How a shamanic teacher overcame her fears of having children
GUEST COLUMN: DAWN DANCING OTTER — Mother’s Day is such a celebration in my family. It brings me to tears every time. I get completely sentimental around the births of my sons because it highlights to me how very much I have been loved, helped, nurtured, and supported in my life.
As a mother, I have come to embrace my beginner’s mind. I gave birth to Gabriel in 1998 during a flurry of confusion, feeling disoriented, in pain, surrendering to others to help me through the process. Having children has helped me truly to understand nature. It is both perfect, and messy, with the opportunity to experience just about anything.
My life, pre-babies (before 1997), was under my thumb. I was very disciplined about much of my life, and that which was undisciplined was well hidden from sight. I loved the idea of someday having children, but the truth was, I was also utterly terrified at the realities that I witnessed. To give up a space in my body to some ‘other’ being to grow at will. . .to get ‘fat’ on purpose. To give up my hold on the things that made me feel important — my job, my art, my social life — seemed a huge sacrifice.
As often happens, I was visited by one of my guides, my Grandfather, one evening. He sat on my bed and spoke loving words to me about what a wonderful child I was, and how beautiful I had become, and what a wonderful mother I would be.
I hadn’t really considered the timing of getting pregnant or whether I was ‘ready’ to have a baby. Suddenly (and it really was sudden) I wanted to be the wonderful mother that my Grandfather saw in me. The fact that I was clueless and afraid didn’t seem to faze me so much as the desire to conceive got stronger. When I talked to my husband Tomas about it (we had been together seven years at that time, married less than a year), he was very keen. So we threw ourselves into the intention with reckless abandon. I was pregnant instantly. We were both ecstatic when we found out.
Then it hit me. The reality of what was to come. As happy as we were, I began to realise that there was more to it than I had thought. I became aware that I was truly scared.
I was afraid of the birth process. It seemed completely foreign to me, and despite its enormous popularity (six billion births within recent years!), my inner fear was that it would be something I could not accomplish myself. As we drew nearer to the date, my nerves were more and more on edge.
Then we had a car accident. We were rear-ended, hard, so much so that we were sent into the car in front of us. After the accident, I felt that something was terribly wrong. I felt physically challenged to sit, stand, or anything other than to lay in fetal position. I was so scared about the baby. What had he experienced? Was he okay in there?
I found out days later, from an ultrasound, that my baby had gone into a transverse position, and that this is a very difficult position in which to expect a vaginal birth. My MD suggested a C-Section, but I wouldn’t hear of it. See, I came into pregnancy with a real attitude that I was going to ‘do all the right things’ and have everything ‘natural’ and it would be a ‘beautiful’ experience without any unnecessary ‘interventions’ from my doctors. I practised yoga every day, I saw a Chiropractor regularly, I walked in the mountains, I drank spring water, I ate organic food. I would not accept a C-Section as an outcome.
I went three weeks past my due date, feeling utter anxiety with each passing hour. Finally, I went into labour. A few hours later it stopped. Started. Stopped. Started. Stopped. After two days, of this, my MD suggested induction via Pitocin, which, though I was reluctant, I agreed to do.
After 12 hours — of three minute long contractions with ten second breaks, my MD assessed that I had only dilated four cm. My blood pressure had climbed to a dangerous level and that to go forward in labour was potentially life threatening. My husband stepped forward and told me that he wanted me to consider a C-Section because he felt the severity of the moment, and he admitted to me that he was frightened for both me and the baby.
I can’t explain what shifted inside me. I remember feeling so much compassion for my husband who was the external mirror to my own fear. Ultimately I let go into the Universe, and it seemed utterly right when I quietly agreed to have a C-Section.
Only 55 minutes later I was holding Gabriel Moon (pictured above right) — a miracle, perfect and warm — in my arms. We locked eyes. The nurse told me, ‘He can’t see you yet’ which, though I nodded my head, seemed like nonsense, as it felt like we were inside each other’s eyes, beyond vision.
When I think about that time in my life, it makes me smile. Nature is like that. Everything that is needed is already there. Perfect interconnecting matrices. My perfect interconnected matrix included the gifted hands of two doctors and five nurses, morphine, scalpel, stitches, and Billy Ocean buzzing on the not-quite tuned radio in the room beside me. And, remarkably, I was grateful.
After ten and 1/2 years, that gratitude has only deepened. My surgical scar is almost invisible. My body has changed and integrated from this experience, and the experience of giving birth to another miracle, Raven Kai (pictured at left) in 2005 (much less drama, but equally as memorable!).
The Shamanic lesson that I integrated from these experiences is the fact that I was held in so much safety as I unconsciously struggled through giving birth to my first son. This is nature. I feel that Creator is unfolding life in ways that, while initiated though our desires, goes beyond our limitations of thinking into a perfection that is so utterly specific, so imperceptibly nuanced.
To me, that’s Love — I was Loved so much that I was supported even with all my fears, all my insecurities, all my learning needs, all the agreements that I had made with the Universe.
Gabriel Moon is 10 1/2, Raven Kai is 3 1/2. They are my teachers and we are sharing a beautiful adventure.
Dawn Dancing Otter is revealing the unknown through motherhood, Quantum Shamanic Transformation, Soul Alchemy, and Ecstatic Dance in Penticton BC. Check out her Facebook group and her site. Dawn’s previous article for Soul’s Code is From sinner to saint: my beginner’s mind.
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