I am sure if you have read my blog or met me you will have heard me say 'birth is as much a spiritual experience as it is a physical experience' and 'Birth is a ceremony; a rite of passage'.
Each of my own four births have opened me to new ideas, possibilities and a new sense of empowerment.
Birth in my experience, transforms us in ways that only extreme events in life such as climbing a mountain, running a marathon or sitting through 4 or 5 rounds in a sweat lodge can do for us, yet it is raw, natural and has the ability to take you even deeper than anything in my experience in life can. I have had no other life experiences aside from these yet to compare birth and the spiritual expansion you gain through the inner endurance to. It takes a level endurance, physical strength, but but mostly mental strength...yet the thinking brain isnt as active. Its the chimp brain working hardest. The brain waves reduce and you are stripped to your core self.
This inner self, your core, is your spirit. Your spirit drives your intuition and its with your intuition, a strong spiritual transformation, or awakening can happen with birth. Your birth can be simple and you may not feel a transformation but I find that hard to believe. With every birth, as well as a new baby, a new person is often born within the mother too. She can never be the person she was before, her spirit has grown ten fold.
Birth is not only the mothers experience, and rite of passage to motherhood, but also of course the babys first journey to earth. Many indigenous people say it is their first labyrinth. It is a babys first rite of passage into life.
For the baby, birth is the moment they enter our atmosphere, the element of air, after a tiring, possibly hard, experience that encouraged them into the word from their cosy warm watery dark held space in the mothers womb.
Many cultures believe a mother opens spiritually to allow the baby and their spirit through to earth. In many places through history there is evidence of the birth space being spiritually protected and held by calling in protective deities, sacred drumming (for various reasons). Some believe that as the mother opens spiritually to birth the baby, she can also bring through other energies from past lives of the baby, or other spirits, some not so nice, and so protecting the birth space is vital for a safe birth. Protecting the space spiritually, is something we have forgotten in recent centuries in the UK and modern western society. I have read evidence from Ancient Eqypt, North America, Australia, Africa. ( It will all be in my book on 'Drumming and Ceremony for Birth' when i finish writing it :-) )
I met a student midwife a few years ago on a Midwifery Conference who was writing her dissertation on a subject around the baby's spirit at birth. She believed that many babies don't join their body and wake fully until they are born. She was studying babies who took a bit longer to 'come round' after birth, and suggested the voice of the father very often brings the baby round after an often fast or difficult time at birth. Babies who weren't spoken to and only worked on by midwives took longer to 'come around'. The safety and sound of the parents voices, or a midwife/ or doula who were present through most of the labour encouraging them to earth, telling them they are loved and safe worked better and more instantly in encouraging them to 'wake up'. This story was told to me a while ago and I never heard the outcome but she was near finishing, her results were looking like they would remain along the same vibe. I would love to chat to this midwife again, I dont even recall asking her name but it was a great chat over lunch! What she said to me that day makes sense. Perhaps people reading this wont see it as a spiritual experience, but as I listened to her I couldnt stop thinking of it from a spiritual perspective, its beautiful. It also shows that protecting the space gently with consistent support, spiritually, physically, and giving the parents and baby space to allow their instincts and intuition to work may help their baby arrive more comfortably, quickly and safe.
Spiritual birth preparation, to me is about clearing all our 'stuff', or as much as possible, to help us to become the clearest vessel for our baby to come through at birth. If we can move and clear our 'stuff' birth can be so much smoother for the mother and the baby. Obviously it isnt always simple, and shamanic healing can be very deep. There are many other ways to do the same practises for healing and clearing that arent 'shamanic' too, and there are various levels for each of us, to clear and focus our mind to be clear and trusting for birth.
Firstly we are nature! Nature is spirit. We are not separate, so lots of walks in the woods, on the earth, or by the sea, among natural landscape will feed your soul with natures colours, it will calm you, raise your vibration, and enable you to become more in tune with your own body. Experiencing the power of nature will also help you to trust your own body in birth. Eating well of course helps, and good sleep, as a clear body and head will mean a clearer intuition in which to notice your spirit voice better.
Taking time to meditate benefits birth a lot!! Especially in a natural landscape! Practising the ability to allow your body to do its thing, to remove your mind, and float away on positive birth affirmations, or up to the clouds in your imagination can help so much.
Taking time within meditation, or 'journey' work to connect with your baby helps a lot too. Allowing yourself specific sacred time to check in with your body and do a body scan, connect to your baby, and ask how they are doing. Its all simple stuff really but it all really helps.
When it comes to birth you don't have to do anything either but trust in the process of birth. All of the above I feel augments a good spiritual preparation, however remember, we are spirit in an earthly body, with all it requires for birthing our babys. Even your baby has the built in instincts to come into the world. Your body, soul, and your babys body and soul, together will do a fantastic job with the deep drive we each have inside us to experience life and give birth, your body knows what it is doing, you just need to get your earthly head out the way and allow your spirit to drive.