024: Community Supported Birth with Monique Gauthier

Posted on January 4, 2024 by

Community Supported Birth with Monique Gauthier

Inside Community Podcast — Ep. 024

Bringing new life into the world requires levels of support practically unheard of in modern, western culture… unless you’ve cultivated community that is up for the task! Seasoned midwife and communitarian Monique Gauthier joins us today to help us envision birth from a deeply held and conscious space that brings about the creation of new culture on the planet. We’ll cover the fascinating intersection of natural birth practices with the communities movement, how women and families can be supported through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum times, rites of passage around birth, and even how various types of loss can be held with tenderness and love. 

In this episode

  • Awakening and living from a higher place. (0:01)
  • Birthing practices and community support with a seasoned midwife. (0:53)
  • Intentional communities and spirituality. (6:30)
  • Natural birth practices and their empowerment. (12:58)
  • Midwifery, community, and conscious parenting. (19:46)
  • Prenatal and birthing care in intentional communities. (25:00)
  • Community support for new mothers and fathers. (30:10)
  • Postpartum support and community building. (36:02)
  • Childcare, postpartum depression, and self-care. (41:49)
  • Prioritizing self-care during pregnancy. (48:23)
  • Empowering mothers through mindfulness and self-care. (56:26)
  • Rites of passage and personal growth during pregnancy. (59:37)
  • Pregnancy rites of passage and self-care. (1:05:42)
  • Parenting, personal growth, and community support. (1:12:02)
  • Birth, community, and self-love. (1:16:05)
  • Miscarriage, community support, and conscious parenting. (1:22:44)
  • Creativity, coaching, and community. (1:29:08)

About Monique Gauthier

Monique Gauthier has been a midwife in the U.S and Canada for 30 years. She has lived in intentional communities for most of her adult life. She currently lives in Auroville, in Southern India. She was faculty for Living Routes, which ran college-level programs in ecovillages such as Findhorn, Auroville and Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Plum Village, in France. She has produced  the documentaries “Follow The Dirt Road; An Introduction to Intentional Communities in the 1990’s”, and “Birthing Peace”, about her mindful water births. She calls herself a “cultural midwife” who is tending to the birth of a conscious culture. She leads workshops and coaches for empowered birth, conscious families, mindfulness, and other mind-body-spirit topics. You can find her upcoming courses and offerings at www.Monique-Gauthier.com 

Ways to support

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Show Notes

BOOKS mentioned:

The First Forty Days by Heng Ou


The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson


Super Awesome Inside Community Jingle by FIC board member Dave Booda davebooda.com

ICP theme by Rebecca Mesritz

Thanks from Rebecca, your podcast host

Episode Transcript

Monique Gauthier 0:01
If I were to define awakening, and basically living from your spirit place, making sure that your, your actions, your thoughts, and your words are coming from your highest place. And that’s becoming more conscious of everything and expanding awareness all around us. And so we’re in these very special transition times I know the world looks very messy. But, you know, I could tell a whole story about how I really see this as a birth and we’re at eight centimeters dilation. And so it’s going to be a little messy. Just like, sometimes things are bumpy in birth. But it doesn’t have to be, you know, if you if you train the mind, it doesn’t have to be a hardship, you know, and that’s the same thing for on our planet. If we train the way we see our planet. We don’t have to create undue suffering, we can actually move through with a lot of grace.

Rebecca Mesritz 0:53
Hello, communitarians and welcome back to the inside community podcast. I’m your host, Rebecca Messer. It’s one of my favorite things about hosting this podcast is that I get the opportunity to speak with experts and wisdom keepers on topics that are really salient to my own personal life, and journey as a human and as a communitarian. Today’s conversation is an example of one of those moments that I just get to learn right alongside each of you. I am thrilled to share with you all my podcast community that my family and community here in Oregon are going to be welcoming a new baby into the world in March. As I’m embarking on this motherhood journey for a second time, I thought it would be a fabulous opportunity to speak with someone about what it is to be pregnant, give birth and start family in the context of community. I’m honored to be speaking with Monique go to AAA today because not only is she a seasoned midwife, but she’s been involved in the community and eco village movements for decades across several countries. And she carries such deep wisdom around the support of families in this tender and expensive time. This definitely ended up being one of my longer interviews. And so I’m going to also post a bonus episode with some of the conversation that wanted to be shared with you all but just didn’t quite fit into this episode. So especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, I highly recommend checking that out as well because there’s just so much beauty and insight in there. We travel far in this episode, so please settle in for an in depth conversation exploring so many aspects of birthing in community. We’ll cover the history of midwifery and the fascinating intersection of the reinvigoration of natural birth practices with the communities movement, how conscious childbirth supports the creation of new culture on the planet, how women and families can be supported through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum times. Rites of Passage around birth and even how various types of loss can be held with tenderness and love. This conversation was so inspiring to me. And regardless of where you might be in your relationship to parenthood, I’m sure it will be for you as well. We’re going to have a few words from our sponsors and then be back with Monique go ta

Rebecca Mesritz 3:17
coho us is the hub of the cohousing movement, convening individuals and organizations with a shared vision for intentional community living. expert led courses and forums on the cohousing Institute, provide the skills and expertise to build and sustain your community available both live and on demand. Join coho us for the commons a monthly gathering space for the cohousing curious the 10th of every month at 10am Mountain. Learn more at www dot cohousing for more than 50 years community more than the Mulier communities magazine culture and a primary resource for information stories and ideas sources about community living these collaborative culture over the course magazine history unities community essays and articles community starters future thinkers are thinkers and wisdom members virtually every topic related to forming meaning meaning living in and even leaving community. You can gain access to all back issues in digital form plus proceeding current premier digital issues by subscribing Naveen, now geholfen new ASP. net net scribe a completely index community index and issue aimless all are all available online help you to find the inspiration inspiration you’re looking for.

Rebecca Mesritz 4:45
Monique, go TA has been a midwife in the US and Canada for 30 years. She has lived in intentional communities for most of her adult life and currently lives in Oroville in southern India. She was faculty for living routes, which ran college level Well programs and eco villages such as Findhorn, Oroville and tick not Hans Plum Village in France. She has produced the documentaries follow the dirt road and introduction to intentional communities in the 1990s and berthing piece about her mindful water births. She calls herself a cultural midwife who is tending to the birth of a conscious culture. She leads workshops and coaches for empowered birth conscious families, mindfulness, and other Mind Body Spirit topics. You can find her upcoming courses and offerings at WWW dot Monique hyphen, go ta.com. Monique, go ta welcome to the Inside community podcast. I am so excited to have this conversation with you today.

Monique Gauthier 5:48
Thank you, Rebecca, for having me.

Rebecca Mesritz 5:50
I’d love to hear before we start talking about all things related to birth a little bit about your community and your community journey.

Monique Gauthier 6:02
Oh, boy, okay. Let me just start where I am right now. So right now, I’m seated in Oroville, India, it’s in the state of Tamil Nadu in the south of India. It’s one of the largest if not the largest, intentional community in the world. I’m here because for years, my husband Daniel Greenberg, who is now the Director of the Foundation for intentional communities. And I, we both brought students here. And he created an organization that brought students here regularly for about 20 years. And this was kind of, you know, a golden gem of a place to bring people because it’s it’s large, it’s got about 1000 people from 60 Different nations. And the goal here is to practice human unity. So as a spiritual intention, because it’s got a spiritual community intention, unity or becoming one with everything is kind of the the big goal, along with Really Know thyself kind of thing. And this community was based on the teachings of a great sage in India back in the last century, and who passed away in the 1950s. Sri Aurobindo is his name and her Bindo was classically trained in England. And as a young boy, Indian boy, his father had sent him there at the turn of the century in the 1900s. And then he came back and he was amazing poet, amazing writer. And he was able to gather all the information available from the great ancient times the Vedas, and it’ll parney shards and all that understands and he created something called integral yoga, which is basically kind of integrating the objectives of, of Hindu understandings and Buddhist understandings. I mean, he was gathering from all over. And he had a spiritual counterpart called the mother and she was from France, although Egyptian and Algerian in Descendants, and she was a psychic and a very powerful sage herself. And so the two of them ran an ashram in Pondicherry, and she got this idea back in the 50s. And then finally, manifested in the 60s, this idea of, there should be a place on earth where people are learning to get along from all over the planet. And, and that it doesn’t belong to anybody that’s in the charter, that this community doesn’t belong to anybody. And that the only requirement to live here is to be a servitor of the Divine. So, you know, serving consciousness, and the whole philosophy is basically about conscious evolution, that we can evolve ourselves as a species into a far more conscious place. And so that’s the practice here. And I love living here. I love the people I love. I’m surrounded by tropical trees and animals, and I take walks in, you know, the jungle, and my friendships go deep. And it was his very rich place we have, it’s very beautiful. At the very center, there’s this place called the Marchman deer, which is probably the the 10th most visited place in India. It’s a big Golden Globe, meditation center, which is really potent and powerful for concentration or meditation. Anyway, so that’s kind of the flavor of this community. And I have a long history. I think most of my adult life I’ve lived in different intentional communities. At one point, we lived in Findhorn and we ended up bringing students there also, Findhorn is community in northern Scotland that used to be called the Vatican of the new age. And it brought in so many different eclectic beliefs also. So I really love looking at different ways of thinking of nature of reality and the nature of self. And so Findhorn was a, you know, this is spiritual heaven for me. And so Findhorn and Oroville are my primary homes in my heart. And and you know, I have a home in Tewksbury near a community that was an that came out of Findhorn called Serious community in Western Massachusetts. And, and so I kind of do east and west. And and I’ve brought that into my midwifery practice. And so I, you know, I couldn’t tell you a little bit about midwifery how I got into that. Yes, please. It was, yeah, so it was through it was through community and, and I had just at the time back in the 80s, I had just, you know, gotten out of college and was working for a company that did create a video and and I was sent off to record ina may Gaskin and coincidentally, I had been reading her very famous book called spiritual midwifery. As a young lady, who had I was just totally taken by the book. And then here I was my big opportunity to interview her. And, and I can tell you a little bit about intimate but anyways, after the interview, she ended up coming to my house and staying over with her daughter. And then later on, I produced a documentary on intentional communities called Follow the dirt road where Dan and I crisscross the United States and went to about 3040 Different communities interviewing I had about 80 hours of interview and created this one hour documentary. And that was kind of exploring in the late 80s. How were what happened to the hippies? How did communities evolve? You know, who stuck around what did they look like? And at that time, the hippies are in their mid 40s. And had were raising teenagers. And so I got to kind of see Daniels focus at the time was first doctor looking at children and intentional communities. And then for me, I was just curious in this whole other way of life, you know, both of us were suburban kids. And, and so yeah, so I got this incredible exposure to alternative ways of thinking and feeling and living. And I was really, you know, it’s sang to my soul. Anyway, so on that trip, I ended up staying with Ina may Gaskin and then later on, I ended up bringing students to her midwifery students. And it was there that I was encouraged to become a midwife. And you know, the philosophy. If I were to talk about ima, well, that’s a big story. See if I can boil that down. I ma and Stephen Stephen Gaskin was kind of a NEO guru in Haight Ashbury time, and he had a huge following Monday nights, talks that he would give there in San Francisco and of hippies craze teaching about, you know, Eastern thinking and beliefs. And they wanted to find an intentional community or what was called the commune. And so they were gonna get on a bus and just kind of tour the country and find a piece of land. They eventually ended up in Tennessee where the farm is to this day. And And as they were getting ready to go on their yellow bus, many other communities Well, at that point, they were just hippies, many other hippies wanted to get on the bus to so there was this huge caravan, you know, buses that went all around the US and, and women were getting pregnant and having babies and Ima who had had a kind of a traumatizing first baby, we had decided she wanted to do this naturally. And so she learned she met a couple of what would you call just some doctors and picked up some tips and and, and basically she we could call her the grandmother of modern day Midwifery, because midwifery was dying out hospitals were kind of taking over the scene. And so this is the early 70s. And, you know, men weren’t even allowed in the hospital. Some of the hippies had handcuffed their husbands to themselves so that their husband could come to the hospital until until that became the thing to do. And so, I am a and a who was processing what was kind of inhumane in the way that we were treating women in births at that time in the 60s in the 50s. And the author the early parts of the 70s. At that time, they They drugged women up with scopolamine, which is kind of a morphine and a drug that helped people to forget the experience although they felt the pain of birth but they they were not present really. And and so many women were you know, wouldn’t be shaved and animated and PZ automated and the babies were extracted with forceps and And then taken away and put in isolettes. And this is how I was born, like many babies that that and taken away from the mother until she recovered four hours later. And they never had, you know that bonding time or that golden hour or anything. So things were kind of not so great for women and that and it may and her team were one of the locations one of the very few locations in America there in Tennessee, where women could have an experience of themselves of their power of their beauty of their natural way of giving birth. And

Monique Gauthier 15:35
and so at the heyday, they were having like 50 births a month, and they had walkie talkies. And, and, you know, a handful of midwives would be running from one teepee to the next little school bus to the next, giving, you know, assisting women in giving birth naturally. And, and they had an expression, which was what gets the baby in, gets the baby out. And so there was a lot of kissing and romancing of their lady. This is the language and the book. Spiritual midwifery is a collection of pictures and stories of all these different births. All these very natural births are described in the language of the women who were giving birth. And it was terribly empowering. And at the very back of the book, there’s kind of a description of what a midwife or what a home birth would need. So supplies and information about what is natural. And so an incredibly empowering book. And the thing about ima was that by having her patient, her clients, or ladies give birth naturally, and eat a diet, you know, at that time, I think they were mostly vegetarian, but eat, eat a clean diet and, you know, have really good, they would do prenatals kind of together, have a sense of community. And, you know, by being followed that way, prenatally, and then by be by trusting nature’s timing, like not rushing a birth, not creating protocols of hurrying things along with medication, by not manipulating with tools by just letting animals be animals, let’s say that her statistics and she was very good at creating statistics, you know, out of 1000 births, I think they had less than four transports they, you know, they had no hardly any Solarians they were able to deliver breeches and twins. And they, they were a demonstration that Mother Nature knows what she can do what she does. And so I was just blown by it. And, and I at that time I had watched a video called it was a Brazilian video called birthing in the squatting position. It’s a 1970s it’s credibly beautiful, it’s there’s flute, you know, South American flute playing, and you just watch a woman squatting and the baby just crowning very slowly and just kind of plopping into a pillow. And then the mother just gently picks it up in her own timing and realizes Oh, I just gave birth and brings it to her chest. And then the camera pans over to the man in tears. And then, you know, I’m 20 years old in college, and I’m watching this and I’m like, that’s the way to do it. That’s the way you know, it’s a sacred, beautiful, sexy, yummy thing. To give birth, it’s not the screaming thing that you see on TV or in the movies. So that stuck with me. And then over the years, you know, for about a dozen years or so I was showing my own videos of peaceful birthing because I had learned heaps by the time I was having babies. I had been a midwife for 11 years and then was having my first and second so I learned a lot about all the alternative ways of preparing the mind and the body for peaceful birthing. So Hypno birthing, waterbirth meditation, Vipassana affirmations, visualizations, I mean, I just learned the plethora, and that stuff works, it works I barely had any pain and my birth I was able to deliver my second on my own and the first one just came out easily also and in in the water with my partner, and it’s basically monkey see monkey do. So the subconscious will repeat what it sees all the time and he thinks about all the time and and puts into its subconscious. So I made sure that I was in printing and all the women I had seen that, you know, copycatting peaceful birthers you know, who were in their center who could at the time of delivery, just reach down touch the head, very calmly bring the the the baby into their arms themselves. And so that was the imprint and basically was able to do that and prove that all the people who had studied the mind body connection, were right, and really understood the power of the subconscious.

Rebecca Mesritz 19:46
I just want to say you know, it’s so incredible to me, you know, in the birth world, the you know, the name ina may Gaskin is obviously very, very well known, you know, some of these ideas Is of Hypno birthing. And you know that the thought of having an unmedicated birth and all of these things, it’s even for women now who are having birds in hospitals. There’s a consciousness that’s come into the mainstream, around birthing and empowering women and skin to skin and all of those things. And I as a communitarian and a big cheerleader for community, I just love that. The roots of that are in community, you know, and that, like, there was a person or group of people that saw the importance of holding birth, sacred and empowering women and formed a community around those ideals that still exists today. And that those ideals have actually had an impact on the larger world. You know, and I think that’s part of what a lot of people even get involved with community to do is to say, oh, look like we’re going to try this thing. And hopefully we can have an impact beyond our own small lives. So yeah, just thank you for sharing about ima and, and a little bit more of your history with her because I think it’s really special to hear to hear that firsthand experience.

Monique Gauthier 21:18
Oh, yeah. Well, we are tribal beings, I believe, you know, that, that we thrive and psychologically, and our brains thrive, and our hearts thrive when we are deeply interconnected. So the the beauty of community, which is connected to birth, is to just, you know, how to verbalize this, but to keep the field of connection, very alive and vibrant, you know, isolation, you know, suburbia, you know, the nuclear family without friends. That’s a that’s a killer for the soul. And it’s a, it leads to all sorts of disruptions in birth. And, you know, it’s just not wholesome. It’s not a feeling of wholeness. And so community is just actually the natural way to go.

Rebecca Mesritz 22:08
Yeah, well, I would love to hear a little bit more because we started by talking about your community journey and your midwifery journey. And I’d love to just hear a little bit more about your midwifery journey and your practice now.

Monique Gauthier 22:22
Great. So gosh, okay, so I guess I could backup from now. So now I’m a community midwife in a group in Oroville, called the Morningstar Morningstar midwifery practice. And we’re a couple midwives and a couple of Prentice, younger midwives, and doulas and lactation consultants, and so beautiful group that serves this community and their families in really awesome ways. Like, we not only show up for people, prenatally where we have community prenatal classes together, or we’re taking care of the teens here and make sure that they have sex ed, or that we know even postmenopausal. So you know, as a midwifery collective, we’re, I’m really proud of what we do here. And then even postpartum, we have you know, all of us are visiting the woman postpartum lace, making sure breastfeeding takes off beautifully and people are nourished and we’ve had meal trains and and then my passion is making sure that those families have a conscious start. And so we’ve been having more classes on conscious communication for couples and parents and NVC NonViolent Communication courses and, and just basically advocating that we do, the practice that we came here to do in our parenting, which is the first place that people kind of can go unconscious, is just repeat, you know, the sins of the father, let’s call it the, you know, the, just repeat what we were given as children and and so that’s where you, you know, in pregnancy, even preconception is the time to really up our game. And so that’s become my passion is to educate about that and to coach around that.

Rebecca Mesritz 24:15
And I love that

Monique Gauthier 24:19
the picture here in Oroville is really offering at at our fullest as as midwives and doulas to the families here, what we think is, you know, a conscious start to families. And, you know, I really love the practice of coaching and counseling that I have here and online with people holding that you know, those first, those first moments, those first five years for a baby makes all the difference in the world is where we’re, you know, they’re little sponges and they’re taking in whatever is happening in their family. The subconscious that’s being communicated between the couple is really effective. think children and it affects their whole lives. And we have plenty studies on epigenetics and how pregnancy can affect the life of that being. So this is a place to really put it all together. And to do it in a certain, certain kind of timeframe, you know, so. So that’s where I’ve come to now. And how I got here was when I lived in let’s see, I lived in Massachusetts for a long time, as a midwife there in New Hampshire, after going to midwifery school in El Paso, Texas, which was an amazing place, it was called method in Dallas. And it was a place a house where with four birthing rooms and women were coming in, day in and day and night, and we were sleeping there, kind of like firemen would slip down and deliver babies. And that’s, and then in the afternoon, educate ourselves more and more about what was happening in those births. And it was an incredible way to learn in the sisterhood, you know, dozen of us midwives just growing together. And holding each other on all levels, I really got a sense of midwifery as a real sacred practice. And, and so that was, you know, my very beginning. And then I eventually ended up in Massachusetts. And then from there, after a number of years, I did a few years in Canada and the Canadian system, I had to go through a bridging program there, which would train me in hospital work and working in birth centers. And so I did that for a few years, and then came to Oroville. And, and sorry, here I am very happily, loving community life, and focusing more and more deeply on conscious evolution on what’s happening on the planet right now. You know, there’s once said that there’s about 10% of people who are cultural creatives. And you know, that we’re creating the new culture and, and so I think that the, I don’t know what the percentage is, but I think there’s a bunch of us on this planet right now that are waking up that are that are devoted to living from their souls. You know, if I were to define awakening, basically living from your spirit place, making sure that your, your actions, your thoughts, and your words are coming from your highest place. And that’s becoming more conscious of everything and expanding awareness all around us. And so we’re in these very special transition times, I know the world looks very messy. But you know, I could tell a whole story about how I really see this as a birth, and we’re at eight centimeters dilation. And so it’s going to be a little messy. Just like, sometimes things are bumpy in birth. But it doesn’t have to be, you know, if you if you train the mind, it doesn’t have to be a hardship, you know, and that’s the same thing for on our planet, if we train the way we see our planet, we don’t have to create undue suffering, we can actually move through with a lot of grace. And so those are the things that I’m, you know, very excited to talk about, and to teach and to coach around is how we see ourselves and how we see life and to really see it through the eyes of spirit of the eyes of, of your heart. And so, that’s, that’s my gig.

Rebecca Mesritz 28:17
What I would love to drop a little more deeply into some of the particulars of of what that looks like. And I guess my first you know, question is really around, you know, for for people who are interested in intentional community, who are either living in intentional community or or not, you know, or just like, I need to find a better way a lot of those people are young families and people who are wanting to have kids are just starting to have kids and just realizing the insanity of nuclear family living in the burbs reality and how disconnected and unsupported that feels. And I guess as a as a visionary and a future thinker. I would love to hear a little bit more about what you feel are the benefits and the possibilities for the prenatal and birthing and postnatal care experience for people that can access community whether that’s an intentional community or just building community wherever they might be.

Monique Gauthier 29:30
I’m glad to say that that you can also you know, be very conscious around inviting community into your life wherever you are. So you could you can be a nuclear family in the burbs and create an amazing community. And that requires just a little bit of creativity and some leadership. So clients that I would used to have, who when I was living in Massachusetts, let’s say or New Hampshire, I would encourage them to do things like pre internet, go put a little I’m a little notice on the board at the post office and invite pregnant women to tea on a Friday. And do that in your yoga classes, invite everybody over. And while they’re pregnant, and you’re pregnant, these, try to see if you can find three to five friends that you’re going to stay solid with for the next years. And it really doesn’t matter if you have differences in the ways that you live, but community is about, you know, really accepting people as they are and loving them as they are, but create your community now, because you’re going to need each other, especially as the little kids, you know, turn 11 months or 15 months, they get a little bit more social, and they can kind of play side by side, and you will have needs of connecting and so. So that’s, you know, community building, where you are, is a possibility, but it requires creating that. And so you know, if you’re Jewish, you create a Shabbat and you invite all the families from your neighborhood or if your or, you know, you have a blessing way, this is what community easily does. And blessing ways are to take on a Navajo tradition of instead of a baby shower, which can kind of focus too much on materiality, you’re focusing on the mother and the child and, and the mother’s transition into becoming a mom. And so you circle up as women and sometimes this is done with their partner, so you can have a blessing way with the partner involved. And maybe a friend is leading it. And there might be rituals, like, you know, string tying, tying a little string around everybody and putting a little bracelet to remind us of our connection to this woman who is going to be giving birth and sending her prayers and maybe sharing beads on on a necklace that where we offer a blessing to her for her birth and, and maybe we Oh, anoint her feet or put a crown of flowers or, you know, we make great beauty and great connection. And so blessing ways are very easy to organize and community. And also, if you’re if you’re living outside of community, you can definitely get a best friend to, to circle up your friends. And make for an event that really empowers you for your birth and and also start preparing for postpartum. And so in postpartum, those same friends and more can become part of your meal train. So after the baby’s born, somebody would be delivering food to you. So you know, because come five o’clock in the evening or six, dinnertime, there’s no way that you know, after baby’s born, that you’re in the mood to cook. And so it’s great to have somebody just knock on the door, drop the food off, and then leave, or come in the house and do a load of laundry, or just kind of tidy up the place and then leave. So that’s the kind of gifting that we can do. In community and then also postpartum, we can easily organize a naming ceremony, a seeing of the baby in a circle, and talking about why we chose this name and who this person is to us as a couple and as a family and, and really bring sacred into this welcoming of this new being on this planet. And so, so there’s, you know, a variety of ways that community can really support people. I know that communities are developing policies where fathers can stay home longer, where they’re supported, so that, you know, it’s one of the best ways to prevent postpartum depression is to make sure dads can stay beyond two weeks at home. And the American culture does not know how to support people who are having babies who are actually bringing new citizens into the world, in into that country. And, you know, doesn’t have parental leave policies that are decent or, or financial support or acknowledgments, or, like we’re still kind of failing there big time, in supporting the woman’s journey, or even this baby and men, and we’re really not support, you know, men are not encouraged. You know, in Finland since the 70s. They’ve encouraged dads and it’s now culturally expected that dads will stay home for a number of weeks, if not months, and it’s financially backed. So that you can leave your job for a certain amount of time. And, you know, that’s an example of our potential of being a compassionate society that supports new families. But you know, for your audience for the North American audience, you know, we’re really missing the mark. As to so community can create policies and and does you know, we’re doing it here in Oroville trying to make make it so that all dads can have more time at home. And, you know, that lessens postpartum depression for Sure And and it deepens relationship and connection is probably you know, especially with the first time baby, it’s probably the most romantic time you’ll ever experience just staying in bed. Breastfeeding next to your partner loving the moment waking up at all hours, but you know, being fed and just deepening into the mystery and the beauty of life. And that requires a kind of, yes, from the community, like yes, do do that do do fall in love more deeply, do take care of your baby, make sure that baby has the signal in his subconscious, that this is a safe and good world. And so, again, we have to have leadership and communities and to stand up and say, This is what we value. And we do need to put it into our culture and into our policies. And so you know, as far as examples of how communities, I think, winning the game around care for, for women, I think that’s a good example.

Rebecca Mesritz 36:01
I loved my postpartum period with my daughter and felt so blessed by the fact that we were living in community and there were a few books. For listeners, there’s one called the fourth trimester by Kimberly and Johnson. And then there’s a series of cookbooks that are actually also lifestyle books. But the first one that was written by this woman, her last name is Oh, is called the first 40 days. And it’s kind of like a traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic cookbook lifestyle guide that really is Pro that setting aside that time to really nourish and reset the body. And reading those books, I felt very empowered to ask for that, and say, No, this actually is really important. I need this. And you know, even even in community, you know, after those 40 days are over, and the, you know, the kind of immediate postpartum period ends, motherhood and new parenthood is can be extremely isolating, like, even with a super supportive partner, and needs met, and I had community right outside my door. And yet, there were still nights, you know, when my daughter was like, five, six months old, and the kind of like new baby shine of support and meal treatments had worn off and you’re up at, like, 3am just bouncing and shushing, and trying to get them to stop crying, and you’re like, this is this, this is intense. This is lonely, you know. So I think it’s part of the reason why I really do advocate for a sense of community for people who are having families, because that was the best of the situation that you could possibly have. And it still was, like, yikes, this is this is tough, like, forget about being a single mom, forget about being someone that doesn’t have, you know, financial resource or has to leave their baby at, you know, after a month to go back to work, you know, so it’s really so incredibly important. I think I just totally agree with you to call in the troops call in the support, fearlessly ask for that help from the people around you. Well, maybe you have some advice on that.

Monique Gauthier 38:27
Oh, absolutely. Here again, we were talking about leadership and creativity. And what I I advocate for is to create some sort of relationships that you might call godparents. And when I was, I had this experience when I was 23, that a good girlfriend of mine who was 30 said to me when she was pregnant, I was just following her around everywhere. I was so in love with her being pregnant. And I ended up with a birth who said, I really would like you to be the godparent for this baby. And I was just totally, totally into it. And so, and she defined it, you know, she said, You know, I want you to be there for this baby’s birthdays, you know, send presents, you know, Christmas just and take the baby off my hands every once in a while. And so we created a structure where after he was born, I took Baby. We would take him every morning on Saturdays, and give the parents time alone. And, and we did this for a long time. And I was very rich. He’s now in his mid 30s. And I’m still very close to him and his brother. We became godparents for his brother to have two boys. And so I’ve been gifted by her creativity and her leadership to really ask for specifically what she wanted from me and to honor me, and so I advocate for that for other families to you know, go find some people you know, they can be, you know, Don’t people who don’t have children in their early 20s Or they can people who’ve had children or never had children in their 50s or 60s em and help help create bond and this is what community is good at is for people who are not necessarily family becoming like family, because you’ve invited them into your heart and into your relating. And, and I think it was part of dance thesis was really looking at this incredible thing that happens in communities where adults who are not related become friends of these children. And the children get to have the experience of different kinds of personalities, different kinds of ways of doing life, in an intimate, close way, that is their very own their very own friendships. So between this child and this, so I think, living in community and inviting people more deeply to participate and giving them the structure, like please take my child every Saturday. And so you know, we, we go to the park, we go to swimming, we you know, we had lots of fun times. And so that’s, that’s one of my favorite ways to go about creating depth and connection and relieving parents of feeling alone. And definitely I was called on when there were hard moments, you know, like a migraine or toothache or you know, something, the baby would just come my way. And I really felt connected, and then send them when I lived at Findhorn I was in charge of teenagers programming, and also I worked with four year olds. And so I relieved the parents, you know, in that was in my later 20s. I, you know, I relieve them of this constant vigilance. So at dinnertime, I had a gaggle of kids around me and they were, you know, mine to love for that dinner. And so the parents could actually have a real conversation with and not be worried that the

Rebecca Mesritz 41:49
kids are just my gosh, crazy, crazy price

Monique Gauthier 41:54
that I got was like, Oh, this is my belonging, I, I’m the gal who does the kids at dinner. And I really, really connected to me, like, oh, that’s the value of community, I have my place. This is my role. This is, this is where I’m valued. And it was really important for me. And it was great for the parents. And so community is a great way to be seen and held and appreciated. And and, you know, again, that took creativity that took leadership, you know, that I kind of said, like, I’m willing to do these things, and I want to do these things, I want to be connected to the little people and the young people. And

Rebecca Mesritz 42:33
I love that. I mean, I love that there’s, you know, what I’ve seen in community. And what I’ve seen as a possibility is that, you know, you do you get to have these co parents, you do get to I mean, we have, obviously a whole other episode about raising kids and community. But specifically, you know, getting to have the support and the input of people who, their auntie, there. They’re the uncle, they’re the grandparent for a lot of people who, you know, we say this a lot here that people who come to community a lot of times are estranged from their biological family or from their birth family. And so for whatever reason, their values are not in alignment with the people that may have raised them. And they don’t have that sort of automatic support of a granny, who’s gonna come and like, swoop them up with the kind of love that only a grandmother could give. And it’s such a beautiful and rich opportunity for everybody, not just I mean, you know, children are such a blessing. They aren’t, they are such a gift. And they’re also an incredible amount of work. And so it’s it’s so sweet to be surrounded by people who feel like your children are a gift. When you’re at the point where you’re like, get me the hell out of here. I need the eject button right now or something bad’s gonna happen. So it’s beautiful. Yeah, I love I love that you’re speaking to that kind of co creative possibility of community around childcare and childbirth.

Monique Gauthier 44:13
Yeah, I I, when I’m thinking about, you know, our culture and how we are as groups, you know, I go back to tribal people. And I have a vision of, let’s say, a circle of teepees. And, and as you’re raising your children, you have 12 year olds and grandfathers and you have aunties and you have a lot of people that are watching and holding and, and so, the neurobiology of the mother is not high strain, it’s not like the on switch is on 24/7 which it is which it is in in in a lot of child rearing right now, that on switch 24/7 is not good. It’s really stressful. It makes for disease, and it makes for depression, it’s hard to, to do not have enough time for your inner world or your connection to your own being. And so, I think that we are, our bodies are suited to a belongingness. And, and especially with children, and that, you know, older kids mixed in with younger kids is the way to go. So if we were modeling ourselves off of, you know, what was an instinctive in to people’s, you know, the actual and pupils. The other thing I would comment is people’s didn’t work more than 20 hours a week, you know, original people, they, you know, that included basket, weaving, washing your hair in the river, and, and, you know, cutting up the, the berries into a, you know, and so, so the stress level that we’re experiencing, go go, go, go, go, go go and raising children, and oh, now it’s Saturday, we have to shop and now it’s Sunday, we get to be social, but we have to do that quick. And then oh, it’s Monday, again, that wheel is very detrimental to what children need from us, and what we need for ourselves. And so another thing that I, when I’m coaching people that I talk about, I call it shoe therapy. And I kind of say that, you know, after the baby’s born and you’ve had your first 40 days of really hanging out, and now you’re becoming a little bit more social leaving the house. Now, it’d be a good time to start putting your shoes on, and leave the house. In the evening when your partner gets back. And go have 20 minutes by yourself, go take a walk, leave, leave baby, leave house, leave partner, go find you. Go start you’re dreaming up dream into your future dream into projects, dream into things you want to create, be creative, meditate, you know, breathe, just watch your breath and bring your your nervous system down. And so that kind of walking. Solo time is, you know, incredibly incredible for postpartum recovery and, and warding off postpartum depression. And, and also, it’s giving permission to where women quickly will forget themselves, you know, after a baby is born, they’ll think that, you know, they have to have the on switch on all the time, that there actually is no room for them. And that being the best human they could be is to give, give, give, give, give. Well, the truth is that that doesn’t work and and eventually, we start barking and we start feeling very upset, and we take it out on our relationships. And so we do need to cultivate quiet times. And that needs to be in the culture and that needs to be supported. So if you’re going to so maybe in your creativity in your in your leadership, and you’re inviting somebody to be a godparent, you said can you do me this one thing every day at 530? Can you take my kids so I can have a half hour walk, you know, and you know, at least every other day or something, make a specific request. And see maybe they might even want up your game. You know, they might say oh, and I’ll take those Saturday mornings to or something but but we have to carve it out because we have such a crazy culture and because it’s not it’s not balanced.

Rebecca Mesritz 48:23
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Rebecca Mesritz 50:20
I would love to hear about more ways, especially for women in my position who are pregnant right now who are preparing to have a second child or even a first child, who are the product of this American crazy American high productivity, like, should prove your value show your worth. Go, go go. Like, you know, what are some other ways that we can lean into community more? What are the things that are okay for us to ask for in, in this prenatal time? Because in some ways, it feels like yeah, sure, when the baby comes, you can ask for somebody to take your kid for half an hour. But I’m, I’m curious to know, what are the things that that are okay to ask for right now, you know, and how to ask for those things. Yeah, great question. Yes.

Monique Gauthier 51:13
And, and, you know, you’re recognizing that there is a need, and then when you start to recognize the need, and you start to have words for it, like, Oh, I’m needing, support, I am needing, I’m needing alone time, I’m needing to be quiet, I’m needing nature, I need to be in nature, I need a big time, I need to find my center, I need any, you know, you start, you know, I need a little adventure and a little spice in my life, you know, whatever it is, you know, I need to time out. But if you can find those words, and then you can communicate them and start making those requests, start asking people, okay, here’s what my need is, would you be willing to meet me somewhere here, and it would mean so much to me. And so, and this is funny, because this is so not in the culture. And I And here’s an example, just coming to mind, I remember working in a clinic in Ontario, and a few of the midwives are talking about complaining that some of their pregnant clients would come in their last semester towards their eighth month, or their seventh month and, and totally exhausted, and in what’s in their heart as they just don’t want to go to work. And what they would really like is just kind of have a permission slip around this really sore back that I have, and this constant acid reflux, can I just have a slip that says don’t go to work, I just need it badly. And the midwives that, you know, there was this kind of stoic, like, she needs to keep pushing through this, you know, she needs to, to keep working. So she can have her, you know, three weeks off afterwards. And, and I just remember, like, this is not right, this is this is, you know, like, she needs to have two months off one month off at least. And what is usually happening is people are busy buying their house and settling into their Nast in that last six weeks of pregnancy, which I’d say buy the house after or, you know, get it, you know, the minute you’re pregnant or something like that, but last trimester is not the time to, to be on the go. And, and so making the request come from your community, can you know those last few weeks? Can I just have peace? Can I have I be supported in some way, I want to work less in this community, I just need to find myself especially with number two. Number two, you have already been highly challenged by number one and all of its little needs, its little body needs, you know, and and yourself is easily getting lost. And so by the second one, to say like no, actually this is important, it really does affect birth, I find that women who are able to take stress down and really shift gears down and okay, I’m preparing to give birth, I’m preparing to start the breastfeeding and the diaper changing in the slow movement. And I just need to have this time for me. And it will make my birthing better. It’ll take down your blood pressure, it’ll, you know, like your stop breathing more deeply, you know, and that’ll show up in your birth. And so people who are way too much on the go go, you know, the typeface that really go nuts all the way to the last minute. Often those are the ones that are having trouble, you know, that ended up having more you know, interception medically and and and so I think it’s really important that actually a midwife should encourage people to like Okay, let’s start slowing down your your 36 weeks your you know, your 34 weeks, you know, what’s the plan here around backing down into this great transition, you know, in preparing yourself and take that time to really you know, I don’t know if it’s about painting the baby room or the you know, getting a crib or anything but you know, maybe it’s about making sure that you’ve lined up your friends that you have a beautiful postpartum where you know the grandparents will be around or The, you know, the friends will be around to take the toddler to the park everyday at four in the afternoon and start setting that up in that, you know, say, can you do this for me for a couple of weeks, just be on that late afternoon or come and get the baby that you know, the two year old the three year or whatever, at, you know, 1030 in the morning, so I can just top off my sleep just a little bit more. And so your last trimester is to really think about this transition, and who do I want to be in it? And you do need quiet time, you do need to go inward and say, What do I want? What do I need? What’s going to work for me? How do I concretize this? How do I ground this? What request can I make? You know, if I was really creative? And you know, you know, what would I be asking of my partner. And so So it starts with the person being connected to themselves, and and valuing what they’re feeling and what they’re sensing, and then being conscious enough to actually give it give it the space to hear the words and to move forward on it. So. So as far as what you can get from community is really, once you have clarity, then you can call it in whatever it is you need. If you need somebody to finish the porch, in the front, so you don’t have to walk over whatever. Whatever you you can start. Yeah, but slow down is really, really where I think it’s at.

Rebecca Mesritz 56:26
Yeah, I spent some time today, registering for Vipassana I sat a 10 day when I was pregnant with my daughter and I sat with my my best friend when she was pregnant with her daughter. And it just has been coming in so strongly that this, this baby that is now inside of me also wants that that time to really drop into stillness and quiet and deep listening. And for any for anyone that’s out there that has never done for passing them before I highly recommend it. And pregnancy I was so transformational and, and deeply supportive through labor. And beyond really just, I think in terms of just relating to your body and your sensations and not being in resistance to what some might call pain. But in that state, you can sort of shift your mind, it was really super powerful. But I know that there’s this, there’s this part of me that’s like, okay, all right, I’m gonna set this up for this 10 day, but there’s sort of like this whole shift of mindset that can’t just be okay, I’m going to go away for 10 days. And that’s going to be the time that I drop in like it has to be this kind of gradual unfolding and winding down and decompressing and de stressing and letting go towards the birth moment. And yeah, I love hearing I mean, this is so empowering to hear you talk about asking for that and asking for. Yeah, whether it’s more connecting touch for my partner or more quiet in the house for certain times or more naps, but really giving mothers the permission to say, hey, I have I need this, like I need to add like we as mothers need to advocate for ourselves and families as young families need to advocate for themselves and be courageous to ask for what they are needing. And also mindful enough to attune to what they’re needing. Because the culture I don’t know. I mean, you know, you talked earlier about sort of the industrialized birth system and they’re even in this midwifery practice, they’re still like, come on, lady like sack up, you can do it like push through, you know, it’s so there’s so much of our culture that is like this kind of like doing these intense workouts all throughout your pregnancy and bouncing back after your pregnancy and all this primacy placed on pushing through and, and being tougher being like, not being a wimp. So I don’t know I’m not sure where all that comes from. Like, how about empowering the, the softness and the grace to be present to what you’re experiencing and to your children. And like letting that be at the forefront of what we’re we’re promoting in motherhood and in parenthood.

Monique Gauthier 59:37
Rebecca you talk my talk it’s funny. I did the personal also and I end with my pregnancies and amazing because but persona is is a Buddhist meditation is basically watching sensations in the body. And then instead of reacting, just kind of observation and That is the perfect tool for birth for preparation for surges, contractions, whatever you want to call it. And so you know, you would, it’s a perfect way to train the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, to have a sensation in the body, not label it as good or bad. And then just allow it to come and go. And so contractions, you know, somewhere around 30 seconds, 60 seconds, a couple minutes, whatever it is, and that you know, that it will come and it will go, and you don’t have to have a lot of story behind it. And so, I often talk to about the passing a 10 day silent retreat is like the best prenatal class you go to ever I have, because it allows you to step out of a culture that doesn’t support an inward journey, and and actually step into the deep peace that’s inside you. It’s inside everybody. And so I’m glad you’re gonna be doing that for this gal for this pregnancy wherever she he is. And, and the other thing that you were saying that I thought was really brilliant was just, you know, really noticing that, that, again, underlining, speaking about your needs, and I’m wondering, like, what is it with our culture that, especially now becoming a second time mom, what is it about our culture that would just, you know, have us to have to prove stuff or be on the go? And what’s underlining all that? You know, I mean, fundamentally, if you look at every personal growth book, or, you know, if you if you look at what we’re trying to do here is overcome some sense of, I’m not good enough. And you know, that I’m not enough. So, scarcity in the games, is it actually there’s a mystical Meister Eckhart back in the 13th century, he said that the definition of evil is a belief in scarcity. So believing there’s not enough, there’s not enough time, there’s not enough love. There’s not enough money, there’s not enough oil, there’s not enough, me, there’s not enough, enough, I’m not enough, all that scarcity, creates these distorted understandings about how to live. And so we’re three more vigilant to look deeper into these unconscious, constricting, limiting ways of thinking, and unpack them and make different conscious choices like, you know, I am enough, I’m enough to say that it’s good enough for me to transition into mothering to kids and being grounded, and being supported, and reaching into extra help when I need it, and not have it mean anything about me or my being or what am I proving or anything like that. And so that that deepening at the time of pregnancy and birth, you know, is part of this, what I call her, you know, rite of passage, you know, we’re passing from not being pregnant to pregnant to actually having a new addition to your life, your family, and this rite of passage will, will bump into so much you know, so many different experiences. And, and if you take it from the tact of your interior life, if you if you take it from an opportunity as a rite of passage to deepen, you can have extraordinary transformation towards that which will give you joy and peace and a feeling of waking up in love with yourself in love with existence in love with others. But that takes time. And that takes commitment and valuing that inner world and it takes structuring your life so that you have that. And it takes that consciousness just you know, focus on those values that you’re underlining and to understand that the waters we’ve been swimming in the cultures you and I grew up in about what it means to be a good girl is not a truth girl. And we want to move from being a good girl to a truth girl or woman, Person of the womb. You know that where you can tell the truth. The truth is right now I’m fried. I am tired. I need help. I’m gonna call somebody. That’s my that’s what I’m experienced. That’s the truth. It’s not it’s not this. I gotta be nice and suppress myself. Mm

Rebecca Mesritz 1:04:23
hmm. Yeah, there’s so there’s like, it’s such a deep pool. I want to dive into around rites of passage and just hear a little bit more about your thoughts on Yeah, this this time, you know, and how ways that you’ve seen communities. Beautifully, mark this moment and hold this. This time. I know that you had talked about the blessing way and I mean, I that was my blessing way. It was a very profound moment for me. My naming ceremony for my daughter was all So really profound moment and in our journey, sort of book ending the the kind of like, opening and closing in some ways of that portal and like acknowledging like, yeah, there’s a new human here now, and this human has a name, and I am actually a different person than I was, when I stepped into that blessing way, you know, three or four months ago. And I’d love to hear some of your reflections and things that you’ve seen that you found really inspiring around how women hold that moment,

Monique Gauthier 1:05:32
when you’re talking about a rite of passage, what we’re talking about is a huge transformation of a person from where they were to where they’re going. And this particular, probably the biggest rite of passage for a woman. You know, we have marriage we have baptism we have teenagers, in certain cultures that are recognized as adults, we have those kind of a rite of passage of actually becoming a mother of one or of two or of many, it’s really an opportunity to take it on, consciously take it on, where you have clarity, about what you want to experience, and then to actually concretize it through things like ritual. So blessing way is a ritual and you could call it some sort of spiritual baby shower or honoring of the mother shower, you know, however you like that are honoring of the couple. And in those naming ceremonies, postpartum where you gather everybody, and you talk about who this person these are, these are classic ways of doing the rite of passage. I have heroes and heroines in this where I’ve seen friends of the pregnant woman, create WhatsApp groups, to feed into what’s happening in someone’s progress of prenatal care and into the labor. And so everybody can, when she goes into labor, or as she’s in labor, start drumming, start singing, start praying, start focusing energy of light towards that person collectively. You know, images can be sent. So, you know, from the birthing room, just so that people are, are with them in, in spirit, as we say. So that rite of passage can be really held. The other heroic things that I’ve seen is people organizing, care in so many different ways organizing, massage therapy for that person organizing, breastfeeding, support, hiring a doula postpartum care provider. Hi, you know, hiring diaper service. So you know that rite of passage can be supported by the community, by people who initiate that or even the pregnant mom reaching out to those people and saying, Can you help me organize this so that I feel really lovely, supported, and then the rite of passage within the self. So the opportunity to you know, have a have a space in your home, that is keynoting a deepening, so like an altar or a special chair, or cushion or candle or place where you go regularly during pregnancy, where you’re saying, you know, I’m in this transition, I’m in this listening, this deep listening, I will take four minutes in the morning and feel before bed where I can do things like have gratitude, I can invite my partner to sit here at this altar that I’ve created with a candle and some pictures and some incense or whatever. And the two of us can see each other every Friday and talk about what we’re grateful for in our relating, and what we’re looking forward to in our baby coming and actually become clearer in those kinds of rituals like well, what kind of parents do we want to be? And that’s a that’s a huge question that I like to guide people through, you know, all the various things that will be happening, and start preparing in this rite of passage. The couple to be the best parents don’t like the best, so much be the most satisfying expression of their parenthood. And bring consciousness to that. So ask questions about well, what do we want to offer this child in his first five years? You know, do we want to live here? Or do we want to deepen a community experience and move into a community now, after this baby arrives or before or, you know, do we want this? Do we want have music in our lives? We want to make sure that we’re musicians of a musical family do we want to make sure where they’re athletic or artistic or, you know, how are we going to you know, do we need to live near a Waldorf school you know, so, so really thinking about, you know, going into this Really having clear images of what we want to provide for this new soul that’s gracing us? And then what do I need to provide for myself? Do I need a sisterhood? Do I need to deepen my connection to other women friends, which is, you know, one of the one, you know, if you look at what creates longevity, they say, you know, having three or five friends that you see regularly every week, is very good for your health. So maybe there’s time for deepening there. So there’s a deepening within your own connection to your own quiet space inside yourself, and then a deepening into your community and your connection. So maybe you’re having more you know, sitting down with somebody with tea, or, you know, having asking a friend to give you a shoulder rub or your partner do your feet and feet, feet and pregnancy is amazing having foot massages. So, and then maybe you’re inviting elders, maybe you know, people that are midwives or have had many children or are or who have walked this journey and you’re having them be with you on it in some way. So you know, a doula is a good way to have you know, doulas are people that accompany labor and reduce this as Aaron section rate by 50%. For those, those who have to listen the room at labor. And so maybe you’re inviting more company that has the wisdom to it, in your rite of passage. Maybe you’re having therapy or counseling or coaching around the fears, because, you know, there’s a lot that can show up. And so it’s, you know, it’s just a tender care for legitimizing this experience of going from not having baby to having baby, and really seeing that this is an incredibly mystical, incredible deepening opportunity.

Rebecca Mesritz 1:12:02
I just, I love how that just speaks to the opportunity of the holy reset, you know, there’s, there’s so few opportunities in our lives, for us to really name and claim deep transformation and change. And to say, you know, before, you know, God, and our community and our families, like, No, I’m a different person now. And to really have the opportunity to consciously choose who that different person is going to be, is so remarkable. You know, it’s so remarkable. And it’s so rare, we don’t get to do it. Like, sometimes people will do it around a birthday, you know, which is, you know, a major milestone birthday. But in general, you know, maybe around when you get married, when you have children, maybe at menopause, for some women, you know, poor guys, they get kind of left out of some of the some of these things, because they’re not really sadly held in the same way that that women are through those like marking of, of our cycle and menopause and all of that. But just to be able to say, yeah, there are these practices that I want to put in place in my life. And this is an opportunity to really name and claim that. And I love that I love it’s so beautiful. It’s so beautiful.

Monique Gauthier 1:13:32
Yeah, I love that you mentioned women here that. Yeah. And, you know, of course, for women, that’s my, you know, that the passionately supporting women through this, but I also I passionately support men through this process and encouragement to reach out to each other. In our community, we are looking at having a circle, inviting a lot of our dads to participate in the mankind project, which is a group of men that are looking at their emotional life and a deepening into their authentic selves. And, you know, as far as heroes and I’ve seen other dads that create WhatsApp groups to just share about those first few years, what their experiences and so men coming together, you know, that’s, that’s an opportunity for community because already Veuve community does tend to attract people that are more sensitive, more awake to their inner world and want to share with others and be supported. So since women have a little bit of a, because of estrogen and because of our cultural conditioning, because of so many different reasons, we tend to have you know, a leg up a little bit on being collective and getting support that way in these kinds of spare special times. And so sometimes, a woman partner can invite her partner to get with his friends during the blessing way invite some men to support them too. So I just wanted to underline the male experience and you know, they’re going through big changes to and you know, postpartum depression for men does exist. And, and there are limiting beliefs about their beliefs around themselves and who they have to be, once a baby gets your app to go out and and make money, and you know, I’m the provider and all that kind of stuff. And you know, that story could be that narrative could be rewritten in a way that has more gentleness for him, and maybe he could be making choices that are less self sacrificing and more satisfying and nurturing in his life. And so this is an opportunity not only for the, for the pregnant mom to take a pause and reflect on Well, who do I want to be? And what kind of parent do I want to be, but for the dads to really take that on? And really reflect on? What was the parenting I got? What was the father in my life? And how, how am I different? And how do I want to make sure that I take on things differently in a way that was missing for me as a child or? So yeah, so this is a rite of passage everywhere.

Rebecca Mesritz 1:16:05
Yeah. And I’ll just say, you know, to anyone listening, you know, of course, there’s a, there’s a sort of heteronormative paradigm that we’re talking that we’re speaking to right now. And of course, these things transcend gender. Oh, absolutely. And this, you know, in this time, we all know that, you know, father, mother, male, female, all of those things have a lot more fluidity than they’ve ever been allowed to have before. So I hope people that are listening to this, can hear some of that, and, and know that we acknowledge all the different types of constellations and experiences,

Monique Gauthier 1:16:46
the language we’re talking about, you know, the other parent or, you know, you know, the CO parent or Dan, for for many of us, especially my generation, we’re still learning that language. So I hope that there’s, you know, space and forgiveness for, for the normative things that slip through. But certainly, I’m loving how the world is changing in its awareness that we come in all colors, and it really, you know, the only thing that really matters is the love that we have, and that we’re expressing and experiencing.

Rebecca Mesritz 1:17:19
I love that that comes back to community though, like because it’s really I mean, that’s this this show, we’re talking about birth, we’re talking about community and like this, is that, that crux of that thing is like, How can my birthing mothers, how can birthing women, how can families having children, surround themselves with people that care about them, love them, and support them to have the birth that they want to have and maybe that is a hospital birth, maybe that’s a home birth, maybe that’s a water birth, maybe that’s a birth in a field somewhere, I don’t know. Like, it’s whatever you want, but you’ve surrounded yourself with the community of people that see you see your dream, see your vision, believe in you, and are willing to bear witness to that, you know, ecstatic moment of creation that is so mundane and it’s regularity but also, so extremely special every time. So I you know, I just do love that kind of full circle Miss of, of what you’ve just shared. So thank you for that. Yeah,

Monique Gauthier 1:18:28
so Rebecca, what you’re talking about, you know, metaphysically let’s say we’re talking to toggle quantum physics, not like I know a whole lot about it but but what we do know is that observation affects reality. And you know, we have exercises that that shows that so if you’re around people who are observing you, seeing you in your glory as a capable pregnant person that’s bringing in a soul and a mirror a walking miracle and you are surrounded by positivity, then you will be able to easily surround your your your whole field with that. And so you know, we’re to the wise around people that you know, are eager to tell about their terrible horror stories about their you know, their unwanted says Aryans and the and because they’re trying to offload the stress and maybe warn you that bad things could happen but you know, be be wise and create a field around you that you just kind of like water on a duck’s back and you keep moving into greater and greater trust. And and you don’t need to be watching a lot of negativity. And then on the on the other hand of that you can prepare let’s say you wanted a home birth you can prepare your lovingly your birth bag for the hospital, should you need to go to the hospital because maybe you had meconium or maybe you’d like a pain medication or something like that. You know, and then you just say, well, if I need the hospital, that’s just, that’s just fine. I’m going to love myself into that transition. And I’m not going to be afraid of it. And in the end if I’m actually going there, because I think I need us to zero and the heart rates were funny or whatever I can look the tiger in the eye, and we’ve now transitioned into fear, conversation about fear, I can look all these boogeymen in the eye and say, no matter what you present to me, I will stay inside of love, I will stay inside of self compassion, I, this is my big opportunity to deepen my friendship with myself. And so no matter what happens to me or this baby love is, is what I’m anchoring here. And it, you know, and if I were to use a Buddhist things, emptiness is form Form is emptiness, whatever the form is, doesn’t really have the meaning that our society would give it. You know, we don’t know why certain losses have been loss of the dream of a vaginal birth at home, or we don’t know, you know, we don’t quite sometimes we might have some psychic impression around it. And I’ve certainly had those experience, but don’t often, there’s a mystery, and that it unravels over time, and you understand, like, oh, you know, we like an example I had, I had a woman who had done everything for her beautiful home birth and ended up in a cesarean and, and what she noticed is her partner really kicked in, and really, they bonded so deeply during that time, and her whole community came to support her. And she built this even stronger connection to her community. And I was just blown away by her ability to do a narrative therapy for herself. That created story that was loving, unconditionally loving, ever being and acknowledging all the other players in the field, this, this partner, she was actually she was, she was actually a lesbian who had a best friend who, you know, they had created this baby together. And he had an opportunity to really be the parent for this baby where she really needed him. And the whole community surrounded her around this and, and it was so beautiful. This is friendships and deepening. And, you know, in grieving the loss, you know, the loss of a community having a vaginal birth, where everything is natural, but doing that grieving together and that holding and then finding like, well, in the end, what really matters is our deep wholeness. And so I’m so keep directing the mind, and the narration and the storytelling that we have for our beings towards this accepting and allowing of plans that are from a greater space. And so so that was one comment here. I can go on and on about things to do around here. But anything a pause here, because I know I just go on. Yeah, I

Rebecca Mesritz 1:22:44
mean, I guess for me, it’s it’s just continually coming back to, you know, the capacity of the community to really support in that, you know, I had an experience the other day, because in my own journey, I’ve had several miscarriages and so the first part of my pregnancy was very, like, not wanting to allow myself to feel the excitement and the joy because there’s been so much heartbreak and heartache of continual loss or lack of conception. And yeah, it was just very difficult. And last month, I like I still hadn’t fully like gotten into like, feeling excited. And I went to breakfast with a couple of girlfriends last month, and my one girlfriend was just like, so excited. For me, like so excited about the baby, just just a few Civ. And there was something about that, like, love and enthusiasm and excitement that was like a gave me permission to feel excited. I mean, I know that sounds kind of strange, but it’s like when there’s so much fear and kind of trauma that’s a part of your journey. Sometimes it’s hard to remember like, oh my gosh, this is a blessing, you know, and so to have supportive community members who do feel excited for you and don’t necessarily like have to put that on on someone either but just to be able to receive her joy and enthusiasm was really healing for me. And I love that there’s that possibility of Yeah, community reflection, opening up you know, the love sort of breaking through the the walls of the fear and the support breaking through the walls of the fear for our new family and and how much their life is going to change. And, yeah, just having somebody say, Hey, we got you. I’m going to set up a meal train for you. Not you have to ask someone, someone just comes and says, I’m setting up your meal train, tell me what you want to eat, and what days you want it dropped off. It’s like, Ah, just like the nervous system gets to relax in the holding, you know?

Monique Gauthier 1:25:19
Yeah, it’s very, it’s very beautiful. When talking about miscarriages, which, you know, in the woman’s journey, the person of the womb, there will be losses, you know, miscarriage is a very common thing. I mean, we say maybe 80% of pregnancies end up in miscarriage without us even knowing, you know, in that first, you know, month or two, we might not even know that, that bleeding was a loss. For you know, in the first 12 weeks, it’s very common, it’s, you know, maybe 20%, or more one out of every five. And what I have done in my community, and with permission from other women, is when a woman does experience miscarriage, especially, especially if it’s her first time or whatever, and it can hit in a way that’s really devastating, like, what’s wrong with my body, or I failed, or I should have drank more water or, you know, oh, I was too stressed, or, you know, all this self criticism and the blame and the failure and, and then the, like, what’s going to happen? And how much should I you know, what kind of bleeding is normal, so much, you know, and I actually think we should have a mid zone, the, like, a house of, of loss, a house of health, a house of miscarriage, or something where, where we can see how collectively like, No, this is, you know, the divine makes many seeds, and just a few trees will actually route and take, and that’s normal. And, and that men and so what I’ll do is, I’ll, I’ll kind of point out, you see that, you know, in our community, this, this friend of ours, you know, she had two miscarriages, and, but she has three children now, and you know, this one over here, she thought she could never conceive, and, you know, she did these things, and she finally had that baby after eight years, you know, and to just kind of tell the stories, and that, you know, without breaching any kind of confidentiality, but just to show like, this is the woman’s journey, it will have these funny to say gut wrenching, but you know, womb wrenching, horrible, terrible places. And yet it can be held with so much love and compassion that that woman becomes like, the fullness of her wisdom in that process, and is really prepared to have a motherhood that’s just breaks her heart wide open into motherhood, and all the things that she’ll be tenderized, let’s say, through the experience of raising people. And so, so a big honoring of all of those processes and all of those loss of the dream in one form or another, like maybe being born prematurely or, or your demise, or know the breastfeeding issues that go on and on cleft palate, whatever, that you know, there’s so much. But there’s a way to hold all of this with so much love, and so much tenderness and so much wisdom. And so that’s why I think it’s great to surround yourself with your community that has wisdom in the field. And that is that helps people return to themselves to their deeper core, all that. And so, you know, for our community, people to really up our game as a collective to really see that this child, the soul coming into the world is our child. It’s our person to make sure that the epigenetics that surround this woman, that our collective really surrounds her in the sacred and in the positive and in the loving. And we will see a different kind of consciousness in our little beings, we will see this and this is I believe, you know, once this is in the cultural waters, and we are we are shifting towards conscious parenting, conscious birthing consciousness and that I think in one or two generations, we will see much different, much more different kinds of parenting.

Rebecca Mesritz 1:29:08
Thank you so much, Monique OTA, for having this conversation with me. This has been so lovely.

Monique Gauthier 1:29:13
I’m honored by the invitation. Thank you, Rebecca. Thanks.

Rebecca Mesritz 1:29:20
Thank you for joining me for this conversation with Monique go ta you can learn more about Monique and her work and find out about her upcoming courses and engage her if you’re interested in one on one coaching online. Through her website, Monique dash go ta.com It is such a privilege to be able to have these beautiful conversations and share them with you here on the inside community podcast. You can learn more about the show and my guest as well as access show notes and transcripts and links to all the things that we might mention like books and courses on our website ic.org/podcast. While you’re there, your donations do help keep the show going and are so very appreciated. Please give what you can to help us continue to bring you useful, inspiring conversations like this one. You can also support this podcast by leaving us a review on Apple podcast, and by sharing with your friends, I’m on Instagram and inside community podcast. Follow me there for updates on the podcast and inspirations for your collaborative culture journey. Thanks again for listening everyone, and I’ll see you next time.

Dave Booda 1:30:35
Who left the dishes in the shared kitchen sink? Who helps her Johnny when is too much to drink? How do we find a way for everyone to agree that since Can you it’s a podcast y’all

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The Inside Community Podcast brings folks along for an inside look at all of the beautiful and messy realities of creating and sustaining a community. We provide useful and inspiring content to support people on their quest for resilience, sustainability, and connection.

Meet Your Host

Inside Community Podcast host Rebecca Mesritz is a community builder living in Williams, Oregon.  In 2011, Rebecca co-founded the Emerald Village (EVO) in North County San Diego, California.  During her ten years with EVO, she supported and led numerous programs and initiatives including implementation and training of the community in Sociocracy, establishment of the Animal Husbandry program, leadership of the Land Circle, hosting numerous internal and external community events, and participation in the Human Relations Circle which holds the relational, spiritual and emotional container for their work. 

In June of 2021, with the blessing of EVO, Rebecca and 3 other co-founders relocated to begin a new, mission- driven community and learning center housed on 160 acres of forest and farmland.  Rebecca is passionate about communal living and sees intentional community as a tool for both personal and cultural transformation. In addition to her work in this field, she also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from San Diego State University and creates functional, public, and interactive art in metal, wood, and pretty much any other material she can get her hands on. She is a mother, a wife, an educator, a nurturer of gardens, an epicurean lover of sustainable wholesome food, and a cultivator of compassion and beauty.

The Inside Community Podcast is sponsored by the Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC). Reach out if you are interested in sponsorship or advertisement opportunities on the podcast.

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