Messages of Birth

If I am still, if I can slow my breathing to comfortable-but-barely-there, if I can straighten my spine and relax my muscles and let my sit bones sink into the floor, if I unlatch the rusty locks in my heart, I can sometimes hear them: the messages of birth that come in groans and glances and grace. They are whispers into a partner’s ear, lips wet with exhale. They are the invocation of prayer, repeated in the raspy voice between contractions. They are the darting of eyes thrown wide open with increased expansion and pressure within the vessel of birth. Slow nods, wide hip sways, notes and melodies rising from the roaring fire – or the calm center – of the most primal body.

They are not “mine”; they are theirs and ours, his and hers. But when I am open enough to intercept these messages, I accept them with the weightless, trembling hands of a recipient. The messages are not always kind. Sometimes they are bits of paper, lit with the fire of anger, and throw into the wind to smolder and burn. Sometimes they are years of resentment, guilt, grief, longing that exit finally in one proud stance or one sharp bellow. But sometimes, yes sometimes, they are tiny glowing orbs of enlightenment and peace, released in a barrage of crystal tears that for once in her life aren’t wiped away in shame or embarrassment.

The bearer of the message may arrive in those motionless moments of rest when surges relent and hormones rage. Sometimes the message is cloaked in the dark, flowing, velvet coat of privacy, in the request for space and time and intimacy. And indeed, there are the times that the message is like a lead ball shot from a canon, fired out with the intensity of painful howls, exhausted screams, the small sound of defeat, and the flag of surrender flapping in the breeze.

I collect them. Here’s what I have heard recently, not in the form of words, but in the spaces between inhale and exhale.

What messages have you heard as a birth supporter? As a birthing woman? Were your messages deciphered correctly?


I am a good woman. I am worthy. I deserve an empowered birth.

Too much memory, too much pain, take it away.

I’ve done everything right. Why, why, why?

My faith can carry me. My strength is in surrender.

Let me be.

Get your hands out of me.

I want to float, fly, travel, get out of the way of my physical body.

There is no other way.

I cannot turn back now.

I know you are out there and I know you care.

Is anyone listening?

I have to believe.

I can do this on my own.

Yes, yes, yes

Oh god no, no, no.

What do you really mean?

Do you see this? Can you feel this?

The course of fate is set. I let it unfold.

Just your presence is enough.

Be firm with me.

Be gentle with me.

Thank you.

That’s exactly what I needed.

Your body is strong, your hold is perfect, your hair is soft, your eyes are brilliant. This feels right.

Who is doing this to me?

I am the only woman birthing right now.

I am surrounded.

I want to get fierce! I have fire in my cells!

My body knows. My brain may not, but my body knows.

So, so thirsty.

I just don’t care.

Just one moment, just one tiny moment, please.

Relax, relax, relax, it’s all good.

I am so vulnerable. Be tender.

Give me some of your strength.

Do you trust me?

I am authentic.

Wash everything away, make me a blank slate.

This is so overwhelming.

I can’t look.

I want to look.

Let me look in your eyes.

There is just this moment.

I feel Merged with One.

Will I be okay? Can I do this?

I hear, I feel, I know. It’s time.

How will I know?

Are you proud of me?

Will I disappoint you?

I need focus.

I need distraction.

I always have enough, I always have more.

I am not ready. I have unfinished work. Let me finish.

I am open. I am overflowing. I am void.

Help me stay with it.

Tell me I am somewhere else.

Something has changed. I feel the shift.

Do you love me? Am I loved?

Are you fucking kidding?

I need to move.

I want to run away from this feeling, from this pain.

This is not fair.

Just more breath.

I am strong.

Shut up! No more words.

One word, just one word.

Am I doing this right?

Don’t you dare say you are tired!

I am not alone. I am safe.

I am alone. I am safe.

I am not alone. I am not safe.

I am alone. I am not safe.

I chose you. You chose me. We are unlimited.

I can hear so much, too much. I hear it all.

I need relief.

This is my choice.

I am done.

I needed that, see how I needed that?

I am wise.

Empty me.


Help me.

Touch me.

Hold me.

Leave me.

Trust me.

WOW, holy shit, this is a big, big, big feeling.

I cannot slow down.

Don’t you dare say that one more time.

Hell yeah, I can do this. I have to do this.

I…I….I….I don’t know.

Is my baby alive?

Oh, hi, baby, there you are.

I’ve always known you.

Who are you?

Yeah, baby, yeah that was all worth it. We’re okay.

I did it.

We did it.

Shit, I’m sore. Shit, I’m tired.

Did I really just do that?

Was I really that worthy?

I was strong, dammit!

Let me process. Let me mourn. Let me be.

That was hard as hell.

Hey, that wasn’t so bad after all, was it?

You are so beautiful.

God is good.

The Universe is good.

I’m still not in my body. Give me time.

Let me rest.

Step away.

Hands off.

Give me space.

Let me gaze.

Tell me I am amazing.

I am amazing.

I am so fuckin’ amazing.


Two back to back births this weekend. I was called to one just as my other client was pushing her baby into her husband’s strong hands in the birth tub. Two women – completely different lives – surrendering in their completely own ways to the body/mind-altering moments of birth.

Coming down from the birth high and trying to tune into, and remember, these messages. Reminding myself to stay open to learning, to sensing instead of asking, to using intuition to guide me (not her!), to anticipate, to shush everything. Knowing I know nothing.

They were amazing. So fuckin’ amazing.


Thank you to Four Little Birds for her post that inspired this.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. sue says:

    I am a twice denied ” csection” momma . I have REALLY large babies , but you REALLY make me want to atleast TRY to have a natural one every time you write like this .



  2. mb says:

    i think i have felt every singe word you wrote at at least one of my births, maybe two, quite possibly all three.

    you are good Listerner of Birth. it calls you to hear with your gut. thank you.


  3. bella says:

    you listen well, deeply, to the bone and in the rippling quivering cells of flesh.
    And you remind me again how birth holds the whole. The great life cycle and the contradictory emotions and experiences, and the both/and, birth brings us here, to this stepping into a way beyond any one thing.
    It dances.

  4. Ninotchka says:

    As a birthing woman, so many moments and thoughts come to mind. Most from Anna Sofia’s birth which was my more prolonged (though still relatively short) unmedicated, doula-assited birth. The most pronounced is standing over the sink in the hospital bathroom with Mara (my doula) strong by my side, the world outside quiet, inconsequential. I might as well have been in the middle of the desert. A painful contraction ripping through me, the pressure down below and me pleading with my baby, whose gender I wasn’t yet privy to in the earthly, on-paper sense: “Come on Anna Sofia, baby, please come down sweetheart, Mommy wants to meet you.” In that moment, I knew exactly who She was in the most spiritual way. And felt She knew me too. Goddess to Goddess beyond name and body. I knew her soul and She knew mine. I felt hers lit from within me working hard to make it’s transition into this world and mine willing her to do so. Like lighting a divine fire beneath her to lure her out. And when she did emerge and my loving doctor, with my doula and my Mother by her side and surrounding me, announced her as a girl and I greeted her by name, “Anna Sofia!” Guy kissed my head sending a wave of heat and complete loving spiritual connection through my body. The three of us, one. It was precious, powerful and beautiful. Thank you for reminding me of it.

  5. daisybones says:

    This fills me with emotion. Almost too much to bear. What a beautiful thing to share.

  6. leighsteele says:


    Your comment – your story of AS’s birth – was so moving. I hope you post that for your readers!



  7. janistan says:

    It takes deep love and wisdom to receive these messages and hold steady. You rock. xoxo

  8. mamasarita says:

    Wow….what a lovely and moving post. As a doula I totally totally get what you are saying.

    I hope you had a nice long bubble bath after two back to back births!

  9. Becca says:

    I’ve come back to read this post a second time. The thought of unspoken messages in birth really struck a chord with me. I’ve been looking at my own two births through that lens ever since. So this is my submission:


    It wasn’t supposed to take this long!!! But, I will still do it.


    Ready or not, here she comes!

    (I’ve been something of a lurker for a while now. I love coming here. Your blog is just lovely. Keep writing!)

  10. leighsteele says:

    Thank you for sharing your birth messages. Amazing how contrasting your messages were. Amazing what birth teaches us.
    I hope you continue to visit and share your wisdom.

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