A few years ago I studied with Kara Maria Ananda on her Conscious Birth Emissary course. It helped me expand my thoughts and awareness, and consolidate how I was feeling at the time about my work. I have long walked a path between holistic midwifery and the need to work within a medicalised system, and have found it enlightening – to be challenged in so many ways and learn so much, it has changed me forever. I feel grateful that I have been on the inside and on the out, supporting women, and finding sisterhood in both spaces.
Here are my thoughts from a few years ago. What are yours?
Why do you feel that Conscious Birth and Parenting are important for women, men, babies and families?
At the beginning of a new life on earth I feel men and women are at their most open and receptive to becoming more conscious in all areas of their lives. Across all walks of life women are prepared to change their daily habits to nurture their growing baby, and their partners and families are preparing to support these women ready to welcome thee new baby into the family. Consciously preparing for their baby during pregnancy, making choices about how their baby will come into the world and being aware of conscious parenting choices can impact on their lives not only as a family but as an individual. We can feel empowered as women and men, through making truly informed choices that recognise the sanctity of birth and new life. It can be the start of a transformative process as individuals on this earth that affects all areas of our lives and those we come into contact with. It not only heals us as parents but helps heal society and the earth as we each pass on that empowerment and knowledge to those around us. As each baby is born into a family that is making conscious choices in birth and parenting, a new consciousness is being born into that community as the child grows, and shares and educates those around them.
What do you feel are important characteristics of a Conscious Birth Emissary?
A Conscious Birth Emissary I believe needs to have a breadth of understanding of the culture of birth in the community in which she lives. Around the world there is a great need for Conscious Birth Emissaries in all communities, but each one of those is different, and I feel that this could affect how that emissary may respond to the specific needs in her community. In the UK we are fortunate to not have as medicalised a system as the US, and all women have access to midwives. However most women approach pregnancy and birth with fear and anxiety, they accept the medicalised midwifery model of care and follow the lead of the professionals. Women are not connected to their own body or baby, and often suffer postnatal depression, and traumatic births.
However I truly believe that as a birth emissary we can inspire, educate, inform and encourage women to find their own way through their journey of pregnancy, birth and mothering, in such a way that they feel empowered. This is not I feel about birthing at home or without medical assistance where necessary but being empowered to make choices that are right for them and their baby, whether that be declining induction or requesting a caesarean. For some this will be their empowered decision. Being non-judgmental and accepting of all is vital. Each woman comes to birth with her own story of being born, and mothered, hearing the stories of those around her and developing her own beliefs around pregnancy and birth. There is no right or wrong way to birth I believe, but as a birth emissary we can share positivity and passion for birth, educate where fear abounds due to misinformation, and encourage women to actively participate in celebrating this rite of passage. Recognising that birth is more than a medical event is so vital, and still so lacking in our society. I feel that a creative spirit would be valuable to find new ways of spreading the love about pregnancy and birth, finding new ways to educate and inform women and their community about the power of birth and motherhood. I also am learning that we need to focus on what is good and positive in our communities and within our healthcare system. There can be a lot of negativity around how ‘bad’ the system of maternity care is, and we can become focused on this as birthworkers. I often felt I was working ‘against’ the system. I now feel that a positivity and love towards those that may not yet be open to conscious birthing may have so much more of an impact, than perpetuating anger or anxiety. As we love those around us, our colleagues, fellow birthworkers and all whom we come into contact with, I believe we can truly help people open their hearts to change.
Are you a birth emissary?