Many times in our culture, when a woman gets pregnant, the immediate focus goes directly to her baby and the birth. It’s almost as if the wholeness of the pregnancy and the woman herself gets skipped over as all direct focus becomes about the birth. This is not to say we do not coach pregnant woman on what to eat, weighing her, checking in to make sure baby is fine and dandy, give her proper books to read, and so on, but what about her spiritual and emotional journey to that final day and beyond? I believe that pregnancy ITSELF is a sacred journey, not just the BIRTH part, and its critical that we recognize that as true. We have given women a huge dis-service by filling their heads up with so much “birthy” knowledge that she gets overwhelmed instead of uplifted, educated instead of prepared.
I propose that women take on what I call a “pregnancy practice”, much like a monk meditates everyday or a chef cooks everyday or a dancer practices her craft every-day, so must a pregnant woman step into her journey with awareness, consciousness and intention every single day. A “pregnancy practice” involves NOT preparing for birth, UNTIL the end of her pregnancy when the time has come for her to ready herself for birth and being present in the moments of her pregnancy, thus allowing herself to experience all of the emotional tides that run through it. When a woman can do this, she is no longer just a body or a vessel for birthing a baby, she is a woman on a personal mission…to motherhood. She has an opportunity to re-define herself along the way, look deeply at the ebbs + flows of her days as a “pregnant woman”. I encourage women to sink deeply in their pregnancy journeys and stir around in their awareness pots the juicy topics of sex, partnerships, food relationships, sacred experiences, connection, sisterhood, ceremony and personal empowerment.
Being PRESENT during pregnancy is also practical. This skill will serve women in their birth experiences and in motherhood. We can teach a woman all kinds of tricks and techniques for birth, but unless she truly knows how to go back to herself, find her core, and can easily access her connection to her highest self, every technique becomes more like a Band-Aid and less like a cure. Teach a woman to count on herself and you have turned the philosophical concept of empowerment to an actual tangible practice that will carry her through her life as a mother.
In my opinion, in order to REALLY change the birth conversation, we have to give pregnant women a new language to speak, new ideals of knowing themselves as pregnant women, then as birthing women, then as mothers, new depths of understanding expectations and personal connection to the process and most importantly, we have to give them the gift of TRUSTING themselves.
This kind of power makes real change. Instantly. Empower a woman by teaching her HOW TO DO EMPOWERMENT, not just say the word, and you have taught her to fish, and with that kind of skill…well, lets just say, look out establishment, change will be a comin’ like it or not. The beauty of this will happen so effortlessly that all of our shouting from the rooftops will seem as quiet as a whisper.
So a pregnancy practice is as needed as the air we breath, as the food we eat, as what warms us at night…it’s the essential piece missing for women, and its time to open that door! One woman at a time, inviting her to the sweet table of her sacred journey, will feed her, her baby and her family for the duration of the pregnancy, will be the nectar she drinks at the birth, and the nourishment she conjures up for her family for many years to come.
This is my dream…how about you?
Author of Sacred Pregnancy
Founder of the Sacred Pregnancy Movement