A woman is not a goddess because she has had an all natural unmedicated home water birth. And a woman is not a goddess because she is able to successfully breastfeed her baby. A woman is a true goddess when she makes informed choices and decisions relating to her body and her baby; when her choices and decisions are supported by science, psychology, medicine, (both eastern & western), instinct and love; and when she has the courage and strength to defend her decisions and to be fiercely committed to her choices.
That said, a woman is a true goddess when she has the softness and sweetness to accept, respect and support women whose choices differ from her own. And lastly, a woman is a true goddess when she accepts, respects and supports her body and her baby when they aren't able to meet the expectations of the decisions and choices she has made. At which point, a true goddess must be prepared to graciously make a new plan and adapt to a new journey without self-judgement or shame.
A woman's journey into motherhood is one of the most monumental journeys of her life; a journey she will remember all her life. The decisions and choices a woman makes regarding how she brings her baby into this world will be the first she will make as a mother. One would never embark on a journey up the side of Mount Everest without knowing the risks involved, taking the necessary safety precautions and adequately preparing for that journey. So, when it comes to the birth journey...make a plan. To make a plan a woman must learn all she can. Education is empowerment. "When we know better, we do better"~ Maya Anjelou
Fortunately, we live in an age when we simply google "birth plan" and we get 982,000,000 results. And, of course, there is no end to advice from seemingly well intentioned family and friends. As Sarah J. Buckley MD makes clear in her illuminating book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mother, it is important for women to be able to "distinguish cultural disapproval from genuine risks when they evaluate birth choices" Bottom line: a woman must do her research so that she has the confidence to make informed choices and decisions about where she wants to give birth, whom she wants in attendance and what, (if any), medical interventions are acceptable to her. Once she is confident in her choices, she will feel empowered to defend her choices and justified to feel indignant when she is not supported and encouraged to give birth in whatever manner and wherever she feels is the most safe and comfortable place for her baby and herself.
All that said, things may not go according to plan. That is when a true goddess accepts, respects and adapts without self-judgement, self-recrimination or feelings of inadequacy or shame. At the end of the day the objective is to bring a healthy new soul into the world.
Now, giving birth is simply the first step into the sacred sisterhood of motherhood. Almost daily a mother will find herself confronted with situations when she may be tempted to judge and shame herself or another mother. Social media, replete with images of mamas that look like they’ve just stepped off the red carpet while breastfeeding a newborn, can quickly become a trigger for guilt, criticism and shame. This motherhood stuff is tough enough...mothers must strip away the internal and external judgement and respect & support one another. Let's lift each other up through education, compassion and respect. As that old African proverb goes...It take a village to raise a child. Let's create a village of true goddess mamas and happy and healthy children.
From my heart to yours,