A woman’s experience of giving birth and becoming a mother is a powerful transformational journey. Birth is a life event that tests a woman’s physical and inner resources. In some instances, childbirth goes beyond the expected intensity, and a mother is left with unanswered questions and feelings of disappointment, deep sadness, regret, anger, blame or guilt about the events surrounding the birth of her baby.
One of the postpartum tasks a new mother faces is to integrate her experience of childbirth. The answers are in her birth story. Yet, often birth stories are told in a way that leaves both the storyteller and the story listener confused and stuck in the “WHAT-IFs”. In many birth story circles, birth stories are told in a linear, chronological way often focusing on describing the medical events. New insights are hard to come by when we retell these linear stories over and over. This is like picking on the scab of a wound that is trying to heal.
Another myth about storytelling is the idea that we have to “feel-it-to-heal-it”. Feeling the emotions of a previous experience leads the mind to believe that the event is still happening. It is as if the whole unwanted event is happening all over again. The body secretes the same stress hormones that were useful at the time of the event but not useful anymore. Cortisol and adrenaline are released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. The mind does not know the disturbing event is over and the woman relives the experience over and over in her body. Sometimes for many years.
When the mind is busy fighting or fleeing a lion that is not there, there is no energy available for growth, healing or happiness.
A Different Way to Revisit Your Birth Story
What Happens in a Birth Story Healing Workshop
After drawing her own labyrinth (no art skills required!!), each woman silently finger traces it with her non-dominant hand. Finger tracing induces a relaxed, meditative state.
The changes in brain waves from the active Beta waves to the relaxed Alpha waves that take place during the finger tracing of the labyrinth open the mind to see the events in new ways. The mind opens to new possibilities and healing begins.
After tracing the labyrinth, mothers are guided to visualize the birth and postpartum journey in the labyrinth. Through guided visualization, storytelling, drawing and journaling (all right brain, creative, intuitive experiences) mothers are able to access new information about themselves and the birth. In this state a mother intuitively unveils new insights about herself and the birth that cannot be accessed when she tells her birth story in a linear, chronological way.
Regardless of how recent or long ago the birth took place, mothers find seeds of healing during this process.
Transformation and healing gently unfold when a mother reconnects with her Essence. The ripples of the healing that begins here will reach our children for many generations.
”During my walk through the Labyrinth, I felt both a sense of peace and pride as I recognized the strength that I had within me, even during a time I felt I was powerless. I have a greater appreciation of myself and my baby and the journey that we travel(ed) together.” ~Denby, revisiting the birth of her 10 year old
This Workshop Is for You If You…
- Experienced feeling a loss of control during and/or after birthing
- Experienced fear for your baby’s safety or your own safety
- Felt unheard, uncared for, or pushed into making difficult decisions
- Had poor pain relief during labor
- Experienced distress and intense fear during and following your birth experience
- Feel disappointment and deep sadness about your birth experience
- Experienced an emergency delivery
- Have been facing difficulty processing and accepting your birth experience
- Experienced separation from your baby at or following birth
- Preparing for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)
- Preparing to birth again after experiencing any of the above
1. Is this workshop only for women who have given birth?
Yes. I offer other workshops and services for first time mothers, partners and birth professionals.
2. I had a normal birth, may I participate?
Yes. Even after a normal birth it takes 2 to 3 years to integrate the childbirth experience. This workshop will help you better understand your journey thru childbirth and into motherhood. You will learn about yourself as a woman and as a mother.
3. I had a cesarean birth, is this for me?
Yes. In this workshop you will be guided to find a new perspective in any part of your story that you might be having questions about. If you are preparing for a VBAC, a private session is also highly recommended.
4. I am pregnant, is this good preparation for childbirth?
If you have experienced childbirth before, this is a great way to prepare for the birth of your next baby. The obstacles you encountered in a previous birth might still be present. By looking at them now you will be better prepared for your next birth. This workshop is not for first time moms. A private session is more appropriate for you.
5. What do I hear about art!? Do I need to know how to draw?
No. You will be the only person looking at your picture.
6. I don't want to hear any traumatic birth stories. Will people be sharing their traumatic experiences with everyone?
No. This is a very personal and intimate process. We’ll sit together and each person will work on her own birth story. The sharing is always insightful and uplifting.
7. I am a birth professional, may I attend?
Yes, if you are interested in working on your own childbirth story. This workshop is not for observers. To bring clear presence to their clients, it is highly beneficial for birth professionals to work through their own childbirth experiences.
8. I already came to this workshop, may I repeat it?
Absolutely, as many times as you continue to find it useful. Each time you look at your birth story you will be ready to see a different piece. Healing is sometimes like peeling an onion, we remove layers, one by one as we become ready to look deeper.
9. May I bring my children?
No. To have the freedom to completely focus your attention on yourself, children can not attend.
10. Do you offer private sessions?
Yes. Private sessions are very different than a group session as they are designed with only your needs in mind. For information about a Birth Story Healing Private Session Click Here.
Check the calendar for the next workshop.
This workshop is facilitated by Evelyn Ojeda-Fox. Evelyn has been facilitating birth story healing circles and mother circles since 2006. She has over 30 years of experience as an educator and mentor.
Questions? Need more information?
Contact Evelyn HERE
"Had a beautiful, healing experience at a workshop tonight with the incredible Evelyn Ojeda-Fox. I’m feeling a sense of peace and clarity that I didn’t know I could have after 5 years. Thank you, Evelyn, for leading me through. I’ll never forget it." -Candice
"I never thought about having compassion for my own self. I often only save this compassion for others, but looking back in this way allowed me to be there for myself. I loved that most of the reflections were done alone, but that there was plenty of space to share them." -KD
"This was such a great experience, I recommend this for all mothers, not just mothers who have a negative feeling about their birth experience. I discovered that I did what I could with what I had at the moment of my son’s birth. I didn’t do anything wrong, and there is nothing I could have done differently." -Kelly
"Thank you for your encouragement throughout my pregnancy. I’ve learned so much from your posts and have been inspired to research things because of them. Your healing birth workshop was incredible in beginning my journey to putting that part of my life story in perspective. I know that you said “there are no do-overs” with births, but Audrey’s birth brought a peace that my heart was aching for. I’m so blessed. Thank you again!" -Melanie Ann, after a peaceful water birth
"Thank you! I really appreciate what I gained from your class in preparation for this birth!" -Joanna, after a peaceful birth
"Though it was the birth of my twin sons I focused on during the workshop, I found the closure and wisdom gained helped to disperse the small bits of baggage I had with my other births. Closure, it was a beautiful thing. It’s not that those things didn’t happen, it’s simply that I control my view of them now, I’m not a passive participant- I have control." -Sarah (read Sarah’s full testimonial HERE)
"I participated in Evelyn Ojeda-Fox’s Transformational Birth Healing Workshop and feel immensely blessed and grateful to have experienced a necessary shift in my own perception of my first birth. If you have unresolved issues around your birth experience, I would highly recommend attending a workshop to help you find peace and maybe even a gift you didn’t know you’d received along the way!" -Denby, clearing the birth of her 10 year old
"The entire process was amazing. I loved being a part of this today with these lovely women. Thank you, Evelyn, for guiding us through this. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone with unresolved emotions about your birth story." -Jamie
"I really enjoyed this event. I loved meeting other moms who could relate to my birth experience. Evelyn, you are fantastic at meeting moms where they are at in the healing process and helping them gain new insight into their birth." -Joanna
"I learned all of the limitations and fears I had placed on myself because of my previous birth experience. I didn’t realize the capacity at which I had convinced myself that because of my previous birth experience, my body did not know how to birth a baby without interventions. Without realizing it, I had been allowing unwarranted fear to guide a majority of the decisions about the plans for my upcoming birth. I also realized that I have been trying to use my upcoming birth as a way to heal from my previous birth. I’ve been telling myself that if it goes well, then I’ll have a positive birth experience and I will be healed from the birth related trauma I’ve experienced. It was valuable for me to take this pressure off of myself and see my next birth as a separate entity from the last." -Joanna
"This event also helped to start some really great dialogue between my husband and I. When I shared my labyrinth with him he opened up a lot about how he experienced the birth and we were able to have some great discussion." -Joanna
"I had the pleasure of attending this workshop. You will feel renewed and connected afterwards. I highly recommend! Evelyn is a beautiful guide!" -Melanie
"The birth trauma workshops with Evelyn were highly insightful. It allowed me to step outside of the entire birth, and find focus on each individual major point during the birth that was difficult for me to bear witness to again. Through these birth exploration exercises I found moments of empowerment. Moments where I stood my ground and made decisions I didn’t realize I had, or how I was still trying to take care of my husband through it all. Moments where I knew that no matter what, I loved my baby and was going to bring her into the world as safely as possible." -Melissa
"Before I came to the workshop it was hard for me to know where to start with my healing process. It was validating to hear the other women’s experiences and know that I really was normal (and not being too dramatic). After attending the workshop I feel able to really face my fears and see my own strength and beauty again." -Carrie (Carrie came to the workshop in the third trimester of her third pregnancy. She had an unassisted empowered, blissful home-birth after two cesareans!)
"Evelyn held space for us to have others witness our story without trying to stop our pain our explain it away. That was very healing for me. Her process was forward moving and gave tools to help the actual processing of our stories." -Myra
"As a result of learning to trust myself again, I was able to reframe my birth experience with my daughter. I now see that, not only did I successfully birth her vaginally after a cesarean, which is a triumph, I birthed her in spite of the fear and ignorance my birth attendant brought into my birth space. This realization has been so empowering to me, and this feeling of accomplishment has moved through me into all aspects of my life. Without this workshop, I believe this level of awareness and accomplishment would have taken me much longer to achieve." –Jenni
"Being present in the healing workshop with other Moms who also had cesarean births was very comforting to me. Knowing I wasn’t alone, knowing the feelings I was experiencing were real and important. We all shared our birth stories, we cried for ourselves and cried for each other, we healed individually and together as a group." -Kate
"I attended Evelyn’s workshop and left with some insight that I would have never, ever had if it hadn’t been for her and the exercises I did at the workshop. Seriously, I feel better than I have felt since I had my son 8 months ago. HIGHLY recommend for any of you who have realized that you need to heal emotionally from your birth. "~Julia
"This workshop is amazing and allows for insight you may never have realized about yourself and your birth. From one workshop I already feel less angry about my birth experience." ~Melissa
"I shared my experience with other women, and they were surprised to hear that anything like this even existed. It is definitely a unique healing experience. " ~Julie
"I loved the flow of the labyrinth… the movement into the deep dark places of my birth story, back out into the birth of a new perspective of the events surrounding the birth of my baby. Experiencing the pain, in presence, with loving witness allowed me to shift my perspective from anger to compassion." ~N.W.
- Finding Healing in the Birth Labyrinth – the history and science behind using the labyrinth for birth healing
- For information about a Birth Story Healing Private Session Click Here.
- Closure, It Is a Beautiful Thing. – Sarah’s Testimonial: from trauma to empowerment
- Contact me for a FREE 15-minute phone consultation to explore if working together is a good fit.
*This workshop is not psychotherapy, nor does it replace psychotherapy.
This article was originally published by Evelyn Ojeda-Fox, of The Peaceful Birth Project. Check out the original article here, and/or get further information on her website here.