Guest Blog 'Shamanic Drum Journeying During Pregnancy – Healing and Getting Out of the Way.
This is a really beautiful story of Chloe's pregnancy journey and freebirth experience augmented by the connection to her intuition, ancestors, and baby Nora's soul through drum journeying and birthing her own drum.
I had the honour and privilage of supporting Chloe with our online drum journey sessions.
I hope Chloe's story inspires many. Its raw its beautiful, its deep, its truly inspiring.
'About six months into my second pregnancy I had a major turn around on where and how I wanted to birth. As I really began to follow my intuition I was drawn to drum journeying and drum making. I was looking for ways of grounding myself in labour and could imagine the earthly tones of a drum beat being my connection to this realm. I was scared of opening up completely and allowing this new soul to come through me. I felt that to surrender and open to the spirit world completely I’d need some protection. I was drawn to the drum for that reason. I wanted to use it to create a protected environment where I’d feel able to surrender safely into the crossing of the worlds.
I searched for drum journeys on YouTube but they were not right. So I followed a few people on Facebook and came across Eva – Bay a Shamanic Doula. There was so much spiritual work around this pregnancy and she was wonderful. I picked her brains about traditional practices and ways to protect the space etc. I wished at the time that I lived closer to her but things are always as they are meant to be.
She did three drum journeys with me online. I was skeptical about their effectiveness at first but they were incredible experiences. Perhaps being physically alone can give you more freedom to experience your own energy. You still have a virtual guide, but that persons energy doesn’t interfere with your own. I would follow Eva and smudge the space and call in the elements. If we were together I would have left that to her, but being alone meant I had to do it, giving it all deeper meaning. Having a steady slow drum beat to listen to whilst meditating and travelling into my womb space to meet the soul I was carrying provided a sort of bridge between worlds. It was representative of a heart beat. Possibly subconsciously I remembered the sound of my own mother’s heartbeat which was incredibly comforting. From this safe haven I was able to delve deeper into the space where the new baby lay. Our connections were so vivid. So clear and so beautiful. Our souls danced, we communicated without words. In a sort of heart to heart telepathy. Not brain to brain. Logically non of this made sense but being able to switch off my prefrontal cortex and listen to my intuition, to my baby, to the future was a huge asset in being able to ‘free birth’. (Whether or not you would class my birth as an official ‘free birth’ is up to you. I never committed to the term fully during the pregnancy. I had minimal midwifery care during the pregnancy, birthed alone but they were present for the birth of the placenta and Nora and I received care in the first two weeks postpartum. I birthed my baby unaided, just me, my 1 year old and my partner. He says it was definitely a free birth, I can not come to put a label on it quite yet) The journeying reinstated such trust in myself, trust that my body and this baby knew exactly what to do. It was a major tool for getting out of my head and into my wisdom. A few days before my due date my emotions and fears were running riot. I did an online drum journey. I had the question in mind: ‘what do I need to do for you to come out smoothly?’ ‘what can I do for you little baby?’ The answer was calm and clear, ‘let go of your fears’, ‘relax’. It was so obvious and reassuring. This baby was so confident in knowing what to do. I told her I was sorry for bringing her my worries, that they were mine and not hers. That I would care for her when she got here and that I would let it all go so we could birth easily. Which we did.
I was called so strongly to ‘birth’ a drum. I found a drum making day and the process was wonderful. Once settled in I felt so calm. The spirits that chose me were waiting for me, obviously. The threading of the lace was so meditative and I took the time to reflect on my own birth (the one where I came from my earth mother). Again I sat, and allowed my heart to connect with the process. It was beautiful. It was something I’d heard of a few times, about healing your own mother line and exploring the birth you came into this world with. The blueprint of how you entered this world would affect your ability to birth so it was something I wanted to heal. The drum birthing was said to be representative of that. I was expecting complications or something to happen but it wasn’t like that at all. I was calm and felt light. The process was time consuming and could have been stressful but I felt the spirits of the drum were soothing me. I felt the spirit of the skin was young and carefree. The only time I felt anything but calm and peace was when the instructor, a white 60+ male wanted to use my drum as an example to tighten the strings. I said okay even though I didn’t really want anyone else touching my drum. He started demonstrating to the group what to do next and then found himself muddled half way through. I could see where he’d gone wrong but felt I should let him continue out of respect for his work. This continued for quite a while until I eventually said I could do it myself now and he was taken by surprise, ‘oh right, yeah okay’, and he handed it back. The rest of the group seemed relieved I’d spoken up. The whole time I watched him handling my drum, or what was symbolic to me as my birth, my baby, I could feel anger and a strong protective feeling. He was the patriarchy, ‘saving’ the ‘helpless’ woman – who knew perfectly well what she was doing – and it was another step in the process for me wanting to birth alone – our of the system, with my own instincts and wisdom as my guide.
My painting titled:
‘By the light of the moon she remembered
the call of the wild, she surrendered.’
After making my drum I got to journey to meet the spirit of the goat and the ash tree. I listened to the guide play a fast drum beat. I first came into contact with a kind, wise, old, light coloured tree. I don’t know what an ash tree looks like so I was surprised I got any visuals at all there. The branches of the tree were dancing around me, hugging me, lifting my posture and making me feel loved. The energy was very feminine. A grandmother’s energy. Then as I sat under the tree a young goat appeared and hopped around us playfully. He was full of joy and energy. At the end of the journey he skipped around myself and the tree, binding us in a beautiful ceremony. I felt that the drum making had provided me with a connection to my ancestors and to my future child. It was an experience of acceptance. The ‘joining dance’ was a moment when time was not linear, when all the knowledge of the past, present and future combined seamlessly.
I used the drum at home a few times whilst cleansing and preparing my birth space. I would listen so carefully to the ring of the drum, finding the different tones and layers of sound. It was deeply soothing and helped me into a light ‘trance’. Falling deeper into the sound and vibration, leaving my thinking, logical brain behind. I never got to use the drum during my labour. It all happened so quickly I never got to use anything I had planned but somehow I didn’t need anything. I’d done the work and now I was on my own. ‘Behold – if that which you seek you find not within yourself, you will never find it without’ – can’t remember where I saw that excerpt, sorry.
Throughout my labour I talked to her. I would say yes to the surges, congratulate her on a big one and keep telling us that the surges were good and we were going in the right direction. Having this connection and trust in my body, my wisdom, my ancestors and my baby was key to relaxing and truly getting out of the way.
Eleanor Anne’s birth was wonderful. She knew exactly what to do. I knew exactly how to trust my body. I was able to lean into my surges instead of being frightened of them and wanting to pull away. I honestly believe the work I (we) did leading up to the birth was the reason for everything going the way it did. We birthed naturally, with no pain relief, on the bedroom floor, dad caught the baby, my 23 month old saw the whole thing and she still acts it out today. My waters broke at 9 and she was born at 5. It was all so ‘normal’. Almost a days work – ‘9-5’. My friend reckons I should’ve called her Dolly'.
Written by Chloe Elizabeth.
You can visit Chloe's Blog to rehttps://chloeyolini.home.blog/2020/10/11/drums/
Chloe's Blog and do contact her for more information about her beautiful birth art: https://chloeyolini.home.blog/