All posts by lightfootbirth

Potato Harvest

Check it out! This is just part of our 77 pound first potato harvest of the season!

Since our ground is still hard and rocky in the Ozarks, we are using the Ruth Stout mulch method for potatoes this year… this will actually help improve our soil as we grow food!

And we are thrilled with the success of our first potato harvest! We are planting some of the potatoes right back in the ground to see if we can get a second harvest before our first freeze this fall. Fingers crossed!

Awareness

It’s an ever-expanding part of our life… awareness.

And as my guru in India says, it’s the first and last step in spirituality… awareness.

I recently had a new awareness, a new connection about how my early life (our primal period from conception through hours after birth) is affecting my life.

In my day job recently I heard myself explaining to a colleague- “I’m sorry if I am jumping the gun on this, I just want to be sure that no one is waiting on me for anything!” And I felt that statement very deeply in my body- I want to be sure that no one is waiting on me.

I’ve known for quite some time as an adult that I have an issue with timeliness. My particular timeliness issue is that I do not like to be late…. in fact, I can’t be late. I will show up early and sit outside whenever possible! I want to be sure that no one is waiting on me.

Since my soul’s work- what I call the Four Baskets– is this exploration of our early experiences and influences on the foundation of our life, I often reflect on what is happening in my life now and trace it back to it’s roots in the primal period. What happened in my conception, gestation, birth, and my first hours after birth that is influencing what is happening now? And I remembered my mother telling me that I was ‘due’ to be born in late December, but my birthday is January 7th. When I felt into my body-sense-felt sense around that time-frame, I could feel that my mother was waiting on me every day after that ‘due date’…. for 10 days… As a midwife, I have seen and heard mothers in a similar situation- “Come on baby, when are you going to come?!” And my own son was ‘due’ on my birthday, but was born a full week later…. I remember the heaviness and helplessness of that week of waiting. I started out in this life as a people-pleaser (that’s another story for another day) and so even as a little one not yet born, I made the determination that it isn’t a good thing to make people wait…. It isn’t a good thing to be late…. And I wouldn’t ever put anyone through that again.

How are we imprinting our babies when we irrationally give them a ‘due date’? When we tell them they are ‘late’ or ‘early’?

When the truth is- Baby will come when baby is ready.

How empowering would it be for that to be the imprint we leave on our babies?

Are you curious about your Four Baskets? About your early life influences?

I invite you to take a self-awareness journey with me at www.fourbaskets.com

May your awareness grow wide as the Ozarks sky!

All my love, Catherine

Four Baskets- From Womb to World

Be welcomed as one of the first visitors to my new site… http://www.fourbaskets.com

The Four Baskets refers to the primal foundation time frames of Conception, Womb-time, Birth, and First six hours after birth- the prenatal and perinatal period- and what happens to us during those time frames become the core lens through which we perceive the rest of our lives.

For a limited time I am offering my Four Baskets e-course for Free!

What can you expect in the Four Baskets e-course?

  • Discover what has shaped your primary foundation
  • An opportunity to reflect and discover the experiences held within your Four Baskets and bring awareness to they have affected your life
  • How the Four Baskets can affect our life, work, relationships, birth and parenting
  • Where do we go from here?

Peace on Earth begins Before birth… if this seems strange to you, it is because we have been taught that babies in the womb can not think or feel or remember. But babies are sentient beings and have the same needs that we all have- primarily the need to love and be loved.

Please read more at http://www.fourbaskets.com, and join my newsletter there to receive the e-course and support the completion of my book Four Baskets- From Womb to World

Live from the Birthing Cave

Click Here to hear me singing a birth chant, taught to me by my mentor, Sister MorningStar, in the Birthing Cave!

Happy Mother’s Day to our Great Mother Earth!

I recently had the great honor of visiting the Birthing Cave in Sedona, Arizona… wow, what a powerful and sacred space!

C in Birthing Cave

I entered into the spacious womb-like space carved into the red rock cliff, look up and see the perfectly formed yoni entrance skyward, then I notice that there is a small niche carved into the back wall- a cave within a cave! This small seed space represents the place of knowing that a birthing mama goes to during the birth journey. The ancient wise space within that holds the knowing of the power of birth. For me, in this time and space, it held a powerful initiation of another kind…. I made the sacred transition to maidenhood 33 years ago, to motherhood 17 years ago, and today the cave invited me to embrace my inner wise woman.

 

Click here to hear me singing a birth chant that was taught to me by my mentor, Sister MorningStar, in the Birthing Cave.

 

Protecting The Four Baskets

“And the end of all our exploring/ will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.” ~ T.S. Eliot

I received my calling to midwifery nearly a decade ago, when on a spiritual pilgrimage to India. There I was given the ancient vedic teachings of the Four Baskets, which refer to the timeframes of conception, gestation, birth, and the immediate postpartum. These sacred teachings were given as an experience which ushered through a transformational healing for me and my life.  I knew then that this is my soul’s purpose… to protect this timeframe of The Four Baskets for the babies that come into my care. In order for us to birth a connected world that is filled with peace, understanding and compassion, we must weave those experiences into The Four Baskets of our children.

The Four Baskets hold our primal experiences.  These experiences become the foundation upon which the rest of our life will be built. They are the lens through which we perceive every other experience of our lives. Trauma or unresolved events in any one of these baskets can become an energetic kink, where we may find  ourselves getting stuck or snagged in our relationships or motivations throughout life. A kink in one of our baskets may create a stagnancy where we find ourselves over  and over again experiencing an undesirable pattern of behavior. Every disease and disorder of humanity has it’s roots in The Four Baskets.

From the very first moments of life, we are designed to take in the environment we are being born into. The relatively recent science of epigenetics shows us that the genes in every cell of our bodies do nothing on their own, they rely on the information in their environment to determine what they will become. As cell biologist and epigeneticist Dr. Bruce Lipton says, “Genes do not control our biology.” The switch that can either turn a gene on or turn a gene off is our Perception- awareness and beliefs about our world. (1) The environment of a baby in the womb is it’s mother. The mother’s perceptions of her world become the environment for the child within.

The First Basket:  Conception through 2nd month gestation

From the first thought… a secret wish…a glimmer in the eye…  hopes & dreams not for someday, but for now! … a song created to sing the child into existence… an intention spoken and shared… a whisper in the night between two lovers…

To the Spark of Life itself- the  moment of conception… the union where two become one, and the child’s physical life begins…

The First Basket holds space for it all, from the first thought of creating a baby, the First Basket is beginning to form. All thoughts, feelings and circumstances of both parents during this time are woven in.

In the ancient Vedic tradition, the First Basket extends from conception through the first two months of gestation. During this time, the egg and sperm have united to form what modern science calls an embryo, and make the journey into the womb, burrowing in and creating the baby’s first home- the placenta and amniotic sac.  Generally, this is the time when the woman discovers, or confirms, that she is pregnant. So woven into the First Basket is this experience- How is this news received by the mother? By the father? By the rest of the family? Is it a joyous occasion? Or one filled with fear, doubt and uncertainty?

Within the fiery First Basket, neurons are forming- connecting- firing, to create the neural tube which becomes the baby’s spinal cord and lifelong communication channel. The heart is also formed at this time, and so it is no surprise that scientists are now discovering that our hearts have neurons, thinking cells, of their own. In fact the relatively new field of cardio-neurology tells us that more messages are sent from the heart to the brain than the other way around. (2)  By the end of the First Basket, 90% of the baby’s physical anatomical structures are formed including eyelids, ears and olfactory nerve fibers. (3)  Everything that the mother takes into her body is imprinted within the baby- food, sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, feelings, emotions.

Personal First Basket reflection

We don’t need to have vivid memories of an event in order for those experiences to affect our lives. The Four Baskets are a pre-verbal time, and so our memories are not stored verbally, but rather as felt senses. Think about what you know, have heard or intuit about your First Basket…..  How were you conceived? What were the thoughts, feelings, emotions of your parents during your conception and first weeks in the womb? Was it a conscious conception? or unplanned? How was the news of your conception received by the mother? father? by the rest of the family?

How have the experiences in your First Basket affected the rest of your life?

 

This post is an excerpt from Catherine Lightfoot’s upcoming book on The Four Baskets.

Baby photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

(1) brucelipton.com

(2) SCIENCE OF THE HEART: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance, Vol 2; Authored by Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Director of Research, HeartMath Research Center

(3)  http://www.embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology

MorningStar Womyn Empowerment Award 2018

“Do not be afraid. Your baby will come.”

This annual award goes to a womyn who has birthed against the modern current and is empowered because of her birth. In addition, she has a plan for how to provide for and care for herself, her baby and family as the power shifts her previous life. This year’s award goes to Katya Perkova of Russia. Katya birthed her fifth child at home, 44 weeks and her precious baby girl weighed beyond the 12 lb scale. All of her children have been born at home – 1 breech daughter, one daughter born in Sinai with the Bedouins, 2 sons and now a third daughter. Beloved husband Phillip has been her constant believer and companion throughout. Welcome to our world Misha, Masha, Marisha, Makar and now Marfa.

untitled
Behold! The family photo also contains Marfa’s placenta tree.

“Do not be afraid. Your baby will come.” This was Katya’s message to Sister MorningStar when asked if she would accept this year’s award and give a message to our Community. Following is her written message in receipt of the 2018 Empowerment Award.

Dear Sister and Elders.
I’m a Woman and a Mother in this Universe.
And I have birthed in Power 5 times.
It was a Time of my Power, my Life Force and my Bliss.
As all Wimyn do. Before me and after. To keep the Sacred Birth in this Universe.
May it be so for every Mother on the Path.

~Katerina, mother of 5 children, November 11, 2018

Our Lightfoot Birth Elephant Circle in Hawaii send our Great Aloha to this amazing womyn and her family! Thank you for inspiring us!

From the rising of the sun to it’s setting. May the name of Katya be Praised!

Newborn First Breaths- an exploration of instincts

The moment of Birth is a very powerful time of transition for the mother and the baby. This is the moment when a woman becomes a mother and a baby transitions from a floating world of warm water into a world of gravity and air and takes a First Breath. When mamababy are left together and alone to explore each other at the time of these First Breaths, their instincts will guide this time of transition perfectly. There really is nothing that needs to be taught or learned; no interventions or other hands or voices are necessary, and in fact are disruptive and detrimental to the process. We do, however, need to unlearn what modern medical birth has imposed on mamababies at this sacred time, which involves separation and much intervention with disastrous impacts.  Think about the impact of disruption of this transition- the moment when a mother is born, if disrupted and interfered creates a mother who is distrustful of her own power for mothering; the moment when a baby is born, if disrupted, creates a child who will feel that the world is unloving, lonely and scary.

Now watch what happens when this time of First Breaths is honored, by allowing mamababy quiet, undisturbed time and space for their instincts to unfold….

Exploring with EyesIs it you? Is this the one I’ve felt moving in my belly all these months? Is it you? Are you the one that has nurtured me, sung to me, swayed with me since the beginning of time? I see you, I see you. Hormones flowing through mamababy at the time of birth, dilate our pupils… we are wired to find each other and imprint on each other with our eyes. This first meeting is successful when the environment is dim or dark, allowing our eyes to feel comfortably wide open and locked in on each other’s face.

Exploring with Voice/EarsBaby calls out, cries, coughs, sputters… Hello, little one! Oh my, you are here! We did it!….. Yes, this is my mama; I’d know that voice anywhere…. Yes, I am here…I hear you, I hear youEven a baby who is born a little stunned or stressed from low oxygen at birth, will come around when they hear mother’s voice… this exploration is successful when no other sounds or voices are distracting from this most important meeting of the voice and ears.

Exploring with Touch– arms reaching out, arms drawing in… soft landing on warm breast, hearts beating, together again… I accept you, I accept you …fingertips stroking small, round fuzzy head, cheeks, nose, ears…. Hands cradling back of neck and bum, gentle pat, gentle pat, just like before. ..  this is the only stimulation baby needs… Skin on skin, nothing else… no gloves, no towels, no stethoscopes, nothing but healing, loving touch.

Exploring with Smell– breathing in, the smell of a newborn- top of your head, behind your ears…. this is my baby…First breaths take in her smell, this is my mama…I recognize you… both smell of that known, comfortable, all-encompassing scent of amniotic fluid….tiny glands around a mother’s nipple at birth emit this same scent, baby is of course coated in it… we are the same, we are one, we are together still.

Exploring with Moutha kiss on your head, and one for each of your toes… I can help you clear your nose, that’s it baby… fluid draining, air is enteringI love you, I love you… this is love’s first kiss.  Have you seen it in animals? Look it up…. Kitty Cats lick, lick, lick…  Chimpanzee Mama puts that whole baby head in her mouth…. Dogs, horses, goats, cows, tigers, monkeys, bears…. Clean, warm, dry, stimulate, suck, lick, kiss…. Who taught them that? No one, it is instinctual.

Of course this is just the beginning, this instinct-led First Breaths exploration is the fundamental foundation for instinct-led breastfeeding … climbing, crawling, smelling, lunging, rooting, licking, mouthing, tasting, latching, suckling, nursing… mamababy supporting each other, in awe of their instinctual nature… in awe of nature’s miracle, as it unfolds perfectly… again, and again.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I will say it here anyway, just to be certain…. Of course no one has touched or disturbed the cord during these moments of First Breaths exploration, the cord is designed to stay intact half in and half out of the mother, still delivering vital blood and oxygen to the baby to support a gentle transition to First Breaths.

I once watched a documentary video which described the experience of baby humpback whale at birth as “the only landmark is a mountain of mother.” That is my hope for all our babies…. May they be born onto a mountain of mother… may their First Breaths be witnessed and supported by that mountain, undisturbed by anyone else- in sight, sound, touch, smell and taste- natural, instinctual, peaceful.

 

Peace on Earth, begins with Birth…. May it be so for you and yours

 

Based on the teachings of Sister MorningStar, www.sistermorningstar.com and the book, Birth without Violence by Frederik Leboyer

Artwork is “First Breath” by Wyland, www.wylandstore.com

Documentary video quoted above is Humpback Whales, a MacGillivray Freeman IMAX film narrated by Ewan McGregor

Do you know the Elephant Circle?

In the wild, when an elephant-mama begins her birth journey… the other female elephants gather…. old and young they gather around the birthing mama and create a circle, facing outward to give her the necessary sense of privacy and protection that all mama’s need in order to bring new life into the world.  But that’s not all….

They don’t stand there only as stalwart sentinels on guard…. they step into the flow of the birth energy with her… moaning and swaying with her…. holding sacred space as only other wild, instinctual, powerful females can. Elephants are known to be amazingly compassionate creatures who also have the ability to express emotions in very human ways, even shedding tears.

Our birthing mamas deserve the respect of privacy and protection and if she desires, an elephant circle of supportive sisters….. come join us in the sacred circle… the Elephant Circle gathers when spirit calls for it… stay tuned.

my elephant circle painting
“The Elephant Circle” by Cat Lightfoot

Necessary Conditions for Mammalian Birth

den

Dark

  • Mammals in the wild (even animals in captivity) will seek out a dark space- a den, cave, closet or corner
  • Physiology: We need natural sunlight during the day and natural darkness at night for optimal melatonin production; Melatonin synergizes with Oxytocin to enhance birthing waves.
  • What to do: minimize artificial lights, use candles at night and pull curtains closed during day; avoid light from screens (can use blue blocker apps on devices if must)

Quiet

  • Mammals in the wild seek out quiet spaces in order to protect themselves from predators; noise or disruption will activate adrenaline and alert the mother that this may not be the best environment to give birth
  • Physiology: too much talking and specifically asking questions will stimulate the frontal cortex, the modern language center of the brain; this stimulation takes the mother out of her ancient primal brain which sits near the brain stem, this is where she needs to be to give birth
  • What to do: Ask all present to be quiet during the birth journey, use hushed tones if needing to speak, and try not to ask the mother anything…. Instead of asking if she would like a drink of water, just offer the straw to her lips. Take cues from the mama, she may slide into more primitive non-verbal communication like body language, grunts, head nods, gestures, etc.
  • Mama- you can make as much noise as you like! You are in charge… follow your instincts and listening to your body…. Moan, tone, vocalize, cuss, ask for what you need, tell what you don’t want…. All is welcome and encouraged!

Private

  • Mammals in the wild and even domesticated animals like cows & cats, will go off on their own in order to birth their babies; no one else is necessary. Even our beloved elephants will circle up with their backs to the birthing mother in order to give her privacy.
  • Physiology: a birthing mother who feels observed or watched may block her instinctual connection, her oxytocin hormone production can slow or stop all together
  • What to do: limit the number of people at your birth; invite only those who are absolutely vital to the birthing process, and do your best not to call even those people too early. Encourage anyone present at your birth to keep a 5’ halo around the birthing mother. No one should be sitting and staring at the mother.
  • Mama- practice bringing your focus deeper and deeper within, drawing your senses from outer to inner

Safe

  • Mammals in the wild in the middle of the birth process will completely shut their birth down if their sense of safety is threatened, so that they can get to a safe space and birth their baby later.
  • Physiology: our Sympathetic Nervous system (fight or flight) is our stress response designed originally to help us respond when threatened, in this day and age we can feel ‘stressed’ by many psychological factors as well as physically. When we are under stress, our sympathetic nervous system is online and birth will slow or stop.
  • What do you need to feel Safe? Meditate on this and discuss it with your birth team & create a safe container together.
  • What helps you feel Loved? Love is the natural anti-dote to Fear and helps us feel safe.

 

Imagine a womb-like environment for yourself to give birth in, a dark, quiet, private, safe space… a space just like your baby in your womb; notice how this helps you feel open and relaxed.

May you birth instinctually like the mammal that you are…. may you be undisturbed like our wild progenitors.

 

References: the works of Dr. Michel Odent and Sarah Buckley

 

Birth of a Placenta Orchard

The elephant circle of women held sacred ceremony today in honor of the First Mother, the placenta or ‘iewe….  one of our mamababys decided to gift their placenta to this land, and upon that gift a vision was born…

Women’s Garden and Placenta Orchard for our community to gather herbs, sit, meditate, and TalkStory~  Today we planted the first tree in the placenta orchard- a bronze loquat- in the East. I envision a placenta tree in each direction to anchor the space, with a bounty and plants and herbs that support women’s cycles, pregnancy and birth filling in the circle, and space for us to gather in the center! Please hold this vision with me….

Vision:
To support gentle, peaceful, and natural pregnancy and birth in our community, by guiding women back home to their instinctual natures, to the earth and to the plants.

To create an herbal garden filled with plants useful during pregnancy and birth, anchored by fruit trees, and in the center a circular gathering area for our women’s circle to sit and ground on the earth. Our community of hapai women and new mothers will have access to gather herbs, meditate, as well as help tend the gardens. I see circles of women and babies sipping tea, sharing stories, breastfeeding, singing songs and nourishing ourselves on the ‘aina!

We now have 3 fruit trees each with a beautiful placenta buried underneath! The next steps are to create a concrete or paving stone circular sitting area in the center, and herbs around the perimeter filled with herbs such as mamaki (endemic Hawaiian nettles), comfrey, calendula, yarrow, lavender, motherwort, moringa, sage, passionflower, and many others!