There is this notion from the American WW2 time that “we can do it.” There is an image in our heads of Rosie the Riveter being strong and “manning up” to take charge of her life and help the country. What a powerful piece of propaganda made by a man.
When is the last time you saw women comparing their biceps in a dressing room? I can’t remember either. I vaguely remember a few girls contesting over the leg press in 9th-grade track. In current society, there is a notion that we must fight our way through to compete in business with the modern world. This competitive viewpoint can carry over into other areas of our life. Indeed, it can carry over into motherhood. We can then expect too much of our babies, our toddlers, or ourselves after giving birth. A “get it done” attitude can creep into how women expect to give birth. We can want to force our way through it. Movies and dramatized TV shows portray violence will be involved, so we want it done and over. It shows how far the patriarchy has made its way into our mindsets. It becomes “me” against “birth”. In this perspective, there is a winner and a loser. This implies a loss for a gain. Maybe it’s personal subconscious programming or it’s from the collective vibes of where we are in our culture. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes, the laboring mom will be fully stepping into who she is and pulling out every single scrap of energy from deep in her being to have her baby. She may need to be active in her labor and step into yang energy. But what about the power of feminine energy? When did we lose that? When did that become lipstick and something to be bought and sold?
In some respects, the clinical way of seeing birth can reflect the notion you must “fight for this.” Yet, can’t we be strong without a fight? It doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges. I see birth a lot like Brene Brown describes vulnerability. Only when we dare to be open fully and ourselves is when we meet our true strength. That requires bravery. Not bracing yourself, like you are going off to watch a train wreck, but more like you are going to be a part of a powerful pattern of nature that overall feels more extensive than you are.
What if there is another way of viewing birth? What if labor is simply something we must work for? In this work, this powerful birthing energy will move through your body and create openings in body and spirit. What if birth is so powerful that we don’t have to fight against it? What if most of the work is in our breathing, and our minds, and our level of acceptance? What if we yield to the enormous birth power and allow it to light up and activate things inside of us. We may, in the process, have to look at our vibes of fighting shoved down into the low body. What a lovely thing this can be to accept our humanness and instinct for survival fully. Getting in touch with this is key to understanding who we indeed are as mammals.
Lately, I’ve been feeling more connected to my Native American ancestry. I am registered as a Choctaw, but I’m more Cherokee. When the “Dawes” rolls or final rolls where created to tally up the natives, my Cherokee relative wasn’t counted, so since it wasn’t on file with the United States registry that person didn’t exist. I think it’s kind of ironic. I can see how that ancestor lives in me. I would of dodged that too, 100 percent. Many Cherokees headed for the hills of west North Carolina. I’d take my chances with the woods. I wouldn’t want to be on some list to a government that labeled me as “a civilized tribal member.” Not after the “Trail of Tears” where they made people walk for months (including the pregnant, nursing, toddlers, sick, and elderly) in the winter and then handed them smallpox infected blankets for warmth. Side note; the United States government has no problem purposely murdering people (with a virus.) The reason I’ve been into thinking of this stuff is that not long ago, I had a dream about an ancestor telling me that sometimes people see me as “contrary.” She told me my mother was also this way. She told me “you are a Cherokee woman.” She telepathically told me “there is nothing wrong with you.” These words on the screen are a tiny bubble of the information she “told me” with her presence. Like all exemplary visitors from the higher realm, she woke me up to remember the dream.
I do remember it. It was a message about my identity and why I feel such a longing in a culture lost in consumer advertising, entertainment, and surveillance capitalism. Cherokee women were honored as life givers due to birth and the food they cultivated on the land. They farmed and took care of the children while men hunted and fished. The culture was set where women owned the houses and at their passing, homes went to the daughters. Then, there was a group of women elders to help make the decisions as well. Maybe it’s just in my blood, I definitely am not afraid to stand in the face of something and claim what I feel is fair and fight for it. Yet, American culture is currently missing wise elders that could help us determine what is worth fighting for or not. It doesn’t seem we have honored that role and so not many have fully stepped into that place.
Regardless, the war that matters most is the fight inside. This is especially true for the modern woman. There is just a lot to contend with, and most of us are doing it without a clan. There is that voice that wants us to give up and quit or says “you are going to screw up your kids” and “you are doing this all wrong”. As mamas this voice can be so loud because we care so much for our children. We can’t categorize our kids away. They become a part of our hearts. We can get stuck in sticky webs of shame. That annoying voice may tell us that because we needed an intervention at birth we aren’t as good of a woman or we did something bad. That little voice that tells us we just can’t do it, we can’t make it happen, we are too ________(fill in the blank.) Many Christians believe this type of thinking is from Satan directly. It definitely holds darker emotions and keeps us out of alignment with owning our own personal goodness. Yet, in the battle in our heads we persevere. We learn to manage. We learn when to say “I hear there is a part of me that is worried. This voice is so loud because this is important, it’s my child, and also the future of the world. Instead of fearing this voice, in active labor, women are called to walk through the blocks of the mind. The hormones that sweep through her body cause her to delve deep inside and find portals of positive energy; love, faith, devotion, commitment, strength, courage, the kindness of others around us, and we open new windows and doors to who we are.
We are robbing women by teaching them birth is just a physical event. It’s a material expression of a higher energy of life. Birth is a soul event. We are taking away a profound opportunity for women by telling them otherwise. In our moments of weakness, we find our true courage. So, if you are in labor and you feel like you can’t do it… first adjust your position and focus on your breathing, and second, Congrats, your baby is opening your cervix to full completion and your mind is integrating the experience. Congrats you are about to open the door to the next phase and odds are your baby’s birth is right around the corner. Birth is about strength but expansion too. It expands who we are and how we see the world. So, as we move into the winter months think of your birth experience as an individual expression. It won’t be just like your moms, your sisters, or someone else on instagram. Own that. There might be a time to look at the fighting spirit inside ourselves and there will also be great surrender to the Great Spirit.