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One Body, One Heart

By John Ohm

What does it mean to be a guardian of the birth?

Birth is a sacred moment in the life of a family and a profound opportunity to reawaken our deepest love and connection. There is a universal awareness within the human species of the spiritual nature of birth. Birth dissolves, transforms, and initiates each one of us into the next stage of life.

It is an obvious truth, recognized by many, that the healing of our species must coincide with a necessary healing of birth. There is a greater power in birth, one that can heal, as well as align us to our greater potential. We see this greater potential expressed in the atmosphere of a new mother.

A woman’s beauty and outer glow during pregnancy becomes embued as the inner wisdom of motherhood. We see the greater potential expressed in a child’s newborn eyes, which gaze far beyond the blocks and limitations of his parent’s generation. And for men safeguarding the sacred space of birth, we see the awesome potential come alive when men become fathers.

A man will fight to defend his love like no other. He can respect his lover, trust her, support her, and fight for her freedom and her honor. Energized by the spirit of his child’s approaching birth, a man could fight an army and lift a mountain in her defense. But then a question remains, standing over him obscuring his mind. What does it mean to be a guardian of the birth? Often he doesn’t quite know the answer, and when the birth unfolds, his uncertainty tends to escalate with the rise in intensity.

Unprepared for the circumstances, unexpected changes, or challenges that confront him, he finds out with great inner dismay that he can only observe the birth from afar.

This is the far too common story arc of men becoming fathers today. And it’s here where we find one of the most underrated gaps in the birth conversation—a gap which, if filled, becomes a major cornerstone of the newborn family’s strength, self-confidence, and well-being right from the start. When a father, who is external to the mother giving birth, becomes present to her as her internal rock of support, as her refuge, and even as her primary guide, he fulfills his role as the true guardian of the sacred space of birth. He becomes the guardian of her mind’s inner experience, the internal guardian of her soul. The one who, let’s be honest, cares far more than anyone else there, about the sanctity and health of their journey and emerging world. 

If the sharing of birth stories is the key for women approaching birth, then the sharing of birth skills is the key for men; so that men may be confidently entrusted to succeed in their vital role. If there is one seminal gift that birth skills provide, it’s this growth in confidence. Many men need to be reminded that they are not inherently devoid of an awareness of the birth process, for they themselves were born once upon a time, even if that awareness is buried somewhere deep within.

Some men are naturally endowed with confidence about the process of birth. Others prefer to remain detached. Though the confidence and willingness to be truly present will always grow and evolve with the help of new knowledge. First, knowledge of how important they can be for their partner at birth. Second, knowing the pragmatic skills that help them thrive and offer real support.

Men thrive when they know what to do and how to do it. In fact, this is a human attribute applicable to everyone. The seemingly obtuse or clunky addition of “skillsets” to the sacred atmosphere of birth is anything but misplaced. Midwives have skills. OBs have skills. But it is through the skillsets learned by mothers and fathers themselves, that they can become aligned to one another like never before. The activity of birth—an activity unlike any other—becomes a dance of shared discovery and shared responsibility. And in this dance, the three hearts connected at the birth open up to become one. 

With great love for who you are and what you do, John Ohm