives all of us that choice.
Childbirth gave me the gift of spiritual maturation. That’s right, childbirth is the quintessential spiritual puberty. With all of that surrendering and healing, we tend to find ourselves in the process. We tend to evolve and mature and recommit to life. The energy of Kundalini Shakti demands that we make something more of ourselves, that we rise up in our power and claim our place on this planet. Unless we don’t know how, because no one told us we could, because no one showed us the way, because no one gave us permission. I give you permission. This course will show you how.
Childbirth gave me the gift of voice. We don’t moan and groan our way through labor only to cope with the pain, but also because if we don’t speak up, if we don’t emote, if we don’t communicate, we metaphorically die. It’s the metaphor for the rest of our life. We often miss this opportunity because it’s so subtle, but having a baby is filled with decision making. Which provider? Which location? Which interventions? Which baby gear? Which labor techniques? …on and on. But therein lies the growth. Women that learn to use their voice in the labor room (and with the overbearing in-law, and with the nosey neighbor, and with the pushy friend, and with the expert doctor) will have it forever. Those that acquiesce, who let everyone else make their decisions for them—they have a harder time finding their voice later in life.
Childbirth gave me the gift of stillness. It was particularly my postpartum experiences that exposed how addicted I was to busyness. The day my mother returned to her home two hours away from me, and my husband returned to full-time work, I found myself alone with my newborn, feeling utterly and completely inadequate. I was terrified to be alone with myself. I was terrified of the boredom and monotony. The natural overwhelm of postpartum is already acute—caring for a newborn, healing from pregnancy and labor, dealing with exhaustion and sleep-deprivation, figuring out breastfeeding, etc.—but then add to that my inherent fear of myself. I had spent my whole life up until that point going, going, going. I was so good at doing, I was so good at accomplishing, I was so good at staying busy. But now, there was nothing to do and everything to be. I couldn’t run away. My baby needed me. I had to be there. I had to be present. I had to be still. But I fought against it, and I was miserable. Until, with my fourth baby, once I figured out the magic of stillness, I chose it. I leaned into it. I accepted it. To this day, I consider that final postpartum experience to be the most holy, the most sacred. I met myself there.
The birthing experience is evolution at its fullest; It is the microcosm of a woman’s entire life. During her pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum, she is provided with an infinite array of little glimpses into her psyche: how she responds to authority, her self-perception and body image issues, and how she handles pain or discomfort, to name just a few. In many ways, during her childbearing year, a woman’s entire life is exposed—her mental health, emotional well-being, and physical body. In a literal and metaphorical way, she is opening— she is revealing all that was hidden.
What if giving birth is like being handed a still-frame photograph of your soul? Childbirth allows a woman to conceive, not just a child, but also a new way of life, to be remade from the inside out, to be reborn. She meets herself, intimately, tenderly, and painfully. In so doing, she is liberated. As Eckhart Tolle once said, No one awakens within their comfort zone.
This childbirth course is unlike anything you’ve likely studied before, because it strives to bring balance to the modern birth culture, it is eclectic (pulling from dozens of different approaches, methods, and sources) and it fully endorses collaborative care. You will not be taught that “there is only one right way to give birth,” because ultimately, there are as many “right” ways to give birth as there are women! In reality, Bhava Birth is a philosophy that opens you up to a whole new perspective on birth. At the heart and soul of this course, the underlying message is that YOU are the method. When a woman taps into her primal birth wisdom and discovers her intuition—she’s ready. There’s nothing else she needs to see her through. She learns to turn inward for coping rather than outsourcing to a certain toolbox or method. Too often, women who study rigid methods get stuck in their heads during labor: “Am I doing this right?” Mama, just do you—then you can’t do it wrong.
When a woman discovers that she is powerful, that she has a voice, that she is in charge of her body and how she experiences birth, she moves out of the passive, victimized role into that of the wise woman. Women that are empowered in birth become empowered in life. When she no longer lies prostrate, flat on her back, when she can move intuitively, when she can vocalize freely—everything changes. Doctors must then ask her for permission, not the other way around. Consent in the labor room is as vital as consent in the bedroom. You cannot separate them.
In case it isn’t clear, this isn’t about medicated birth versus non-medicated birth. Awakened mothers give birth in every setting: via c-section, epidurals, or home birth. No matter how you give birth, your experience will impact the rest of your life. It’s less to do with finite outcomes and more to do with everything that comes before it. It’s about the education, the preparation, the treatment, the respect, the pain, and the journey. It’s about women deciding what’s best for their own bodies and then choosing it. We can’t control birth, we can only control our response to it—surrender or suffer, it’s up to us.
Contrary to what well-intentioned but very mistaken doctors, nurses, midwives or loved ones may have told you in the past, that “it doesn’t really matter how the baby gets here, just so long as the baby gets here”—they were wrong. It matters more than we could ever possibly comprehend! That kind of logic is the antithesis of awakened birth. It says to the woman, “You don’t matter. Your needs aren’t important. Your personal experience is moot.” To only aim for a “healthy baby” is an antiquated goal. The ‘ends’ matter, and so do the ‘means.’ We should always continue to value healthy babies, but never at the expense of healthy mothers—healthy in mind, heart and body.
The word bhava is a Sanskrit word that Buddhists define as the continuity of life and death, including reincarnation, and the maturation arising therefrom. In other words, bhava is the growth we experience from the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. But we can’t view it two-dimensionally, like a circle, but rather three-dimensionally, like an ever evolving and elevating spiral, or double-helix, like DNA. Bhava is the process of evolving. It is how we become.
The Bhava Birth approach draws upon the wisdom of yoga to honor and support the whole person, helping mothers to evolve and rebirth within their childbirth experiences—because the greatest gift we can receive from giving birth is the gift of becoming who we were always meant to be.
Learn more about Bhava Birth here: bhavabirth.com