The Power of Women
Instinctual Birth Stories
Sister MorningStar has dedicated a lifetime to the preservation of instinctual birth among native people. Experientially she was raised in the Ozark Mountains within the influence of Cherokee traditions. She birthed her own daughters at home and has helped thousands of other wimyn find empowerment through instinctual birth. Politically she has served on state, national and international boards helping to oversee the development of midwifery certification programs. She serves on the C.A.S.A. International Advisory Board helping to oversee the continued stability of Mexico's first accredited Midwifery School and Maternity Hospital. She is the founder of a spiritual retreat center and author of books related to instinctual and spiritual living. She lives as a Cherokee Hermitess and Catholic Mystic in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Visit at www.sistermorningstar.com.
WHY I CREATED THIS BOOK: Wisdom is passed on by women through story telling. The power of that wisdom within women became a source of respect and fascination for me in early childhood. With strong Cherokee roots, our matriarchal heritage provided me with daily opportunities to see the strength, brilliance, great love and instinctual life of my Great Grand Mother, Grand Mother and Mother—and to learn from them.
By twelve I had initiated my first women's study group. For the rest of my life I put into motion multiple spaces and places where women could come together, share, grow and pass along their wisdom and experience to their daughters and their daughter's daughters.
Three decades as a midwife protecting instinctual birth among native peoples recreated in me the power of story telling. Within the journey of pregnancy and birth, as well as all other aspects of our lives, women are deeply affected by a story—far more than a fact. Each of our lives is a powerful story. And in pregnancy and birth our senses are heightened as we create a powerful part of our life's story. We wonder what our story will be. Oh how we long for a beautiful and powerful story! If we must, we will create a dramatic "They saved me or my baby!" story; so important is our need to have a personal story with power.
Every birth and every mother I ever had the privilege and honor to midwife had an amazing, powerful, dramatic story. Filled with mystery, the simplest, most straight forward birth is amazing, powerful and dramatic. The women who embrace and are embraced by birth are powerful or made so as well. Their lives are forever altered by the power that makes their body, their heart and their soul a pathway for another's entrance among us.
These awe inspiring women are the sheros in the book, The Power of Women. All of the women birthed by their own desire against a modern current. Some left their country. Some were VBAC's, postdates, predates, first birth and births after many days with broken water. Some said hello and good-bye the same day. One birthed her twenty-first child. All said no to drugs and surgery and followed an instinct that led them to a miracle.
The book is an educational and inspirational documentary about instinctual birth. It is not about how you should birth. It is about how some women do birth. And for that reason it has value to us as women, as mothers and fathers, as families and friends of birthing mothers, as professionals: anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, social workers, midwives and midwifery students, doctors and medical students, nurses and nursing students, doulas, childbirth educators, journalists, legislators, attorneys, and value to the next generation.
In the quiet of the night, under the light of moon and stars, long ago, women began a story. It is my privilege to share with you a glimpse of that story and of the power still alive in the daughters of those first women long ago.