Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Birth like a samurai!

As part of my ongoing devotion to all things birthy, I can often be found of an evening reading birthy books, surfing birthy websites or watching birthy vids on youtube or elsewhere on the web.

Last night, I watched the most wonderful interview with the gorgeous Frederick Leboyer, author of the seminal book from the 1970's 'Birth WithoutViolence'.

Part One

Part Two

There are so many things he says in these videos that resonate so truly for me. That birth is a solitary event, but not a lonely one. That no-one can go so deep down into yourself as far as you. That our births leave a deep imprint on us. That mother and baby communicate heart-to-heart, without language.

I was surprised that this pioneer of peaceful birth, the man who is responsible in part for dim lighting in hospitals, for introducing water to the birth space, a man who is all about peace and love and gentleness in birth, the man whose videos show peaceful mothers and babies looking utterly relaxed should say the following (in his soft and very beautiful french accent) :

"Women have to be told instead of talking about relaxation, feel relaxed?...no! They have to feel like a samurai..."

And in a flash of recognition, I understand and see my Samurai birthing self refected. This truth resonates deeply. I have always worked hard to create a tranquil birth space for myself, dressed my birth scene with the same love and attention as a theatre or filmset designer. I have had my calm husband on hand, oils and water to soothe. But inside the flower power hippy chick was a silk and steel warrior! The environment around me has always been carefully constructed to be relaxed and this has served as a landscape or backdrop for the very serious work of birth.

And I realise a few things about the Samurai mother.

The Samurai mother understands that labour is a physical and psychological task that requies utter concentration, focus and attention.

She knows that running way from it just makes it harder and that she can't wish or will the pain away. She has to face it.

The Samurai mother understands when to be flowing and bendy and yielding like silk, and when to be strong like steel.

She knows it is haaaaaard work. Even with drugs and surgery.

She will claw anyone in her path who dares to hurt her baby. She is a primal force to be reckoned with.

It is only when she squares up to her fear head on, sharpening her mind, facing it like a tiger, like a Samurai that she can birth the most easily.

Birth is potentially most powerful, and simoultaneously, most peaceful, when a mother embraces her mental inner tiger, harnesses her tigress power, roars in her primal Samurai way, stays focused but then surrenders everything at the crucial moment. At that surrendering moment, time is suspended,  everything else ceases to exist, she is more alive than ever and equally her old self dies, and everything is made new, a whole new universe is born.




  1. My unspoken thoughts exactly, what a fabulous analogy! I think Samurai is a good metaphor for ongoing motherhood too. All the things you say apply to mothering our little ones. I think I'd like to be a samurai mother, it's a nice image to have :) X