Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Peace, love, faith and healing

Hey lovely people,

Since I wrote my birth post I have been reading and re-reading it, trying to find the judgement in my tone that some of you may have taken the wrong way.

I need to make it absolutely clear that my stance is not to attack any mother's empowered choice. If a woman consents, with eyes wide open, and has not felt bullied in any way - that, to me, is empowerment. If a woman chooses to take drugs to see her through the pain, that is an empowered choice, which she has taken on board, which she takes responsibility for. That is empowerment, and that is a fabulous thing.

I celebrate the fact we can choose, that we have options available to us. I celebrate the fact that medical breakthroughs have saved many babies and mothers that may otherwise have died.

What I do not celebrate, is when a woman feels outnumbered and her wisdom is not given enough voice. When a well informed healthy woman is forced to have a birth she didn't want simply because she felt pressured or outright bullied at a time when she is most vulnerable.

The spirit in which I wrote my birth post was that it was meant to be an invitation to tap into ways to get past barriers, push past blockages, block out unhelpful stimuli, to have a safe, beautiful, transformative and deeply spiritual, connected way of meeting our babies. I wrote to give courage, to fortify and strengthen. I was trying to cut a lot of crap outta our way to bring it all back to us, that we can do it, we are not broken, we are whole. That pretty much mostly what you need is right inside you already and what you most need from those around you, really is love. Love, love, and more love. And faith. It is love that gets the baby in there, and the flow of oxytocin all around in the hearts of those attending to you is potentially more powerful and intoxicating than other medications designed to replicate that. When love energy is all around a mother as she births her baby, it heals everyone in its path, and touches everyone for lifetime. This is true of any type of birth model where the birth attendants are kind and good, and remain sensitive and personal in spite of the volume of mothers they deal with in a day.

Sometimes on top of love, babies need extra medical help to come out safely. I have never denied this. This does not negate or contradict the love aspect of birth. Even a caesarean birth scene has deeply loving humans at the heart of it - the bright lights, gowns and so on pale into insignificance once that beautiful baby is in your arms. However the baby is brought out into the world, it is still your bosom they end up at, your arms, your heart, ultimately. You are the heartbeat, the rhythm, and rock of safety that your baby clings to, remembers, loves.

If our own birth experience leaves us feeling sad or disempowered it is never too late to heal. We can feel disappointment whilst accepting and forgiving ourselves and others too if things didn't quite go as perfectly as we might have liked. There are lessons we can learn from, ways we can help others so they have a better time of it than we did. Love finds a way of soothing and healing us when we surrender to it. Many of us feel regrets about our births, and we live with the imperfections of how life sometimes flows. But peace,love, time and perspective can heal this.

I wish all my readers much peace, love, self-understanding, healing, and joy. I have fucked up many a time, made disempowered choices, and live with regrets and wishes that I had done things differently. I am scrambling around in the dark as much as the next person. But it's ok. I extend the same commitment to peace, love, self understanding, healing and joy to myself too.

I do not write to hurt or make others feel bad. I write to heal.

Xx MF xX


  1. Hey Paula. Chin up love! I didn't think you came across as judgemental, but maybe that's because I know you in real life.

    The thing about words on a page, as we all know, is that they are stripped of the tone and body language that go hand in hand with them to put across our meaning. They are just sitting there, stark and bare, ready to be assigned new emphasis and expression by the reader. And I don't blame the reader either as they are usually quite genuine in the way they take the words - I've done it myself!

    When you start writing for the public you open yourself up and it's a brave thing to do.

    You're writing powerful stuff, that makes us think and has us challenging our preconceptions. It's great, keep going! I'm not half as brave in my blog, haven't written anything vaguely controversial. It's in me, I'm just not confident enough. Yet. Celebrate the fact that you are!

  2. hey babe your writing is wonderful thought provoking and make me feel normal so you cant be doing too bad.

    your peace love and thoughts make me feel very loved and happy
    keep up the good work

    Love you

  3. I totally agree with Jane. I thought it was a great post - I'm a big fan of the MF Rant, you make me think and laugh in equal measure, superb!

    (I'm coming back to comment on pain management when I get a chance.) x

  4. Hey! I don't buy into the whole thing about what makes a good piece of writing any more than what makes a good piece of art or a good bottle of wine. I thoroughly enjoying your writing and it stimulates much to consider and personally feel you are very gifted.

    I don't think you were judgemental and my own comments were merely personal experience and the freak thing was me laughing at myself and the crazy odds of my own situation.

    Jane is right, words can read very differently without the use of real life tone, eye contact, facial expressions.

    I think you are consistently sharing from the heart and throwing out your own positive thoughts to give confidence to others.

    Life ain't black and white it's full of grey areas and we could spend all day everyday debating over what is right and what is not and with our honesty there will always be controversy.

    Keep blogging - its brill! xxxx

  5. Can I just say that as a mother of three babies which have been born in a very clinical environment with me laying on my back because I didn't know any other way, I found the blog really eye opening and totally awesome, which was my original comment. I feel encouraged, now I'm in pregnancy number four, to discover more about the whole birthing experience and am totally aiming to go for a home-birth.... All being well.... Which I probably wouldn't have even thought about had I not had the privilege of knowing wonderful people like you. you are a true inspiration to me, in many ways, and I'm very proud to call you my friend. Keep up the great blogs lovely xxxxxxx

  6. Hey Paula,
    I do not think that you are judgmental either.
    I certainly do not think that you write your blog to hurt people or make others feel bad.

    I agree language can be more ambiguous than it claims to be.
    That was kinda part of my point.
    It is a very complex and controversial subject from many angles i feel.
    As you know I live in Brighton where the alternative decision/way of life has come to be somewhat expected by larger circles than the norm- i think i'm safe to say.
    That has caused a weird knock on affect whereby admitting to thinking 'institutions are ok!' 'i might take drugs during my labour' or ' i may throw away my placenta' is like saying you only shop at Asda.
    I was in a round about way (be it slightly feisty) trying to promote open-mindedness.
    As we've already talked about, when I decided to have a home birth with my first I got so obsessed with it and how I would be violated in hospital and wouldn’t be listened to and would end up shaven with my legs in stirrups that I know I would have freaked if I had to go into hospital during labour. This mental state would have made the experience so hideous even if they were lovely and did everything that I wanted them to. So this time I’m so much more relaxed and open-minded about it (believe it or not!!) and just hope that I can experience the best that I can in the circumstances. I would hate for any woman to feel disappointed about where or how they gave birth even if going into hospital was just precaution.
    I still haven't decided where my bun in the oven will burst its way into the world yet- who knows!
    Aaaanyway think that's what i wanted to say in a concise way!
    Keep up the thought-provoking work.
    With love.

  7. Thanks everybody, I just wanted to be clear for any future readers of the blog, so everyone knows where I'm coming from, that I don't think anyone is bad or wrong ;-) all you ladies are kick-ass motherfunkers and I love you lots xxxxx

  8. Hey. Two separate things.
    One: what the first commenter said-- writing, especially blogging, can make it hard to convey your actual openness. You know I sympathize on that front.
    Two: of all the dangerous mothering subjects, birthing is perhaps the most emotionally explosive. Maybe because its so huge, a very real rite of passage. you don't get to practice to perfection. It's just the one shot (per baby). And our hearts are so tied up in it!
    I am a twice homebirther who would describe my own as nothing short of the hardest most excruciatingly painful work human beings are capable of. I loved drugless homebirths in the sense that I feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity to do it, twice! But not in the sense I so often read of the mystical beautiful candlelit experience. I fear that the pro-natural crowd has gone so far that women can feel equally powerless and ashamed when their birth is anything less glowy than the "plan." I myself came a whisper-width from having to go to the hospital the first time, and my god the feelings that my body had failed me over the three days of contractions leading up, and that I might yet "fail" altogether was mortifying.
    If I had gotten "transferred" all that hospital fear propaganda that midwifery uses to defend itself against the homebirth fear propaganda would not have served me well.
    This is such a tragedy! Its not just birthing either, its everything. We are so success vs failure, Us bs The, and you'd better get in the right line. I don't have much advice for how to approach this booby trapped subject. I have been trying to summon the courage for a co-sleeping post ever since I started blogging, but just can't figure how to write it in a way that doesn't turn half the readers into failures, responsible for all their children's future problems.
    It's damn tricky, but someone has to keep those waters open.
    Good on ya for effort.

  9. God help me when I write the book CJ.. It seems like such an arrogant thing to do in some ways but then I stand in a bookshop surrounded by thousands of books, and think a) these books didn't write themselves b) it takes balls to write anything at all c) there's always room for one more book, one more angle, one more perspective. You can never say that's it, the world no longer needs any books on x topic, we're all done with that now.
    Every interaction, conversation, and assumption challenged is good practise for the book. Writing about birth on here has been a really helpful exercise in thinking about wording and trying not to alienate people.