Laura Shanley VIDEO – How to create the birth of your dreams

My dearest friend Laura created this wonderful video to help you create the birth of your dreams…

In 1994 Laura published her book Unassisted Childbirth. I was teaching childbirth class at the time and picked up her book at the Meadows Library in Boulder Colorado.  Laura had signed the inside cover of the book and written, “May all your dreams come true.”

Unassisted ChildbirthI had been on a quest to achieve a solo birth since my pregnancy with my second daughter in 1992.  After a c-section delivery and an empowering VBAC at the hospital I read her book and just knew that if I worked more intently on my beliefs and mindfulness around birth that I could indeed achieve a Family Birth at home.

After reading her book in one sitting, I looked in the phone book to see if she was close by.  I was shocked and thrilled to realize that she lived about ten minutes away!  I called her that night and told her what her words meant to me.  We met a few months later at a Suzanne Arms birth event in Boulder and our friendship has been strong ever since.

In her book Laura focuses almost exclusively on positive affirmations and as outlined in the video above, she really zeros in on mindfulness and working through the fears that mothers deal with during pregnancy and motherhood.  Her message resonated with my LDS religious beliefs because all through the scriptures we are taught “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

When I wrote my first book A Mothers Journey in 1999, Laura read it and then asked me why I did not write more about belief.


I have thought about her question for many years, but have never taken the time to respond or try to articulate my philosophy of birth.

I thought today might be a good day to do so.

In my religion we are taught that Faith, Works, and Grace are all necessary for salvation.  In the Christian world a fierce debate between Catholics and Protestants has been raging for 2,000 years over which is the most important area of focus. New religions have popped up as various groups have broken away from Christian denominations over the fight between which principle, practice, and ordinance is needful for eternal life.

Faith with worksI believe that a triad of the three bound together give balance and help as a person determines how to live life and in what way they will most effectively live the teachings of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Fundamentalist Christians tend to be critical of Mormons because they believe we deny the grace of our Lord and Savior by solely focusing on Works.  We do tend to be somewhat zealous in our Christian Works.  With missionary outreach, service, humanitarian aid, and our welfare program often the way that most people are introduced to our religion, it is easy to mistakenly believe that all we care about is good works.

We do believe in grace.  In fact we believe that Heavenly Father is mindful of every breath we take. He is aware of all of his children, wherever they may live on the earth and he loves and cherishes each individual person.

We also believe that Faith in Jesus Christ is the key to everything in life!  My absolute favorite treatise on Faith is found in the Book of Mormon in Moroni Chapter 7.  I cannot recommend highly enough this chapter of scripture for those who would like strength and edification on Faith, Hope, and Charity.

In applying my own beliefs to childbirth, I took a triad position in my personal preparations.

I believed then and still do that Faith, Works, and Grace are all involved in the process of birth.

As Mothers we do the actual work of creating healthy meals for our family, we stay hydrated, and exercise.  We get enough sleep and stay away from environmental toxins.  We also work hard during labor to actually birth our child.  And then we do the work that is involved in mothering our newborn.  From breastfeeding to bathing our babies and keeping them warm, dry, and cuddled safely in our arms.

We also have our faith in Jesus Christ to see us safely through the whole process.  In the Bible in book of Timothy the Apostle Paul outlines…

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

I have often thought how offensive it is to the Lord that Mothers are so casual about using strong narcotics while giving birth.  A mom completely doped up on pitocin, demerol, and the cocaine shot into womens spines that are used in epidurals etc etc.. are not exactly the definition of a “sober” person.  These drugs have serious side effects for the baby and should be used only in the instance of extreme medical emergency.

It is my personal experience that when a woman does everything within her power, knowledge, and faith to create a healthy child, that is when the magic happens in terms of grace.

Older moms and midwives often believe that young inexperienced mothers should never birth at home or alone because they do not “know enough”. Yet, often it is the knowing about all of the many things that can go wrong that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy during home birth.

I have truly struggled to deprogram my own mind from the fear based and hyper vigilent place I was in for so long. I read so many books, it was easy to allow all of the “what if’s” to crowd out the grace that was waiting for me on the other side of faith.

During my fourth and fifth childrens homebirths I quickly found myself needing physical and spiritual interventions that were outside the purview of the personal preparations I had made.

A series of miracles happened after both that simply cannot be explained by anything other than grace.  In almost all births a perfect outcome can be frustrated by circumstances beyond our control, but it is my witness and my testimony that Heavenly Father can and does fill in the gaps.  I outlined the details of these various miracles and interventions in my two books A Mothers Journey and A Lotus Birth.

For those moms who are planning to go solo or have a family or friend centered birth, I would encourage you to do as much of your own prenatal care as you can comfortably take on.

With the overall understanding that if there are gaps in your own knowledge and belief in making a healthy baby and creating a healthy family, grace will take you to places that are impossible with physical efforts only.

Grace covers the whole human family. 

It is also helpful to entertain the idea that MOST of the problems that families encounter during hospital birth are tied to needless interventions. Ultrasound, induction, drugs, a ticking clock… all of these conspire to frustrate the work of labor and like dominos falling, lead to the cascade of interventions that typify most childbirths in America.

By staying home to give birth you are free to eat, move, sleep, do whatever you feel guided to do as your child is born. Some parents feel guided to seek professional help during pregnancy or birth and I do not question anyone’s intuition of what is needful for their own family.

Where I do draw the line is with those busybodies who would cross the line into my personal space and demand a say in what I choose to say and do while my children are being gestated and born. Or who would seek to entrench the hospital model by outlawing homebirth and forcing families to submit to the degradation of drugs and surgery while they welcome their babes.

I am so grateful for Lauras dedication and knowledge on the subject of belief.  Her understanding of the power of the mind has helped me over and over as I have navigated mortality and tried to fit into a world that is increasingly hostile to my determination to divorce myself from the medical profession.

Jenny Hatch

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