The Tao of Birthing®

A Holistic Guide Through Preparation & Childbirth


What is The Tao of Birthing? Its origin was written 2,500 years ago by a man named Lao Tzu.  He had been employed by the library of the Chow Dynasty, and was considered a Sage. With prompting from his followers, he penned his philosophy and wisdom onto eighty-one bamboo leaves; notes about living in harmony with all of nature. Written in prose and poetry, he called his collective, “The Tao,”  which means “The integral truth of the universe,”  “The path” or “The way.”

In time, Emperors extended the title, adding “Te” and “Ching,”  and a book was printed: The Tao Te Ching – – The Sacred Book of The Way. It’s the second most translated book in the world next our Bible, and is, in fact, The Bible for Taoism, one of China’s three religions.

The Tao of Birthing is an adaptation of The Tao Te Ching. It’s been recreated from many different translations of the original. Throughout history, and no matter the translation, the eighty-one verses remain true to Lao Tzu’s creation …including “The Tao of Pooh.”

Tao addresses the perfection in the natural order of the universe with contrasts such as dark and light, challenge and ease, ebb and flow like the waves of the ocean, day and night as the moon replaces the sun. Essentially, life is a display of paradoxes that have no deeper meaning unless, and until, we prescribe them. Simply put, things are as they are. This is the design in all of nature. This is the nature of birth. Without intellect or judgment, the laboring body will mirror the ways of the natural world, functioning without thought-forms and opinions, without plan and predictability.

Tao says that struggle comes forth only when we brace against energy, against the flow of nature. Conversely, when we surrender to what ever comes forward, we may find ourselves in the flow, no longer evaluating with our logical minds but moving in a realm of intrinsic action; no longer attempting to control the outcome but rather accepting what has been placed before us. With acceptance comes a vast and limitless space from which we can progress freely, and when in this space, we are simply in “experience.” To be in the flow is a truly expansive adventure. To be in the flow of labor is “The Way” to birth.

The Tao of Birthing is a Holistic “how to.”  With commitment to preparation, you’ll master how to build your mental and physical stamina, how to respect and accept the journey of your baby, and how to “go with the flow” of labor. I liken it to a Yoga practice in its discipline and sanctity, or like training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, or when preparing to run a marathon. Each example requires that Body, Mind, Psyche and Spirit function as one source, from step to step, from moment to moment, from in-breath to out-breath.

Whether you imagine an experience with or without medications, and whether what occurs is nothing like what you imagined, know that it is all Tao, the soul of which is unpredictable, mysterious, and cosmological as is the birth of your child. It’s not in your control, and at the same time, it is.

In the end, the style in which your baby gets born is neither right nor wrong, good or bad, and neither are you. Maintain this neutral perception from beginning to end, as your perception will live on, way beyond your birthing day. It will influence the way you view yourself as a new and future mother, and as a woman. It will dictate the level of harmony you establish with your children.

Let “surrender” be your mantra through labor and birth; the deeper your surrender, the easier the experience. The easier the experience, the more you increase your opportunity for immediate and uninterrupted post-birth bonding. And from this bonding, babies and children set forth the imprint of a more peaceful world. “Call it forward. Breathe it in. Climb its light. Swallow. Open and say, ‘Yes.’ ”

Caitlin Philips