"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Being pregnant during periods of anxiety, grief, and anger can be complicated. We know that the stress that we experience in pregnancy is also experienced by our babies. Cultural traditions worldwide recommend that pregnant women not look at or think about upsetting things. Unfortunately, that's not the reality that we live in, or that of many of our sisters around the globe.

I'm not saying that you need to have a pleasurable, orgasmic birth (though some people do), or that you need to be "smooching," masturbating, or having sex during birth (people do all of those too). I'm saying that the things that make sex good also make birth good. Or rather, the things that support a positive sexual experience will also support a positive birth experience.

Yesterday I watched my daughter run off and play with the big kids. She is so confident, so bold. She runs without looking back. She is absorbed by the ducks, the children on their bicycles, the feel of rough bark and soft soil. I called to her and she ignored me. I realized with such bittersweetness that the symbiosis of our time together in her infancy is fading. That my heart beats in her is an illusion--it's my heart. It's her heart. 

New mothers need to be mothered; we are asked to give so much of ourselves in the immediate postpartum, and that giving is ceaseless over the span of our lives (even if it evolves). But, the transition to motherhood is also worthy of honor as the passing of a significant threshold in our lives as women.

I've been radio silent for the past couple of months but have so many stories to tell, from my recent trip to Kashmir and meeting a 105 year old midwife, to scaling the Himalayas with a nine-month old. In the meantime, I'm very excited to share an opinion piece I wrote published today on CNN.com, thinking about how our overuse of modern technologies is a factor in America's unacceptably high maternal mortality rate

We are the canvas for our beautiful struggle. This holds true outside of birth as well, it's just how we live our lives, changing in increments or in great leaps all the time. It's good to have someone else tell us that we're beautiful, not only for our beautiful and strange bodies, but for bearing and wearing those struggles, too. It's better to be able to tell ourselves, again, not only in appreciation, but out of respect for what we've carried.