Birth is like a snowflake


Birth is like a snowflake. Each birth is unique. This concept is foundational to my focus on an “authentic birth” rather than a “good” birth. Social media has done wonders for creating a space to reveal the unknowns of birth that previously were rarely discussed or ignored. Women around the globe have shared their capacity for courage with pictures of birthing, videos, and creating podcasts. This is amazing. More women want to know our creative capacity in the throws of labor. We want to experience the profound joy of taking the birth journey and reaching the top of that mountain, looking down with great relief at the eyes of our newborn. 

A trend is taking place. Many women do not want to lie on our backs and take orders of how and what must happen. There is a deep stir in the collective hearts of women, to return birth back to the mother, her desires, and her instincts. Among the shared experiences with all the social media, there lies a conscious and sometimes subconscious labeling and comparison, even by midwives and doulas. Birthing will be healed fully and restored when we can let this go. There is no right or wrong way to have a baby. I’ve said this many times, and I still remind myself of this when I need to. We have to release the ego-centered mind that says, “I’m right” and “you are wrong.” A woman is not weak because she needs a cesarean or maybe is utterly silent in her birth. Nor is she more fierce because she screams. All those are just what it takes to get the baby out. This is her opportunity to be herself in a most personal experience. 

The nature of birth is a tremendous spiritual lesson of surrender. You can’t control everything. Life is a great mystery, and so birth is a great mystery. We have medical guidelines to help us, but the truth is, “normal” has significant variables depending on the care provider, training, and attitude of the care provider. The traditional medical and scientific community has historically labeled and quantified all aspects of labor. Our intervention rates are high and we can see room for improvement in the system. More hospital midwives are becoming more aware and open to all labor parameters, including the woman’s emotional and physical comfort. Recently, I saw a nurse midwife catching the baby when the woman was standing at the edge of the hospital bed, a functional approach that leverages gravity. It required compassion and patience on the midwives part, but then there was zero need for stitching repairs. More women are demanding better care and bedside manner for labor and birthing. It improves our physical and psychological experience. 

Birth isn’t a routine knee surgery. There is a very personal and mental component mixed in the process of laboring. Laboring is not like a car with a check engine light on. We aren’t machines. Even if the mother is deemed to be high-risk, she deserves to be treated with the awareness that health includes wellness. This means the birth team must balance taking action with a sensitivity to the mother’s vulnerability in labor. Letting go of the ego mind that identifies with a “right way” or “the way” is at the core of accepting birth. It’s also vital to fully show up as a support person and witness a woman as she steps into her own birth energy. 

There is a saying in the therapy world “what we resist persists.” This is true in labor for women. It is essential to accept the turns and challenges of the experience while we are in it, including the sensations of powerful natural labor. I invite us all to observe the pattern of our birthing as if it were a snowflake, with reverence for how it presents itself. Birth at its best, teaches us to be fully present with the moment, our bodies, our babies, and our breathing. From there, we see “it is what it is.” We have an acceptance and notice a greater awareness within. We come to embody that power and wisdom and realize not only are we experiencing an individual snowflake but a beautiful expression of life, no matter what form it takes. The details reveal the beauty of a lovely vibration and pattern that leads to something much bigger than us and woven from our deepest expressions and creativity.