We will start with an introduction to one part of a framework from US philosopher Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory that I have adapted for birth, and explore all the many elements that come together in the dance of birthing out our babies. But the truth is, as we become more and more familiar with birth, and if we have the courage to grow as humans and deepen down into the centred-ness of ourselves, as we mature into being able to deeply be withand not avoid the hard and the beautiful and the mucky and the real, so does the insight and wisdom and lightness of heart required to be with these elements become a natural grace in our going about birth. And so the first work of birth is emotional intelligence.
If we can grasp the reality that we all experience and interact with the world in many different ways at once – physically, emotionally, socially, culturally, intellectually, instinctively, intuitively – we can also appreciate that all these things are part of every woman’s experience of birth. And further than that – that these various elements come together in influencing her birth in how it unfolds. These are the seasons and soil, the sunshine and rain that shape her birth’s unfolding. The process of birth expects these influences to be able to unfold within.
What does it mean to be fully human, as each woman is, coming to her birth? She is not just the surrounds to a uterus holding a baby; she is a fully expressed human being with intelligences, experience, meaning making , history, and on, and on.
What does it mean to be fully human, and what does being fully human look like in birth, and why does it matter?
We all exist in the various areas of our lives on a spectrum from survival to radiant thriving. The various areas are: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, relational. Coming to birth we can do more than survive the process and come out with a babe in arms; we can be deeply nourished and grown by the process and come out radiant with purpose and power and grace, even as we leak milk and blood and feel tender and profoundly changed.
Ken Wilber’s model is called AQAL, or All Quadrants, All Lines, and is a way of observing the various aspects of life. I will apply my understanding of the quadrants to birth, as a useful way of mapping the various influences on birth’s unfolding, so that we can consciously work with birth and not against it, and for women and not against them.