Birth Guardians: Jane Hardwicke Collings

This is the first in a new series, inspired by Radical Doula Profiles, profiling people who work with pregnancy, birth, or the postpartum period (prenatal massage therapists, childbirth educators, OB/GYNs, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, labor & delivery nurses, pediatricians, etc.) and are Pagan or work with a Pagan community.  If you would like to be a part of the series please send an email to


What is your name?

Jane Hardwicke Collings

What kind of work do you do with pregnancy, birth, or the postpartum period?

I am a midwife, I’ve been attending homebirths since 1984.

I give workshops called “Pregnancy The Inner Journey.”

I have started and run a school – The School of Shamanic Midwifery.

In what ways does Paganism affect your work?

Paganism completely informs my work, specifically with the interconnectedness of everything and everyone,  the wisdom of cycles, celebrating the seasons and the Goddess and God energies.

How can we honor what is sacred in childbearing?

By getting out of the way and so allowing the mother to connect with her divine nature and give birth. This happens through respecting the mother’s biological need for privacy and protection (an ‘undisturbed birth’) during her labour and birthing experience, so she can access the altered state of consciousness that is the blueprint for labour and birth and so connect with the sacred dimension of birth and herself and the baby. If she is disturbed this doesn’t happen. Disturbance can take many shapes.

If you could tell Pagans one thing about pregnancy or birth, what would it be?

Everyone has the birth they need to have to teach them what they need to learn on their journey to wholeness. There are no successes or failures, simply the birth experience that the mother’s mindset, beliefs and fears enables. Preparation for birth needs to include acknowledging and letting go of your fears, and updating your beliefs. It REALLY maters how a baby is born, and how a mother gives birth, so unnecessary intervention (and most of it is) is to be avoided.

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About Sarah Whedon

Sarah Whedon is founding editor of Pagan Families, the author of Birth on the Labyrinth Path: Sacred Embodiment in the Childbearing Year, and former Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious History at Cherry Hill Seminary. Sarah’s teaching, research, and advocacy work center around topics of spirituality, feminism, and reproduction. She makes her home in the Boston area with her partner and their children.