Empowering Women through Soulful Birthing
In 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe, pregnant with her Divine Son, appeared to a young Aztec indian named Juan Diego as he was walking through the Tepayac countryside which would later become Mexico City. From the miracles that transpired after this vision took place, six million Aztecs were converted to Catholicism over a six year period. Click here for more information.
I believe birth is a sacred experience in which we become conscious of God’s gift of life. Mary, who carried Jesus in her womb, longs to be our spiritual mother. She wants to provide her nurturing, maternal and unconditional love for us, bringing us ever closer to her Holy Son.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the many apparitions of Mary throughout history, is known as the protectress of the unborn, as well as Queen of the Americas. Having been through unimaginable depths of pain, sorrow and heartbreak, Mary always remained strong and humble, keeping her soul pure and beautiful by trusting in something much greater than herself. We can’t carry the huge load of life’s heartaches, disappointment and suffering alone. Mary is a source of strength and help to us throughout life’s many challenges. She beckons all her children to come to her so she can intercede on our behalf and bestow graces upon us through her Son, Jesus.
Hail Mary, White Lily of the glorious and always-serene Trinity.
Hail brilliant Rose of the garden of heavenly delights!
O you, by whom God wanted to be born and by whose milk
the King of heaven wanted to be nourished!
Nourish our souls with effusions of divine grace.
“Let it be done” was Mary’s Fiat - her “yes” in response to God’s calling. As we each understand our own divine purpose, we can also respond with a “yes” rather than resistance. Obedience is letting go of our fear, anxiety and the unhealthy expectations of ourselves and others.
Poverty of spirit is letting go of pride and opening yourself to both giving and receiving care. Like a flower that receives the gifts of sunshine, rain and nourishment from the soil, and in return gives beauty to the world and nectar to the butterflies and bees - a mother also needs nourishment and care in order to give of herself to her child and her family.
Teresa of Avila wrote, “Patience obtains all things”. Patience goes a long way when faced with the unexpected circumstances that can arise in labor and delivery. This is one of the best preparations for becoming a new parent. Cultivating the seeds of patience and willingness to accept the “unplanned” during pregnancy and labor is practice for the patience you will need as a new mother.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke of “women as bearers of love, teachers of mercy and artisans of peace.” Mercy and compassion extend to our expectations of ourselves, our bodies, and the recognition that we, our family, and our children are imperfect. Mercy is the practice of being more accepting, less controlling and more loving. In return, mothers also need compassion, nurturing and understanding from those close to them.
Life is full of sorrow - and even amid the joy of new life, parenting is no exception! Mary longs to be our spiritual mother, embracing us as we are, with all of our suffering and woundedness. Her maternal love can carry us through life’s heartaches with tenderness, healing and restoration. She is ever leading us to her Son, the ultimate healer.
MARY, in her tenderness, mercy, and maternal sensitivity, can nourish the hunger of humanity and life itself.
*Photography of St. Lawrence Basilica Catholic Church of Asheville, NC (Stained Glass and 'Mary in the Garden'), Courtesy of Ben Wadhams, 2013.
As a doula, I strive to embody Mary’s spirit of selflessness and charity. By applying her 10 Virtues to daily life and motherhood, I am able to be a better love and serve the women I work with:
No matter what the circumstances, every pregnancy is pure and sacred.
Preparing for labor and childbirth requires mindful preparation grounded in feminine wisdom and informed choices.
Not everything is in our control, and we must surrender to a higher outcome and recognize the greater plan in all things.
Entering the experience of birth is going into a great Unknown. As you trust in the process as it unfolds, you allow your unique experience to strengthen and shape you. Fear and anxiety are normal, and faith is the light that guides you through the unknown.
Total presence to the process of pregnancy and birth. Devotion also embodies the sanctity of your new calling and vocation as a mother.