“In that moment, I couldn’t tell if she was me or I was her.”
When it comes to childbirth, many negative stories circulate around us. We hear tales of excruciating pain, anxious uncertainty, and wanting to “get it over with” almost as soon as it has started. Many expectant mothers hold deep-rooted fear pre-birth, and they go on to carry the anchors of trauma after it has happened.
My experience of birthing my daughter does not fit the negative narratives and scary stories I had heard. In fact, the events of her birth were not anything I could ever have imagined. It was far more of a personal and spiritual chapter of my life than I ever could have known it would be. It was less about “giving” birth and more about the experience of a state of grace.
I am here to tell my story, as I feel the world can learn a new way of approaching the birthing journey. Pregnancy and childbirth are not merely biological processes. The pathway of bringing new life into existence can be one of enlightenment and a deep connection between mother and child. It is an opportunity to expand who we are without limit.
I was living on a small island in the south of Mexico. As I approached the seventh month of my pregnancy, I traveled north to stay with my mother, who lives near the city of Monterrey, Mexico. My husband was working in Saudi Arabia at the time. Monterrey is an industrialized and prosperous city. It is also an epicenter for C-section births, with over 90 percent of births heading to the theatre. I knew this was not the mode for me. We were lucky to find an old-school doctor and one of the few who would advocate natural birth.
I had read about water births. I have always been a spiritual person, and my instincts told me to follow the pathway of natural experience rather than surgery and anesthesia. I am also not a fan of injections, which helped me make up my mind that I needed to pursue a water birth with a clinic that would understand my journey.
My due date came and went. I got heavier, and so did my baby. I had a local ultrasound that confirmed the baby was four kilograms (about eight pounds) already. They wanted to induce me, but my instincts and my doctor told me we should wait. I contacted my husband who came to join me a few days later, in Monterrey, where we rented a little house. As we waited for the date, we thought it would be a good idea to visit a clinic to take some antenatal classes; after all, this was my first pregnancy, and certainly, some preparation could come in handy.
From then, everything began to change.
We visited a holistic clinic that offered water births and natural medicine. It was clear from the staff’s expressions that they thought I was late in more ways than one; (cough, cough) my nine-month belly was quite prominent. Alternatively, they showed us to a private room where they put on a movie about water childbirth. It was a three-hour video, so we fast-forwarded to the part where the baby emerged and stopped the film where the family had their baby in their arms, and they were all happy. I remember telling myself, “Well, that didn’t look very hard,” and placed a hand protectively on my belly, feeling ready and excited for my girl to arrive.
That night, as if my baby had sensed what happened that day, she began to make her move. My contractions started at midnight. I felt each and every one of those deep cramps pulling through my core but allowed them space in the knowledge that each one was necessary to help my baby on her travels to join us. I was placed in a dimly lit room with a warm water bath. As I bounced on the ball they gave me, I devoted my energy to the present moment and no further.
“I trust the process.”
As the birth progressed, “I trust the process” became my mantra as I allowed the music of the room and the red lights of the birthing pool to soothe me. I trusted my daughter. I trusted myself. I trusted the arms of my husband and the team around me to keep me safe. I trusted the Universe to guide us both.
Water has always brought me solace, and this night was no different.
When the crucial time came, my doctor became my witness rather than someone to intervene. I pushed with my life in a loving state of surrender. It was as if I gave up every piece of resistance that I had ever experienced. It was the ultimate relinquishment of power in the most beautiful way.
My name and all my memories melted away to leave a birthing woman and her baby as one.
As my body opened to allow my baby through, I saw a bright white light coming out of a red lotus flower blooming at the exact moment. It was not seen with my eyes but within my consciousness. It was a charged moment of something beyond life or death. No pain, only the sensation of authentic birth within my body. My baby’s crown was the center of the lotus, and I felt them both blossom in harmony.
As she emerged into the light, I grabbed her body and held it to mine. She opened her eyes and smiled at me. At that moment, I couldn’t tell if she was me or I was her. It felt as if we had given birth to one another. I could feel the size of the room, of her body, and of us in unison. Where the walls met, the floor didn’t matter. Nor did the question of who I was within that moment—an experience of vastness and being all with one and everything.
I can only describe my experience of birth as a surrender to the highest state of joy.
In the same way, an orgasm makes everything else disappear for a few intense moments; the same was true of my experience in giving my daughter her pathway to the world. I surrendered my body entirely and, as a result, stepped into an abyss of pure love and ultimate connection.
I named my miracle baby Tara, after the Indian Goddess. The story says that the God of gods came to Earth, and after witnessing the suffering man was causing to himself, he was moved and went to contemplate at a lake. Out of sadness, a tear rolled down his cheek and landed in the lake, where a lotus flower emerged. As the flower bloomed, it birthed Tara, the incarnation of compassion. I discovered this story while traveling in India and knew as soon as I saw my baby that it was her name.
My experience of childbirth was a moment of precious enlightenment.
If I had followed the path set out for me by typical medical and social culture, I would not have had the same experience.
By telling my story, I hope that I can yield a stream of light in the shadows that could help another woman experience the same joy in conscious birthing that I had myself.