Ecological Birthing as a Sacred Rite of Passage
Birth is a sacred rite of passage for women, a life-altering experience that brings knowledge, experience, growth, and discovery. There is great power and potential inherent in pregnancy and birth. Labor is an altered state of consciousness that the woman journeys through in order to discover her birth power.
The sacredness of mothers, babies, and birth must be honored first and foremost, for the survival of humanity and our earth.
The newborn’s emergence at birth imprints the baby with the first impressions of the world. The baby has an instinct to be born, the mother’s body ripens for birth but she must be patient to wait for the baby’s unique time. Physiologically, it is the baby who initiates labor, signaling the mother’s body to labor and birth.
The baby is a conscious participant in the birth journey.
When a mother listens to her body and her baby, and gives birth instinctively, that child is imprinted with the ability to respect and honor its body and being.
Conscious birthing is an ecstatic experience, and women who birth instinctively can experience ecstasy and spiritual awakening. Birth becomes a tantric experience between the mother and baby, as they communicate through deeper consciousness and without words. Birth is one aspect of the women’s cycle of fertility and sexuality.
All the rites of passage in women’s sexual cycles are ecologically vital and have ecstatic potential.
The women’s sexual life cycle includes many rites of passage: menarche, menstruation, childbirth, and menopause. These are known as the Blood Mysteries, and have been honored by traditional cultures around the world for thousands of years. The women’s mysteries are opportunities for sacred connection to nature, deepening self-understanding, gaining new wisdom, and creative potential.
Women’s cycles are a deep source of connection to nature.
The menstrual cycle is guided by the moon; the lunar cycles influence the tides of the oceans and women’s wombs. Just as we experience the cycles of nature physically every day—the cycle of the day and night, the moon cycle, the solar cycle of the seasons—so we experience natural cycles within our bodies, the lifecycle, the menstrual cycle, and the birth cycle. The gestation of pregnancy is actually ten lunar cycles, and many people call the postpartum time, the babymoon.
Throughout gestation, the mother and baby are biologically one unit. The baby is dependent upon the health, nourishment, and love of the mother. Humans live in the womb of Mother Earth, and we are all dependent upon the health of the planet and our environment, which provides us with everything from atoms to atmosphere, to food, shelter, and medicine.
The Earth is our Mother. She gave birth to all of us; all the trees, mountains, herbs, flowers, animals, minerals, crystals, and humans are her children and family. Her web of interconnectivity and interdependence binds us all. This Earth-Body balance is vital for health; a balance between ecological health, such as a sense of connection to place and environmental health, and somatic health, the physical, personal, and inner essence of body and spirit well-being.
Humanity must honor our interdependence with nature in order to heal our bodies, and our Earth.
Western culture’s disrespect for the Earth is seen as the destruction of the environment, natural resources, ancient forests, atmosphere, and oceans. This is mirrored in the highly invasive treatment of women’s bodies in medicine, media, and childbirth practices.
Human culture is no longer in sync with the rhythms and cycles of nature. We are cutting open our bodies and our planet. The farther we push ourselves from living ecologically, in balance with nature, the more we kill ourselves and our planet. How do we find a way to regain balance?
In our vision to create a safe world for children to live in, we must begin with making birth safe for babies, so that they may feel at home in their bodies. Healing art midwifery must address the body, mind, heart, and spirit of mother and planet.
In order to heal birth, we must care for the whole health of mother, baby, family, and community.
The journey to healing begins with addressing the birth trauma that we carry, from our own births, and the births our ancestors. Through acknowledging where we have been, releasing our pain and fear, surrendering to the flow, and spiraling through the creative circle of life, we can heal our children, ourselves, and our universal family through co-creating conscious birth with peace and love.
Each birth brings a new opportunity to tend to the garden of birth.
Each birth is a seed for humanity.
In remembrance of my mentor Jeannine Parvati Baker, I share her words and sentiment that we will: "heal the Earth by healing birth."
Kara Maria Ananda