Updated: Jan 21
Birth is an incredible opportunity for personal growth and can be the most poignant of life’s transformations. Like a caterpillar in its chrysalis that turns to jelly, recombines its elements, and emerges a butterfly, childbirth is an opportunity to grow wings and fly.
My childbirth experiences gave me multiple and diverse opportunities to grow, many of which took me almost a decade to fully realize and embrace. It was the awareness of those opportunities that led to the creation of the Bhava Birth course. I want all women and givers of life to know how truly remarkable childbirth is, if only we know what to look for, how to prepare for it, and how to embrace it.
Childbirth gave me the opportunity to surrender, and motherhood is giving it to me still. I didn’t realize it then, but over a decade 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 children. Childbirth 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 opportunity to heal. 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!” 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 opportunity to spiritually mature. Childbirth is a catalyst of spiritual maturation. With all of that surrendering and healing, 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 opportunity to use my voice. We don’t moan and groan our way through labor only to cope with the pain, but because if we don’t speak up, if we don’t emote, if we don’t communicate, we are not fully alive. It’s the metaphor for the rest of our lives. 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, the nosey neighbor, the pushy friend, and 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 opportunity to be still. 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 and staying busy. Then all at once 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 mother’s entire life. During pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum, a mother 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.
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 birthers 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. The journey is as important as the destination and we can’t simply prepare for a specific method or outcome with out potentially shortchanging ourselves. Birth is about so much more than where or how a baby is born—it’s about the transformational journey and sacred rite of passage.
Contrary to the notion that “it doesn’t really matter how the baby gets here, just so long as the baby gets here”—it matters more than we could ever possibly comprehend! That kind of logic is the antithesis of awakened birth. It says to the birther: you don’t matter, your needs aren’t important, and your personal experience is moot. To only aim for a “healthy mother and baby” is an antiquated goal. Bhava Birth is committed to healthy, happy babies and empowered, trauma-free, transformational birthing experiences for all birthers everywhere.
The word bhava is a Sanskrit word that Buddhists define as the continuity of life and death, including reincarnation, and the maturation arising therefrom. When bhavah is spelled with an ‘h’ at the end, it means “to give birth.” In other words, bhava is the growth we experience between each cycle of life, death, and rebirth. If it weren’t for bhava, that cycle would be hellish, all of us doomed to repeat history in a vicious, repeating loop. But bhava is that gap between death and rebirth where the growth—and evolution—happens. We aren’t repeating history, we are spiraling upward to new heights! This act of coming full-circle can’t be viewed two-dimensionally, but in 3-D, like an ever evolving and elevating spiral. Even better, we can see it as the double-helix of DNA. Bhava—and birth—is the process of evolving. It is how we become.
Learn more here: bhavabirth.com