Blog: Encountering the Great Mother in the Birth Environment
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
To understand the essence of the Great Mother, it is helpful to look to the earth. From the moment we are born until the moment we die, we are held in the earth’s embrace, and it has many valuable lessons to offer us about motherhood. The earth is abundant, nurturing, unyielding, and adapting. The Great Mother is the embodiment of these qualities, offering us tremendous teachings about the mutuality of experience in the natural world.
You can find the power of the Great Mother expressed in the many mother goddesses appearing in different cultures around the world — Pachamama in the Andes, Tara in the Himalayas, Quan Yin in China, Isis in ancient Egypt, and Hera, Thera and Athena in Greece and Rome. There is a widespread understanding among different cultures about the importance and necessity of being in alignment with the power of the Great Mother, not only to bring forth life but also to nurture life in a way that is beneficial for everyone.
Despite a lack of understanding about mothering and matriarchal priorities in the west, the power of the Great Mother is accessible to women in the modern time. By connecting with this power, women can sustain themselves no matter what is happening in their birth process. Women can use their connection with this power to receive guidance and to understand the deeper meaning of their experience.
The birthing environment is highly charged, and it is essential that the mother, partner, and baby are all connected to their own power. Being in your power means defining your values, knowing what you need in any given situation and being able to advocate for those needs. To be fully in your power, you must know who you are, what your gifts are, what it is you have to offer yourself and the world, and you must be willing to do that unapologetically. When you approach birth and motherhood from that place, it is infinitely easier to create an environment where your child can grow up with a strong connection to their own inner wisdom and reach their full creative potential in the world.
One of the things that can throw you out of your personal power is the need for approval from others. When you become dependent on external approval rather than listening to our own inner wisdom, you are in danger of losing your power. Maintaining a connection to the Great Mother will help you advocate for your needs and the needs of your child during the birth. Attuning to the Great Mother can reveal all the ways you may be out of alignment and how you can come back into alignment. A direct path to standing in your power is to know and defend your needs and values, regardless of whether they are validated by those around you.
When women are giving birth, it’s just one moment of a great initiatory path. Women have many initiatory moments in their lives— their own birth, puberty, the sexual encounter with the other, the decision to give birth or not to give birth, menopause, and eventually, their own death. This is a spiritual path that is driven by biological imperatives, and it is helpful for us as women to understand what our relationship is to these biological moments of transition. Each one of these events is an initiation, a unique moment where you have an opportunity to understand your relationship to the Great Mother through your experience on a biological level. When you are aligned with your own essential power, it will be infinitely easier for you to align with the power of the Great Mother during birth.