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Birth Warriors…this term has been in the current birth lexicon for some time now, and I wonder what it says about our relationship to birth today. Is it right to encourage our birthers to be warriors? To teach them to don armor and prepare for a war?
The culture of birth is continually evolving and armor and a warrior mindset may indeed be what is required to birth in some settings, but I would also like to explore the idea of the birth warrior in some depth to glimpse what is lost when the focus of birth skews toward a Yang practice and what I think a more balanced Yin-Yang approach, or even skewed more toward Yin would look like.
The Yang state is very active, unyielding, and ready to take action. It's expansive and powerful, the peak of summer, high noon, it is shiny and glorious and birth in a Yang state will make you feel powerful, doing anything in a Yang state will make you feel powerful, like a warrior who conquered the battle.
In the past, birth has a balance of Yin and Yang, perhaps even more Yin than Yang. Yin is flexible and soft, it's comfort and dependability. When it comes to Yin and Yang, we need both, one is not better than the other, but they have their appropriateness at different times and birth is one of those times when I think embracing a more Yin state is preferential. But this requires safety and trust; to go inward, to disconnect from the exterior world, to lose your sense of time, of space, of place, and to feel completely safe in your surroundings, to know with utmost certainty that you have your carefully chosen witnesses protecting your space so you can be in your birth, this is not the image of a armor clad warrior, but a strong and courageous goddess.
But our current birth culture does not view birth in this way. For most, birth as a medical process that requires monitoring, evaluations, time lines, machinery and drugs, all Yang actions, and our birth preparation methods support this Yang state further by promoting the defensive state that birthers need to take on when they go into their birth room. And yet, they are also advised to be flexible and go with the flow - make a plan, which is Yang, but be prepared to change your plan if the system says they can't support what is happening in your birth, which is Yin. What an impossible burden to tell a woman to be on guard and be ready to discuss what she want in birth while also being flexible in her birth plan. And so we enable a Yang, warrior state, prepared for battle. And when a mother successfully gives birth in this state, you bet she feels proud and full of Yang, because it is an overwhelming feat to do so.
But the humble, inner strength of the Yin birth is only witnessed by a select few, those who honor and uphold the strong and courageous goddesses who choose peace over war, inner strength over outer armor, follow the birther rather than lead the birther, preserve her power rather than flex their medical heroics.
And though to culture is moving toward the armored bravery of yang style birth, and maybe this is what our evolution as a species needs for some yet unknown reason, but right now I still see room for yin birth, for those who want it. Birth is a beautiful event, it is in the realm of feminine, it is a transformation, it takes bravery, but a different kind of bravery. Really giving birth, and giving into the transformation might mean going into the deepest parts of yourself and coming out with new perspectives and understandings of life, of who you are, of what it really means to give life, not to just have a baby, but to truly give a piece of yourself to another human being, to give up all sense of self and come out someone new. A caterpillar into a butterfly.
Hear more of my thoughts about the Yin & Yang of birth on this weeks episode of The Journey to Birth podcast wherever you catch podcasts or at NaturalBirthCompass.com/podcast.
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