Hospital, home, birthing center
Living a conscious life means living in the eternal here and now. Existing in the here and now means letting go of any expectations you have for your future, and any memory you have of the past. It means viewing each experience as if it was your first. But most importantly it means allowing yourself to be absolutely vulnerable. Vulnerability is the doorway to love, and gives us access to true strength. Self-protection armor, usually unconsciously erected at a young age, causes most of our adult suffering. Awareness of it is a big step toward freedom. When we hear the word vulnerable, we immediately think of weakness. Being vulnerable is usually associated with opening yourself up to being hurt emotionally and/or physically. But the vulnerability I am talking about is one that requires great courage and strength.
One of our greatest challenges in life is to let down the walls of self-protection and release the energy that created them during the early experiences of our childhood and adolescence. Usually when we are faced with something that is new and challenging or anything that feels threatening to us, often we unconsciously retreat behind a force field of self-protection. I’ve discovered that it is the self-protection itself that creates far more suffering than the thing I think I’m afraid of! To allow vulnerability and love, we must let go the perceptible hardness or resistance that we experience against a person or a situation. This resistance is usually experienced as a kind of armor.
Self-armoring can inflict a tremendous amount of self-suffering. On the surface, it seems like it is there to keep harm out. However it actually cuts us off from our own love. When I observe it in myself it is a rigid, clamped-down feeling that is very uncomfortable and cuts off any possibility of feeling something positive. What I perceive as ‘safe’ for me, is rather isolating not allowing pure love and joy to cuddle me and nurture me.
For many of us, to survive the hurts of childhood, this armoring was crucial for our survival. But as adults, that same armor serves to separate us from our own healing and positive energy as well as our ability to experience love and connection with others. In labor we are at our most vulnerable and shedding the armor can make the difference between a vaginal birth and a cesarean one, an epidural and a drug-free painless childbirth.
During pregnancy, you’ve probably been feeling more vulnerable than you’ve ever felt in your entire life. Being so close to the creator, you’re instinctively going toward the highest spiritual manifestation of yourself, which is one of vulnerability. We know that in love, the more open and vulnerable we allow ourselves to be, the more we reach greater depths of intimacy. Becoming a mother is a lifelong love affair. Opening up and sharing who we really are as we express our feelings can feel pretty scary. Uncertainty and vulnerability are two characteristics we have fought hard to reject in the modern world.
In the last two hundred years more and more women have entered the work force and had to take on the warrior archetype. As warriors we constantly battle and compete. In the business world, expressing one’s emotion is considered unprofessional and it is looked down upon as a sign of weakness. Women had to learn a new game; they don’t show their feelings, they shut down and choose silence over expression, or opt for aggression and defiance. It feels safer to build a wall around us so that no one can come close and hurt us, or dismiss us as weak and unpredictable.
We must look detached, in control, rational and poised. Vulnerability became a fault and women had to assume a role which goes against their very nature. This has been the price women had to pay to become powerful, independent, self-reliant, and successful. Unable to leave work at work, we bring these survival mechanisms home. As women, we are born to multitask. Thus, we have come to believe that we’re the only one who can get things done, and get them done fast enough and perfectly enough. Some of us believe that men or our partners cannot handle taking care of a job, a marriage, a house, and kids all at the same time, so we take on the role of superwoman and juggle it all to make it happen. As a result, we often become bitter, angry, and condescending with these inferior people who seem to want it all, yet are incapable of managing any of it, even if we’d let them. We believe that there’s no time to experiment by letting others take care of the business of holding a family together, and so we regretfully volunteer to do it all ourselves. We can be controlling even when we constantly please or placate others, for we fear that if we let them see our vulnerable side, they won’t like what they see. We are frequently on the offensive—attacking, blaming, or correcting others. This keeps the spotlight on others and off ourselves. Once again putting up an armor that keeps people, and love away.
When we become mothers and get in touch with the creator within us, we must try new behaviors, attitudes, or beliefs in the pursuit of self-knowledge. In other words we must let go of the warrior archetype and embrace the mother one and surrender to vulnerability. Tuning into our feelings and learning to express them enables us to have a healthy perspective of ourselves, our problems, and our place in life. After an argument or during labor, notice when the old armor starts to take over. Try to see what thought were circling in your mind just before you felt retrieving into to your isolating-armored self. Usually it is fear, either fear of what others might think of you, fear of being found out as not been good-enough, worthy enough, or fear of not being able to be a mother. First you to forget about the story of what happened or what is happening – the “he-did-this” and “she-said-that” part. Keep your attention on what is left: the feelings, the raw energy itself.
Don’t defend against anything and just let come what comes. Actually surrender to the energy inside you. The feeling will keep changing and transforming. You may feel anger, then resentment, sadness, maybe fear or even terror. Feel your feelings and acknowledge them, and if you are in a safe environment express them, then prepare yourself to let them go and trust in your right to be here and to have what you desire. If you stay with it all the way, keeping your aware attention on the energy/feeling, it will actually transform into love. Everything always reverts back to love eventually. Love for your new baby who is trying to emerge, love for your partner who is sharing this amazing experience with you, but most importantly love for yourself and this incredible world we live in.
When you become a mother you have become one with the goddess and this new path takes great strength of character and courage. A goddess is the embodiment of the Divine in a female body. She acts with integrity while loving and nurturing. She lets go of anger, pain, fear, guilt, and judgment. She has no need to change anybody and she does not blame, for she sees the Divine in all beings. She has learned to love unconditionally, and has no expectations. She encourages and allows things to be what they are and welcomes other people’s efforts, as she looks at everyone the way a mother looks at her child. She knows that life is a mystery that cannot be conquered or understood. She finds her sense of humor, especially about herself, as she feels compassion for all her little idiosyncrasies and human characteristics. She searches for and embraces her Divinity, knowing that change is inevitable and that happiness is found in the journey, not in the end result. Sure this is a tall order, but it is what we strive to become, one day at the time.
As we learn the tools needed to reach a higher state of consciousness we teach and share them first with our child and then with the entire human race. Mastering this journey will make you a living example. Becoming vulnerable will open you up to the heavens. A pebble, big or small, thrown into the water, will ripple a thousand wrinkles in the eternal space and time continuum. Its energy will reach every shore. Your experience shared with other women will be like the pebble reaching women all over the world, strengthening their resolve for a drug-free birth.
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