Katie shares with us beautiful prose of going into the darkness. She invites us to challenge the idea that darkness is evil or scary and how to use it to our advantage during childbirth. For Katie, darkness is solace, peace, and seclusion, which are wonderful adjectives for birth. Consider how we often meet a lover in the darkness. Our senses are turned down. We get to put all of our focus into touching and feeling.
Stephanie shares her experience being “highly sensitive” and how much the noise of children can overstimulate her. One way that she balances things out is through low-lighting. This definitely translates, for many people, into the birth space. Some midwives wear headlamps at births to be more honoring of their clients’ desire for darkness.
When you’re laying down at night, getting ready to sleep, and all the lights are off–where do your thoughts go? For some, it goes into ideas. Others, planning. Imagination is often sparked, for good or for bad. It can lead to feelings of unsafety. If that applies to you, that can be informative self-awareness for your upcoming birth. Our brain is the place we live, and if your default is fear–birth could be more challenging in this area.
Nyx is the goddess of darkness from Greek mythology. One story that’s told about her involves her son, Chaos, who incurs the rath of Zeus. He flees to the safety of her mother, Nyx, and Zeus would not follow him. And he’s Zeus! That just shows how powerful darkness is that even the most powerful god will retreat. But, perhaps, if you’re prepared to face the darkness you don’t have anything to fear.
Stephanie points out that this is also found in Yogic teachings, from Paramahansa Yoginanda’s book The Second Coming of Christ. He teaches that any reference to the “wilderness” or “darkness” is a reference to the third-eye, or sixth chakra. And the third-eye is very much associated with seeing reality and discerning truth. You’d think that would be connected to light, but it’s not–it’s in darkness that we discover and know truth, when all of our other senses are quiet.
Katie reminds us that traumatic births aren’t always healed by “perfect births” to follow. Many times, births are a combination of light and dark, smooth and pokey, and there is still profound healing potential within that full spectrum. This is the process of integrating the shadowside.
Stephanie speaks about the challenges of growing up in purity culture and an obsession with all that is light, bright, and right, while avoiding anything that is dark or evil. What that separation does is makes the darkness more powerful than we are. This is where addictions are born. Like the story of Jekyll and Hyde, where the good doctor meets his own demise because he didn’t know he could integrate his evil nature. This is powerful in your birth preparations, as well. You don’t want to only focus on your “perfect and good” birth, but also spend some time understanding your fears and “worst case scenarios.” If you avoid those areas, they become more powerful than you.
We challenge you: give yourself time alone in the darkness as part of your birth preparation. Get to know yourself there. Meet your baby there. Enter the darkness in order for both of you to step out, together, into the light.
If you’d like to learn more please visit www.freyabirth.com