Birth Guardians: Moriah Burke

Today’s profile of Moriah Burke is part of our series 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. Check out the previous Birth Guardian profiles. If you would like to be a part of the series please send an email to paganfamilieseditor@gmail.com.   Now here’s Moriah’s profile.

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

I am in training with DONA to be a birth doula as well as a postpartum doula. I’ve been studying for five years and have finally decided to take the plunge to officially certify. I created the Pagan Childbirth Support Network of Dallas to provide Pagan doula services to Pagan mothers in Dallas. I blog answers to questions I’ve been commonly asked and share some of my Pagan birth practices. I’d like the Network to grow into actually being a network where more information can be shared, created and provided as a resource to Pagan mothers who are having difficulty finding information.

 In what ways does Paganism affect your work?

I wouldn’t be who I am and have the passion that I have if it were not for Paganism. Once I set foot on the Pagan path, the biggest change for me was embracing the role of the Goddess. In constant study of the Goddess myths, we learn about the light and dark sides to the Goddesses and their roles as maiden, mother, and crone. Becoming a mother is a huge transitory process and one of the roles of the Goddess. I understand that not everyone believes in the role of the Goddess, but for those who do, motherhood brings her into our being and teaches us that we are Goddess. There’s nothing I’ve found more touching than watching women be Goddess and witnessing the first few moments of someone’s life. It’s a beautiful liminal time. Paganism encourages us that birth is natural and that we are in control of our intentions and perceptions. We can change how we think, how we feel, and even how our physical body responds to internal and external stresses. Paganism is the core of the work that I am doing. I can’t even express the relief I feel in finding other like-minded people who are also pouring heart and soul into making pagan birth more of a community experience of sharing resources, insights, and experiences. All of that to say, it is my goal to provide consistent insight into what it is like to be a pagan mother and doula and to share information and resources as they become available. I strongly believe in unique content creation and will do my best to provide new information to my community.

How can we honor what is sacred in childbearing?

I think the most sacred aspect of childbearing is to trust that Mama knows best. Each mother is like a closed system onto herself and even if she’s unaware, she is entirely sure of herself, her baby, and her ability to do her work in peace. When other sources (doctors, online communities, rude strangers, etc) try to infuse her mind with negativity on how she should go about her journey to please their idea of what her labor should be, they are trying to diminish her power. It’s certainly felt sacred to watch a Mama have her own complete and total power over her journey. If we are blessed enough to be permitted behind closed doors to watch the journey unfold, we should consider ourselves doubly blessed if we are able to sync ourselves into the private universe and pattern that the mother is experiencing and aid in her in the final stages of her journey.

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

The most valuable thing I learned through my own pregnancy and birth journey was to trust my instincts. Mothers can be very intuitive at times and that should never be ignored. Secondary to that is it’s important to go with the flow, let go, and accept the journey as it unfolds. There’s a lot of thinking and planning that goes into welcoming a new baby. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Every journey is completely unique and acceptance of the story as it unfolds makes it memorable and beautiful. I spent a lot of time after the birth of my son upset and hurt that the birth journey didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. After much work, when I accepted the story the way it was written there were things I admired about it. My son is happy, healthy, almost 5 now, and I’m here doing the work I love doing because he changed me.

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.


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