Spiritual Warrior

Day before birthing September 30, 2011  Outside my home in SW Portland by the Willamette River
Day before birthing September 30, 2011 Outside my home in SW Portland by the Willamette River

A spiritual warrior refuses to die to his/her true self.

From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I was clear that I wanted to do a home birth. My parents were extremely upset and worried. How could I risk the life of my unborn child and that of my own? I don't blame them for being scared. I was scared of giving birth too. Yet, my vision and desire were strong to birth at home.

I began to do a great deal of research. I read many birthing books, spoke to doctors, midwives, mothers, took three birthing courses. I loved reading how animals find a quiet, dark, solitary place in nature and give birth on their own. I learned that 9 out of 10 first time mothers who birth at home stay at home. My chances were high. I also understood the risks. 1 out of 10 women will need to go to a hospital. In the chance that this was the case for me, I wanted my home to be very close to a hospital.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was living on Kauai. The only major hospital was one hour away without traffic. Depending on the time of day, traffic could make the trip significantly longer. By the time I was five months pregnant, I was clear that I did not want to give birth on Kauai. The hospital was simply too far and I also did not feel a strong connection with the birthing team at that hospital.

When I meditated, for some reason, a mystery to me, Portland, Oregon kept coming into my consciousness. I had never lived in Portland. In fact, I had only ever spent two days in Portland.  Yet, I was pulled to go.

Everyone thought I was nuts.  Ryan wanted to stay on Kauai to give birth, which is understandable as it is an incredibly nourishing paradise there.  My family wanted me to come to Maryland which is also completely logical as having their support would be tremendous just after having a baby.

My heart kept saying Portland, and when I was six months pregnant I moved there by myself as Ryan had another month of training to complete on Kauai before being able to join me.

I had one friend in Portland.  No home, no doctor, no midwife, no hospital.  My one friend, Angie Prewitt, is an angel.  She helped me in every way to find a home, a midwife, help me take care of the details of my health insurance, cooked for me when I was exhausted, the list goes on and on.

Thankfully and quite smoothly, things started to fall into place.  After interviewing many midwives, we found one that was perfect.  We found a gorgeous home on the Willamette River in Southwest Portland.  The living room and bedroom are all windows overlooking this beautiful river.  The healing and grounding energy of the water right in front of me was exquisite.   Usually this house is rented out as a vacation home for $150/night, but, the owners gave it to me for an incredible rate, the same as a rent I would pay for an average two bedroom apartment in Portland.  Yet, this was a beautiful, spacious house decorated with artwork from India and Nepal and full with books on Buddhism, Yoga, Healing and Transformation.

There were two excellent hospitals within a ten minute drive from this new home.  Ryan joined me one month later and the end of my pregnancy was finally a time of relaxing and preparing for birth with things in place.

I went into labor around midnight October 1, 2011 and Mila came into my arms about nine hours later in the living room of this blessed home.  Everything went smoothly.  No need for a trip to the hospital.  It was the birth that I had dreamed of.  Quiet in a sweet, peaceful, comfortable home with Ryan by my side.  Even the midwife kept her distance and let the birth happen organically, giving us the comfort that she is close if we need her.

Mila's birth is the one thing I am most proud of in my life.  It happened exactly as I had wanted.  And, the truth is, like all good things, I worked hard for it.  I don't even mean the labor.  I mean everything else.  Leaving Kauai on my own, not going to Maryland, landing in Portland with one friend and nothing else, lining up a midwife and hospital, having the difficult conversations with my family that I wanted to be alone while birthing and thus risking hurting their feelings, etc, etc, etc, etc....not to mention the fear and loneliness.  Despite all of that there was some TRUST in myself and in the universe to follow my impulses.  And, the reward of this - the beauty of the birth -  that satisfaction is something I get to live with.  It feeds me, it makes me alive, it brightens my light, it gives me real happiness.

Why do I tell you this story?  Because I see Yoga as an experiment.  The Vedas say "Do not believe anything unless you experience it yourself.  Only what you experience is real."

Is there potential if we let ourselves move beyond fear?  Is there grace and support when you take the plunge to follow your impulses?  "Jump and the net will appear," say the Zen Buddhists.  Yes, yes, yes.

"Answer every call that excites your spirit," says Rumi.  To follow your natural impulses, trust your instincts and your intuition are teachings that spiritual leaders from every tradition echo.  "Drink all your passions, and be a disgrace,"  Rumi goes on to write in another poem.

"Yogis are rebels, anarchists, free thinkers," my teacher Danny Paradise emphasizes.   We listen and follow our truths even if it is out of sync with the norms of society, culture, practicality.  This is the courage and strength and vision of a yogi.  A spiritual warrior holds a fierce determination to follow his/her truth no matter what, even at the cost of being ridiculed.   Spiritual warriors refuse to die to their truths.

The road is not smooth.  But, go for it, encourage the ancient yogis.  The Bhagavad Gita states clearly, "It is better to do your work poorly than to perfectly do another's."  Go for the challenge of honoring yourself in all of your actions, words and thoughts.

If you are looking to live a satisfying life, it can only come from you.  Unwind your mind to find the truths that lie at the center of your being and go for it, go for it, go for it.  You got it.  You are strong, capable and pure.  You have the ability to live your dream.  One step to honor yourself and the universe will take 100 steps towards you.  Start now because we have no idea how long we have of this life.  Our death is certain yet the time of our death is uncertain.  It can happen anytime.  Honor yourself now.



Reema Homebirth 3:30am, 5 cm dilated
Reema Homebirth 3:30am, 5 cm dilated