Around this time last year, through an interesting series of events, I stumbled upon the practice of tantra.
Many Westerners are clueless about what tantra really is and only associate it with a particular kind of sex.
However, it’s actually an ancient set of tools, practices, and techniques that have to do with feeling the maximum amount of power, beauty, truth and pleasure inside of your body.
And it uses your sexuality to do that.
Through the play of masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti) polarities, tantra empowers you to recognize the truth of who you are rather than asking you be believe someone else’s.
And, let me tell ya, since I’ve been practicing this ancient art, life has not been the same.
To be honest, after I hit my late 20’s, my sex drive went into high gear and I wanted to learn how to harness some of that energy to use for my own creative purposes.
Doing the doula thing and raising my kids required a mediocre amount of creativity, but I knew there was more creative potential I wasn’t tapping into that was available to take my life to new levels.
I wanted to create a business that allowed me financial and location independence doing what I love and having a positive impact in women’s lives by inspiring a revolution in how we do birth.
And I had no idea how to do that.
Then, tantra found me.
And now I’m overflowing with ideas.
So what does tantra have to do with birth? I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, it’s important to understand a bit about tantra before you can understand what it taught me.
One of the biggest concepts behind tantra that’s foreign to our western sex culture is that the focus is on pleasure with no agenda for orgasm or even intercourse.
Yeah, sounds totally foreign to our fast and hard, porn-initiated, focus on HIS pleasure western minds huh?!
Unfortunately, women in our culture are often expected to show up turned on and wanting, in the same way and time frame that men are.
And for a lot of us women, that’s just not how it works.
We need more time, we need eye contact, we need to feel safe and relaxed.
Seeing any similarities with birth yet?
Female turn on is still poorly understood. But, we do know that when men allow space and time to focus on our pleasure with no agenda or expectations, incredible things happen…like, we get turned on!
This is called “holding space,” – a very masculine (Shiva) thing to do.
In tantra, Shiva represents pure consciousness and feminine Shakti represents power.
When Shiva holds space through his consciousness for Shakti to step into her power, according to tantra, the two energies merge and worlds are born.
When women are given the space to use their power to create in their own unique way, amazing things like epic sex, babies, art, music, and ideas are born.
As I’ve learned, this sacred space holding is as important in birthing babies as it is to epic sex.
As a doula, I see it every time a mama is scared, anxious, and excited when her labor begins. Then, things start getting harder and she starts experiencing pain.
I show up, witness her, connect with her, hold space for her, and she calms down, feels safe again, drops her defenses, lets go, and settles into an ecstatic rhythm and ritual.
When I’m properly holding space for a laboring woman, even if she’s experiencing moments of pain, she looks like a goddess and experiences moments of pleasure and ecstasy too.
Something I had been doing in birth without even realizing it, was, in fact, one of the same techniques that men are taught in tantra to allow their woman to experience more pleasure and ecstasy than ever during love making.
This space holding is why women who are highly supported, loved, in a safe and aesthetically pleasing environment who are being witnessed experience PLEASURE in birth!
This is how orgasmic birth happens.
Unbeknownst to me, tantra taught me the importance of holding space for laboring women and that it’s just as vital to an epic and pleasurable birth experience as it is to epic and pleasurable sex.
And the ironic thing is, as a lover of divine feminine, it takes my masculine/Shiva/space holding energy to awaken the divine feminine/Shakti/power in the laboring women I serve.
What a beautiful play of polarities and balance indeed.
We’re always the last to figure out what we’re REALLY doing anyway.
With so much love,
p.s. If you’re interested in learning more about tantra, my friend and tantrika, Layla Martin, is starting the next round of her Epic Lovers Masterclass July 20, 2016. You can check out this mind-blowing, life-altering, and upper-limits of pleasure breaking class here.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, that testimonial quote about how surprised I was at my typical jeep driving “dude’s” reaction to taking the class was…yeah, that’s me!
p.s.s The Optimal Fetal Positioning series WILL continue next week! With school being out, it’s been difficult to shoot videos with a house full of kids…I’m sure you can relate 🙂
In today’s society we have unrealistic expectations of weight gain during pregnancy, massive amounts of fear around labor and birth, and lack of support and judgment from family and friends for birth plans that aren’t the norm.
All this makes feeling like a birth goddess super difficult since most of us don’t have access to practices to keep us feeling adored, feminine, sacred, wild, connected, and celebrated while pregnant.
Women didn’t always experience the kind of disempowerment and dissociation from our bodies that we do during pregnancy and birth.
Although the disempowerment and dissociation have been going on for quite some time, we can look back to some of the ancient cultures to learn what they did to feel empowered, connected, and celebrated.
In my previous blog, I told you about 3 common blockages to having an empowering birth experience. For the next 2 weeks, I’ll be going more in depth into each of those blockages and how you can get past and heal them.
The first blockage is that women in our culture are disconnected from their bodies.
We end up giving birth in positions that don’t support us and we’re never quite sure what to do in the moment because we can’t connect to anything that feels good or “right”.
And often, there’s the inferior factor involved that keeps women plastered to those hospital beds.
This is not what an empowered birth goddess experiences during labor and birth.
There’s a way to reconnect while you’re pregnant that can help you regain awareness of your pelvic space and inner root voice.
There’s a way that you can get past the feeling of inferiority toward your medical provider.
There’s a way that you can be so connected, in tune and turned on to what’s going on inside of your body that anything outside becomes nothing more than a distraction.
In this space, you become the expert of your own body and baby. You know what to do and you WILL do it unapologetically.
Now, that’s the kind of birth that a women in touch with her inner birth goddess experiences.
There’s no attachment to an outcome, there’s no choke holding your birth plan. This is the space where you allow and receive according to your own inner wisdom and guidance.
Cause, the truth is, only you can really know what’s best for you and your baby.
So, you’re probably on pins and needles screaming c’mon Lacey, just tell me what to do to be like THAT!
Well, getting in touch with your inner birth goddess starts with Embodiment practices.
An embodiment practice is simply practicing being who you want to be.
When you embody being a birth goddess, you:
FEEL good in your body
Know how to receive, not just give
Are clear about your desires for your birth
Unapologetically ask for what you want
Honor the urges of your body during labor, and
Feel safe, grounded and supported while pregnant and giving birth
When you make a habit of embodying your inner birth goddess, you WILL consider your birth empowering regardless of how it happens.
One specific embodiment practice that you’re already familiar with is Dance.
DANCE BABY DANCE!
Dancing is the easiest, most natural way to get out of your head and into your body.
Dancing reconnects you to what you’re feeling. What is your body asking for? What does your body need from you? Does it need to move a certain way? Does it need nourishment? Does it need to speak up?
Dancing is such an easy way for you to get in touch with your root voice and desire.
Did you know that belly dancing was actually a way for women to teach other women how to give birth?
Yeah, it wasn’t for men. It was for getting babies out. Crazy huh?
Even the ancient cultures recognized that movement was important in birthing. If labor stalled, forget a bed. The midwives would tell you to get up and move!
Your body holds an incredible amount of wisdom that goes completely untapped in most women’s lives. It’s my goal for every mother-baby to reconnect with the inherent wisdom in her body before giving birth.
It just so happens that I’m 2 feet deep in getting out to you my new empowered birth online class. In it, I’ve devoted an entire module to teaching you several embodiment practices to reconnect you with your body and your divine feminine essence.
The whole class is designed to teach you what it takes to feel empowered through this most sacred event of pregnancy and birth. In short, and in the bigger scheme of things, it teaches you how to reclaim your feminine power not only in childbirth, but for your entire life.
This isn’t your traditional, generic childbirth class where they teach you about how birth happens, what to expect, how to choose a birth team and write a birth plan.
You are SO PAST THAT!
I know that you already know those things. And if you don’t, I know you’re the kind of women that will read up on it yourself.
You want something more, and I’m hell bound and determined to get it to you sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
Until then, I’m completely enthralled over Stephanie Larson’s Dancing for Birth. I want you to check it out and start an embodiment practice today. Do yourself a favor and go buy a dancing for birth dvd to get started.
Don’t forget to download my free eBook Bringing Back Empowered Birth: Reclaim Your Feminine Power in Childbirth. You’ll also get notified as soon as a new post is up and receive updates on the empowered birth online class registration opening. So, sign up here!
Do you feel that one of these 3 common blockages may keep you from having an empowering birth experience?
I’ve found that many of the same blockages that have kept me from living a fulfilling, turned on life are the same common blockages that keep women from having empowering birth experiences.
Through my own personal development work in the areas of love, sex, money, relationships and life purpose, I’ve discovered so many healing modalities and gained so many tools to untangle my life into feeling joyful, on fire and even empowered myself.
You see, I was blessed with having my own empowering birth experiences without having to have been taught how. But, I had to hire teachers and coaches to teach me how to become empowered in every other area of my life.
The great thing about this is that everything I’ve been taught and learned is totally applicable to birth as well.
So, I’m going to be spilling everything in my upcoming empowered birth online class.
Since I’m not quite finished creating it, for the next 3 weeks, I’ll be releasing 1 detailed blog per week of this 3 part series on the 3 blockages to having an empowering birth experience.
So make sure you sign up for email updates by downloading my free ebook so you can stay tuned.
Throughout my years of helping women have empowering birth experiences, I’ve discovered a common thread for women who don’t seem to have them.
Usually, a birth experience that didn’t feel empowering happens for one of these 3 reasons:
1) She’s disconnected from her body
There’s a reason women have been giving birth in positions that don’t support them. In my own practice, I’ve found that it’s because women honestly don’t know what feels good or “right” to them.
And sadly, in the moment, I can’t help them. I can tell them to get in a certain position or to try this or that. But, tbh, I detest having to do that because no women should have to be told to get into a certain position when birthing her baby.
I mean, when you think about it, what animal would take advice from a sister animal on how to birth it’s babies? Yeah, like none.
So what’s up with this human phenomenon of not knowing what to do in the moment and asking for advice?
Well, I’ve found that it’s because women are completely disconnected to their bodies.
In the grand scheme of things, most women live day-to-day in complete unawareness of their pelvic/womb space and energy. It’s almost as if we’re living outside of our bodies instead of in them.
Unfortunately, this way of living and being in the world doesn’t help you when you’re birthing a baby.
But the good thing is, there’s a way to reconnect. In fact, there’s several.
I’m going to tell you about them next week. Sign up to be updated.
The second blockage to having an empowering birth experience is:
2) She hasn’t processed and integrated birth trauma and/or losses
Ya’ll this shit is real. I don’t care how privileged you think we may be in this country but when 1/3 of women report having a traumatic birth experience IN AMERICA, we have a serious problem.
Birth trauma happens when a women isn’t able to give birth on her terms.
It happens when she’s forced into a procedure that wasn’t necessary.
It happens when an inpatient medical provider that didn’t even ask or tell her cuts her perineum.
It happens when she’s told she can’t even attempt a vaginal delivery just because she had a previous c-section.
It happens when a medical provider sticks their hand up her vagina in the middle of a contraction without asking for her consent.
I could go on and on, but, I think you get the point.
Any event that a woman doesn’t consciously invite into her birth experience can be considered a birth trauma.
And birth losses?
Up to 20% of women with a known pregnancy experience a miscarriage. And plenty more experience a birth loss from prematurity or some other medical condition, or a stillbirth.
But do you hear anyone talking about this?
If a woman in this country losses a baby, she’s treated like she never became a mother.
She’s expected from employers and inconsiderate friends and family to get over it and carry on in far too short a time frame than it will actually take for her to process and integrate the loss.
Without the proper time and support, if and when she becomes pregnant again, it’s unlikely she will feel capable of experiencing an empowering birth.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help clear the energy of a birth trauma and/or loss so that you don’t unconsciously carry any past experiences into your present pregnancy.
In 2 weeks I’ll be letting you in on a few healing practices and modalities for processing and integrating birth trauma and/or loss. Get updated here.
The 3rd blockage that keeps women from having an empowering birth experience is that often:
3) She’s not supported in her desires
This is by far the most common blockage that keeps women from having an empowering birth experience.
As a doula, accepting this truth is completely gut wrenching.
My own heartbreaks aside, a women might be interested in having a more “natural” birth experience.
However, “natural birth” means different things to different people.
Since our societal conditioning is so that having a healthy mom and baby is ALL that matters, women are often unsupported from the get-go when they state they want a “natural birth.”
Please spare me.
You see, we’re evolving from the 20th century model of birth to a 21st century model.
The old model says the doctors know best. All your instincts aside, let them tell you what to do and you’ll have a healthy mom and baby. That’s all that matters anyway.
The new model of birth gives a big shout out to modern medicine for saving mama’s and babies’ lives, but for the love of god, respects women as human beings in the process, doesn’t overuse or force the medicine and technology, and respects the sacredness of the birth event.
Yet a women who wants this more “natural” experience is considered selfish and told she’s not going to receive a trophy for having a natural birth.
Really? Because, I’m not aware of any women that gives a shit about getting a trophy or a high five or a pat on the back for having a natural birth.
It’s not a trophy she’s after. It’s respect, dignity and a sense of empowerment.
We’re not in survival mode of birth anymore.
We’ve figured out what we needed to get past survival mode… the sterile method, the c-section, and the blood transfusion.
Glad we have the medicine and technology. Now, let’s actually use it for our benefit without loosing any more of our feminine ground of the birth event.
And indeed, that’s what we’ve lost.
Enough of that.
It’s time for the next level of birth experiences.
It’s time to bring back empowered birth alongside modern medicine to respect both the sacredness and the mystery simultaneously.
Women can’t have empowering birth experiences when all we’re shooting for is survival mode.
But, unfortunately, nothing but survival mode is supported. Yet…
Be sure to sign up for email updates so you can be the first to know when I drop the next post of this 3 part series.
As a gift to you, I’ll also give you a copy of my new eBook, Bringing Back Empowered Birth: Reclaim Your Feminine Power in Childbirth.
In it you’ll learn 7 practical things you can do to have an empowering birth experience and so much more.
Oh boy do I have something for you to watch below.
I mentioned in my previous blog that 1 way to deal with labor when it’s not going as planned was to laugh.
LAUGH! Hahahaha! Yes!!!
No I wasn’t kidding.
I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m 110% crazy right now.
But before you pass judgement, here are 7 reasons you SHOULD NOT watch this video interview with my friend Anne Timpany of Embodying Joy where she tells us all about how she laughed through the last 3 hours of her son’s birth:
1) You’re fine being told what to do during birth
You’re totally into the medical system. You believe in it and you trust everything your doc says.
You’re fine being cut if the doc says it’s what you need, and you think you should be given a time limit on how long it takes you to push your baby out. I mean, in the movies it takes like 5 minutes anyway right?
When the nurses tell you to push and hardly anything happens you’re like, “Yeah! I LOVE being told what to do during my birth!”
2) You’re fine with having an unnecesarean
When your medical team comes in to tell you that you’re taking too long and they’ve diagnosed you as failure to progress, you’re like, “Heck yeah! Finally, I don’t have to get pre-eclampsia to get a c-section. YES!”
3) You read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and liked it.
You like generic. You’re fine with not reading anything about natural, empowered or gentle birth and the idea of an out-of-hospital birth completely offends you. I mean, that’s what hospitals were built for right?
“Natural birth and midwives? That’s for poor people. Ewww.”
4) You want your labor to be longer and more painful
So maybe you’re into having a natural birth but you really want to savor it because you’re…spiritual…per se and you want to soak in the energy of a long, hard, painful birth because you may never have this experience again.
Afterall, a long, painful birth would make it all the more worth it.
5) You already have enough tools in your toolbox to have a natural birth
You took that 12 week childbirth ed class. That was totally enough. You can’t possibly be more prepared. You know how to ….RELAX. Awesome. Yes! That’s all it takes to get a baby out…relax…
6) You’re already so full of joy you already know you could laugh through your birth as long as nothing unexpected happens
You are lighthearted, bubbling over with joy, free as a bird. You can’t imagine your life being any easier and better than it already is.
If something unexpected happens during your birth, you’ll look forward to the next 6 months of counseling cause that totally works for you.
7) You already had the best birth experience with your first and you’re 100% sure this one will be JUST LIKE the first.
Your first birth was perfect so you believe all additional births will go exactly as planned too. Further education and adding tools to your toolbox aren’t needed.
If none of these are you, watch my interview about laughing through birth with Anne here! (Tip…You’ll need about 25 minutes to get through the whole thing.)
Let’s spread the joy of laughter and life through birth! Join me and a bunch of other awesome people around the globe starting THIS Monday, November 9 for the next Planet Joy Experiement here!
10 days, 21 minutes a day, $21, bringing your baby onto the planet in joy!
If you’re totally raising your hand to be my first laughter birth doula client, pen me down in our calendars here and let’s bring your baby onto this planet in Joy and laughter!
Mama’s, labor is totally unpredictable. And the truth is, when it starts you have little control over how it happens.
If if not’s going as planned and something unexpected happens, it’s high time to ditch your Type A personality cause it’s only going to get in the way.
What should you do instead?
If what’s happening isn’t in need of immediate medical attention, but wouldn’t be classified as a “textbook” labor either, here’s what you need to do instead of trying to control it:
1) Relax, it’s not your story to write
Although all of our planning, preparation, and healthy eating and exercising do give us an advantage to having a textbook birth, it doesn’t always work out that way.
The bigger picture is that this is your baby’s birth, not yours. It’s the beginning of your baby’s story and as much as s/he is a part of you, s/he still has a story to write and play out in this life apart from you.
Dramatic entrances don’t have to mean doom and gloom for your child. It could actually be a source of strength for them when they grow older.
The best thing you can do when something unexpected happens in labor is to relax and go with the flow of the birth energy.
A great way to relax and get in the flow is to…
Is it hard for you to relax when things seem out of your control? Do you suffer from seriousitis? Do you often get in your own way in life?
Mama, life is way too short for that shit.
I used to be that way until I started practicing laughing with intention.
What is that you ask?
It’s just that – laughing with intention; not because something’s funny, but with intention.
I started laughing with intention about a year ago. Recently, I completed a 21-day Joy Experiment to see what would happen when I made my joy a priority. It was life-changing to say the least.
This laughing bit isn’t just for when things aren’t going your way in life. Laughing with intention can also help you when things aren’t going your way with your labor and birth.
Are you taking your birth too seriously? Are you going to be upset if it doesn’t go exactly as you planned?
Get up and dance, cackle, whiz and whirl, get out of your head… LAUGH when things don’t go as expected.
Doing so will help you loosen your grip and let birth happen as it wants and is in the highest good for all involved!
Starting a laughter practice before you give birth will give you the best chance at being in the space of ease and flow during labor and birth.
Join me and a bunch of other awesome people for the next 10-day Joy Experiment hosted by my friend Anne Timpany November 9-18, 2015 to help you lighten up and get out of your own way with your birth plan!
3) Focus on what IS going right
You’re having a baby! Regardless of how it’s all going down, you’re having a baby and becoming a mother hell or high water.
There will be time to process all that’s happening that wasn’t in your plans. But, while it’s happening isn’t the time to do that.
When something unexpected happens is when you need to get and stay present, connect, relax, and get in the flow of the energy of your labor the most.
You may not have control over HOW it happens, but nothing will correct issues or speed up the process more than choosing to focus on all that already is right and building on that energy.
What you focus on WILL expand!
4) Call in your support system
First off, to get a baby down and out, you have to be comfortable. You need people who are 100% supportive of your choices.
Hopefully, you’ve carefully selected your birth team and have chosen supportive people to be with you.
If you’ve hired a doula, AWESOME! She will be able to help you with the physical aspects of your birth to get things going in the right direction. (Check out the spinning babies website for amazing tips to steer a non textbook labor in the right direction.)
However, you may find that when things go unexpectedly, someone you thought would be supportive is no longer supportive of your choices…What to do?
Tell them to leave or if you’ve hired them, fire them.
If you have to, go lock yourself in the bathroom until you feel safe. Let your primal brain kick in and go with your gut…always.
Don’t worry about being kind, proper, polite. When you’re having a baby isn’t the time for pleasantries.
You need to get down to the nitty gritty and do the work that’s ahead of you NOW.
And if someone isn’t supporting you, they simply have to go.
You don’t need to apologize either. But, if you feel you need to, you can do that later.
5) Establish boundaries when writing your birth plan
As the saying goes – “knowing what you want is half the battle.”
When you know what you’ll say “hell yeah” to and “hell no” to when it comes to common interventions and newborn procedures in labor and birth, you’re halfway to getting what you want already!
What are you willing to accept if something unexpected happens?
What are you not willing to accept if something unexpected happens?
When sitting down and writing your birth plan (that’s really for you btw, not as much for the docs), you give yourself the opportunity to evaluate your ok’ness with common interventions and newborn procedures with your doula.
Your doula should be going through all of this with you or helping lead you to information to help you get the facts before making up your mind.
When everyone knows what you want, they can support you and help you better if things don’t go as planned.
Establishing boundaries ahead of time will also allow your support people to emotionally support you because they aren’t busy helping you make up your mind in the moment.
Usually not the way you want to go – making big decisions about your birth in the moment – if you can avoid it ahead of time.
Establishing boundaries beforehand = everyone knows where you stand = no one can take advantage of you = you have an empowering birth experience no matter what.
Are you digging these 5 tips to help if your labor doesn’t go as planned? If so, I’m 100% sure that you’ll LOVE reading my free eBook – Bringing Back Empowered Birth: Reclaim Your Feminine Power in Childbirth. Download it here.
In it you’ll learn 7 things you can do to have an empowering birth (especially in the hospital setting) no matter what.