How to change the maternity system – Roots and fruits

In the face of systemic challenges within the maternity care system, such as over-medicalisation and understaffing, many feel compelled to seek immediate, external solutions. While these actions are necessary, we must also consider an internal approach to effecting change. This approach is akin to nurturing both the roots and fruits of a garden. Just as a gardener tends to the roots to ensure the health of the plants, we must nurture our inner world to foster positive change in the maternity system. This concept is beautifully illustrated by the Maharishi Effect, particularly as evidenced in the Washington D.C. experiment.

The Washington D.C. Experiment: A Case Study

In the summer of 1993, a practical application of the Maharishi Effect was conducted in Washington D.C. This experiment aimed to demonstrate how a focused, collective meditation practice could reduce crime rates in the city. Over 4,000 participants engaged in Transcendental Meditation (TM) over a period of two months. The results were significant: crime rates dropped by 23.3%, a reduction far greater than what statistical models predicted for that period.

This experiment showcased how a relatively small segment of the population, by nurturing their collective inner peace, could influence the larger environment. It was a demonstration of the power of collective consciousness and its tangible impact on societal conditions.

Applying the Maharishi Effect to Maternity Care

Drawing parallels to maternity care, the Maharishi Effect suggests that internal transformation within a critical mass of healthcare providers and patients could significantly influence the maternity system. This change begins deep within – at the roots – just like nurturing the unseen part of a plant is crucial for its visible growth and health.

Nurturing the Roots: Inner Transformation

The roots of change in the maternity system lie in our collective consciousness. This involves a shift in mindset from fear and reactivity to empowerment and proactive peace. For example, when midwives, doctors, and expectant mothers cultivate inner peace and a positive mindset, their interactions, decision-making, and approach to childbirth are fundamentally altered.

The Fruits: Visible Changes in the System

The fruits of this inner transformation are the visible changes in the maternity system. Reduced fear around childbirth, more empathetic patient care, and a holistic approach to maternity services are just a few examples. These positive outcomes are the direct result of nurturing the internal roots of every individual involved.

Overcoming Systemic Challenges through Inner Peace

Addressing systemic challenges such as understaffing or over-medicalisation requires both external efforts and internal change. While advocating for policy reforms and better resources is crucial, complementing these efforts with a focus on inner peace can lead to more effective and sustainable solutions. When healthcare providers operate from a place of calm and clarity, they are better equipped to advocate for and implement necessary changes.

The Garden Analogy: A Comprehensive Approach

Imagine the maternity system as a garden. The external problems – like over-medicalisation and understaffing – are akin to pests and weeds that threaten the health of the plants. Addressing these issues is necessary but focusing solely on them is akin to treating the symptoms rather than the cause. Just as a gardener nourishes the soil and ensures adequate sunlight and water, we must also nurture the inner world of those who work within and are served by the maternity system.

Collective Consciousness and the Ripple Effect

The collective consciousness of all involved in maternity care acts like the soil of our garden. When this soil is healthy and balanced, it supports the growth of healthy plants (positive outcomes in maternity care). This is where the ripple effect comes in – when even a small group within the system starts operating from a place of elevated consciousness, their impact can spread, influencing the larger system.

Balancing Roots and Fruits for Systemic Change

True change in the maternity system is about balancing the nurturing of roots (internal transformation) with the cultivation of fruits (external actions). By embodying  inner peace and a positive mindset, we enhance our capacity to effectively address external challenges. This holistic approach ensures that the changes we make are sustainable and deeply rooted in a foundation of wellbeing and positivity.

Practical Steps for Internal Transformation: Guidance from Daryl Anka

To facilitate the internal transformation necessary for changing the maternity system, we can turn to the teachings of the spiritual teacher Daryl Anka. Anka provides a series of steps that can guide individuals in cultivating a mindset conducive to positive change. These steps are particularly relevant for those working in or affected by the maternity care system, as they encourage a shift from fear and reactivity to empowerment and proactive peace.

#1. Act on Your Excitement and Passion

The first step is to engage with what excites and impassions you in every moment. In the context of maternity care, this could mean actively seeking out and engaging in aspects of your work or life that bring you joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s a particular aspect of patient care, a method of practice, or an area of research, immerse yourself in these activities as much as possible. This engagement fuels a positive energy that can influence your perspective and actions.

#2. Do This to the Best of Your Ability

Once you identify what excites you, commit to it wholeheartedly. Take this passion as far as you can, until you reach a point where you can take it no further. This could involve deepening your knowledge in a specific area, advocating for changes in the maternity care system, or even developing new, holistic approaches to care. The key is to invest your energy and abilities to their fullest extent in these pursuits.

#3. No Insistence on the Outcome

This step is crucial: engage in your passion without any insistence, assumption, or expectation of what the outcome should be. This approach is especially pertinent in the unpredictable environment of maternity care, where outcomes can often be beyond your control. By releasing attachment to specific results, you free yourself from disappointment or frustration and remain open to a range of possibilities, some of which may be unexpectedly positive.

#4. Choose to Remain Positive Regardless of Outcomes

Regardless of what happens, choose to maintain a positive state. This doesn’t mean ignoring challenges or difficulties, but rather approaching them with a mindset that seeks solutions and learning opportunities. In the maternity care system, this might mean facing systemic issues or difficult cases with a mindset geared towards growth, understanding, and the pursuit of positive change.

#5. Investigate and Alter Your Belief Systems

Finally, constantly examine and modify your belief systems. This involves identifying and releasing fear-based beliefs and those not aligned with who you aspire to be. In the maternity context, this might mean challenging beliefs about childbirth, healthcare systems, or your role within them. Replace these with beliefs that empower you, align with your values, and support your vision for a better maternity care system.

Implementing These Steps in Maternity Care

Implementing these steps in the context of maternity care involves a personal commitment to growth and transformation. It means being an agent of change, not just in your actions, but in your thoughts and beliefs. As you cultivate a positive, empowered mindset, your ability to influence the maternity system for the better will grow. This internal change, mirrored in your external actions, will contribute to a collective shift in consciousness within the field, fostering a more positive, supportive, and effective system of care.

Embracing Love Over Fear: The Birth of ‘When Push Comes To Shove’

In the landscape of maternity care, fraught with challenges and limitations, my journey towards creating ‘When Push Comes To Shove’ stands as a testament to the power of love over fear. This journey wasn’t about combating the system I despised but about nurturing a vision of what I yearned to see in the world of childbirth and maternity care.

Cultivating a Vision from a Place of Love

My deep-seated passion for a more natural and empowering approach to childbirth was the seed from which ‘When Push Comes To Shove’ grew. This vision was not born out of a reaction to fear or frustration with the existing maternity care system. Instead, it sprouted from a place of love – love for the process of childbirth, love for the potential of what maternity care could be, and, most importantly, love for the women and families who deserved better.

Acting on Excitement and Passion with Love

Aligning with the teachings I had learned through various sources such as A Course In Miracles, I took the first step – acting on my excitement and passion. This wasn’t just a professional endeavour; it was a calling that resonated with my core values. Every decision, every action taken towards building ‘When Push Comes To Shove’, was infused with this sense of purpose and love.

Wholehearted Commitment to a Positive Vision

Committing wholeheartedly to this vision meant immersing myself in the world of natural childbirth, not as a critic of the existing system but as a creator of something new and beautiful. This approach was about building, nurturing, and growing, rather than opposing or demolishing. It involved learning, understanding, and expanding my own perceptions of what childbirth could be when approached with love and respect for natural processes.

Releasing Expectations: Trusting the Process of Creation

One of the most profound lessons on this journey was learning to release any fixed expectations of the outcome. This aligns with Anka’s teachings – engaging in your passion without insistence on how it should unfold. My aim was to create a space where childbirth could be experienced in its most natural and empowered form. However, how this vision would materialise and impact the world was left to the organic flow of creation – a process I trusted and embraced with love.

Choosing Positivity in the Face of Challenges

The path to creating ‘When Push Comes To Shove’ was not without challenges. However, each obstacle was met with a positive outlook. This positivity was not naïve optimism but a conscious choice to view every hurdle as an opportunity to learn, grow, and strengthen the vision I held so dear.

Transforming Beliefs with Love

A significant part of this journey involved transforming my own beliefs about childbirth and the maternity care system. This transformation was not driven by a desire to fix what was wrong but to create what could be right. It was about replacing fear-based beliefs with those rooted in love, empowerment, and possibility.

Manifesting ‘When Push Comes To Shove’

This journey of love, passion, and positive transformation culminated in the creation of ‘When Push Comes To Shove’. This decentralised maternity care structure, spanning 10 countries, was not an alternative to the existing system but a new paradigm altogether. It was a manifestation of a dream fueled by love and a desire to offer something profoundly different to women and families around the world.

Creating a Global Sisterhood

The most heartwarming aspect of this venture has been the formation of a global sisterhood of natural birth practitioners. Drawn to the ethos of love and empowerment that ‘When Push Comes To Shove’ embodies, these women have become not just colleagues but fellow crusaders in the journey towards transforming maternity care. Each of them brings their unique strengths, insights, and love to our collective vision, creating changes far beyond what I could have imagined.

Reflecting on the Journey: Love as the Driving Force

In retrospect, every step of creating and nurturing ‘When Push Comes To Shove’ has been a reflection of choosing love over fear. It was about nurturing what I wanted to see in the world rather than fighting against what I didn’t. This approach has not only shaped a new path in maternity care but also transformed my own understanding of what can be achieved when actions are driven by love.

Conclusion: A New Era in Maternity Care

The story of ‘When Push Comes To Shove’ is more than just the creation of a new system; it’s a narrative of how love can be a powerful catalyst for change. This journey underscores the immense potential we all have to effect meaningful change in the world, starting from a place of love and radiating outwards. It’s a reminder that when we nurture our visions with love, the fruits that grow are beyond what we could ever have anticipated. This is not just the birth of a new system but the dawn of a new era in maternity care – one that is rooted in love, respect, and empowerment.


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