Birthing the New Story! Imagining a World that Works for All of Life

In 1987 my sister was 40 years old and having her first baby. She chose a home birth with a midwife. I questioned her choice, but Janice is a smart woman and had done the research to understand that the approach of hospitals and doctors adds unnecessary layers of procedures for protection (often their own from malpractice suits) that can often result in harm to a newborn. That’s likely why the US is “the most dangerous developed country to give birth in” according to Newsweek in 2018*. Janice gave birth to her second healthy child at age 44, again at the home of her midwife.

Back in 1987, most of us put our trust without question in the promise of existing structures and heedlessly follow their protocols in an attempt to create lives that work within an established system. Unfortunately, even though our lives as a whole aren’t working all that well, we still do. But it is 2020 and we’re starting to break the spell of believing someone knows more than we do about how to create the world to which we want to belong. Our blind allegiance is faltering, and well it should. We’re in a time of health, political, environmental, racial and financial crises. The structures we’ve relied on are crumbling, and no election or single leader can change that.

What will it take to break the spell of believing in an old way and imagine a world that works for all of life?

For years, I have been captivated by the Rumi quote, “Speak a new language so the world may be a new world.” I’ve spoken about that as I’ve sensed that there are languages of the soul that can awaken us to new ways of seeing and being that open the way to the new world we trust is possible and want to co-create.

Janice exhibited what I now recognize as feminine wisdom. She listened to her own knowing and applied it not only to her choices around childbirth but also to the “non-school” education she provided for her two daughters, trusting their natural curiosity instead of forcing a curriculum that could discourage their creativity and natural brilliance. She applied that knowing to her own cancer diagnosis in 2009 and continues to forge an integrative path to staying alive and living fully. And she applies it to this day to providing hospitality in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee at the inn and cabins where each guest is seen as an important stranger deserving of love and generosity of spirit and where she creates from her heart a sanctuary in nature for her guests to come alive!  She speaks and lives a new language of health, education, business, the natural world and the welcoming of differences.

A few months ago, I was listening to Karen Downes speaking from the UK about the feminine leadership qualities that support our collective well-being. I asked her what she believes those qualities to be. She responded with something I hadn’t yet heard in a conversation that can often sound too general to wake us up. She said, “You can’t define the feminine separate from our physiology and capacity to give birth. That is what is exclusive to the feminine.”

I’ve often thought of the New Story we long for in our world as birthing the new. And last week I saw firsthand how the new language of childbirth can support us in leading the way, with full partnership with the masculine.

That baby Kendra, born to Janice in 1987, is now 33 and expecting her first child. I got to visit her and her partner DJ a month out from the anticipated birth time. And, oh, is a new language emerging!

Kendra and DJ with their doula Anasuya.
May we all support the birth of a new story!


Kendra, too, is choosing a home birth. At first a hospital birth seemed like the best choice with the doctor she had vetted and fully trusted. Then came the hospital protocols and the resulting requirements that became dealbreakers for Kendra and DJ. The doula and midwife have become their trusted team with that same doctor and a nearby hospital as backup.

Kendra clued me in to the new language around birthing. Here are some of the changes:

  • Birthing replaces Labor.
  • Surge or Waves replace Contraction
  • Birth Breathing replaces Pushing

This new language exemplifies a softer way to hold the unknown. One of the strengths of the Feminine is trust in the cycles of nature.

I’ve seen over time that many, even the most aware among us, have difficulty separating the qualities of the feminine from the word “feminism” even though they have very different definitions.

Feminism refers to the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. “The feminine” refers to the qualities of the feminine which are often underrated and underrepresented in world where doing is considered superior to being.

In addition to the capacity to give birth, feminine qualities include care, compassion, respect, empathy, trust, patience, nurturing, the capacity to hold uncertainty with the timing of the birth. In the best of all worlds, the masculine brings the needed structure to the new story that emerges from the deep listening of the feminine.

And, of course, men and women alike hold both feminine and masculine qualities. What interests me at this critical juncture in our evolution is how the feminine and masculine can form a balanced partnership so our world can find the essential equilibrium that heralds a new way and leads to our evolution. 

Let’s apply that to the partnership with the Masculine in support of birthing the new.

On Kendra and DJ’s coffee table is a bowl with their affirmations. Kendra’s include:

  • I meet each surge with my breath. My body is at ease.
  • I am prepared to meet whatever turn my birthing takes.
  • I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby.
  • I trust my body to know what to do.
  • I relax as we move quickly and easily through each state of birth
  • I feel confident. I feel safe. I feel secure.
  • I am focused on a smooth, easy birth

DJ’s affirmations state:

  • I trust and believe in the natural process of birth and remain present for my partner and baby.
  • I accept that my calm, loving presence during our baby’s birth is paramount to a good outcome.
  • I take the time I need to prepare my heart and mind for parenting our new baby.
  • I trust in the natural process of birth.
  • I assert myself lovingly and confidently by reminding my partner to follow her body’s lead.
  • My presence is significant during the birth of our baby. I trust my instincts and know all is well.
  • I am comfortable with silence and giving my partner space as she follows her birthing instincts

Might we, too, start speaking a new language in support of the birth of a new story?

It is said that the Iroquois Grandmother Council would meet to decide which of the tribe’s proposals would become law. As they considered the impact on seven generations, the unceasing question of the grandmothers that guided their decisions was: Does this support life?

What new story is emerging in you that supports All of Life? How are you living it right now? 

*Newsweek 2018 https://www.newsweek.com/us-most-dangerous-developed-country-give-birth-report-1044898

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