"How we are born and how we birth impacts on a massive scale who we are as human
beings. When a mother is able to birth her baby in an undisturbed environment and is truly
able to release oxytocin (the love hormone and the most important hormone for labour),
then she transmits love and a sense of connectedness and belonging to the baby and herself. And what that does is it creates a humanity which feels loved, which feels connected and empowered, which feels a sense of belonging and a deep connection to this earth we live in."
- Ruth Ehrhardt
Ruth Ehrhardt is an international author and trainer of midwifery practices. She is also a
mother and has been attending births for most of her adult life. She summed up her beliefs
and approach to birth in a booklet called, “What a woman needs in labour”. It boils down to
feeling safe and being in a space where you can lose yourself into the experience of labour
and birth. Her suggestions and guidelines are easy to understand, easy to follow and can
change your birthing experience profoundly.
And yet… it also seems unattainable and far-fetched if you look at the realities of birthing in
Most women do not feel safe during their labour and birth.
Most people do not feel connected to themselves, the people around them and the earth
we live in.
I want to add my voice to Ruth’s and draw a line between these two realities. Maybe the
experiences many (most?) mothers have when their babies are born, are the reason why
humanity seems to be so disconnected from each other and the earth we live in, living their
lives feeling so unloved and so lost…
Now if this is true - if the source of humanity’s current predicament can be traced back to
the way we birth, shouldn’t we be more serious about how this life-changing and life-giving
event takes place?
To help us find our way to a “better” birthing reality, we need to track the path that brought
us here. For the last few centuries, our cognitive functioning has been overemphasized
while the ancient wisdom of the body was overlooked and even undermined. It partly
explains why birth has become such a manipulated event – people have lost trust in the
body’s innate design and ability to grow, carry and birth new life into the world. Most care
providers are also trained to approach birth from a risk management angle and cannot allow processes to unfold in peace and at its own pace. Now that we live in an age where
everybody has access to unbelievable knowledge and global expertise in every field, there is
the danger that us "ordinary people" stay trapped in this unbalanced system. There is also
the possibility that we can challenge the way things are done…
Is it possible that we can change the way babies are born by paying attention to a woman’s
basic need to “feel safe” when birthing her baby… and if this is what a woman needs to
transmit love and a sense of connection with her baby, shouldn’t we be working to create
How about we start looking at mothers to answer questions like, where do you feel safe?
What do you need to make you feel safe?
How about we encourage mothers to figure out the answer to that question, investigate
their fears, do their research, listen to stories, visualize scenarios and then choose the
birthplace that gives them the most peace?
How about we explore letting the innate wisdom of the body guide us when making our
choices about how and where we want to birth our babies?
Surely, if women are trusted to make these choices based on their instinct and expertise of
their own bodies and then are encouraged to invite care providers into that space to help
them create the safety they need to labour and birth their babies, the birthing reality will
Surely, we will begin to see how “feeling safe” when giving birth, change the world – one
baby at a time…
Falling pregnant, growing a baby, birthing a baby and raising a child are all perfect
opportunities to regain confidence in your body's ability to do what it has been designed
for. It is also the perfect gift to humanity – creating a world where people live with deep
connection and a sense of belonging.