Labyrinth as a Birth Guide

Updated on July 29, 2018

Journeys Intertwined

Amy Swagman, Certified Labor Doula (CLD) and fine artist, gave this author permission to use her labyrinth photo.
Amy Swagman, Certified Labor Doula (CLD) and fine artist, gave this author permission to use her labyrinth photo. | Source

Birth Labyrinth

Pam England, author and founder of Birthing From Within, stated that a mother’s experience in labor is much like navigating a labyrinth. When a mother begins labor she embarks over the threshold and steps into the labyrinth or “LabOrinth.” Walking the labyrinth is a reminder of reconnecting with our own bodies and natural rhythm of life. Women preparing for birth can use a labyrinth as a guide, a meditative tool, and even as a practice to cope with pain during their labor.

Labor Labyrinth

Bellyrinas gave this author prermission to use her finger labyrinth photo.
Bellyrinas gave this author prermission to use her finger labyrinth photo. | Source

Mother and Child Labyrinth

Labor Labyrinth

Labyrinths have a deep history of being symbols of birth. The Hopi believed the vertical line in the labyrinth represents the umbilical cord and the path of emergence, while the cross at the entrance represents the Sun Father, giver of life. In India, Hindu midwives hang a Yantra or labyrinth on the wall for the laboring woman to see. While she is feeling her way through birth, her eyes can follow the path and go back and forth, left to right, right to left. Consequently, her brain waves change from fast thinking to a slower, meditative, and intuitive way of being. In labor, women do not need to think their way or memorize all the facts, statistics, and information in birth books. The women’s body inherently knows how to birth.

Once on her journey in the labyrinth, she will step on the winding path until she reaches the center. This meandering path, the alternating left and right, or the clockwise and counterclockwise direction of the labyrinth, creates a vital natural pattern that is kinesthetically incorporated in her birthing body. The center of the labyrinth represents life, the birth of her child, the birth of the newly formed mother and father, and the birth of the family. Pam England states, “A mother could be blindfolded and still reach the center by feeling her way through the path. She doesn’t need to study the path before she enters it.”

How Labyrinth and Labor are Similar

 
Labyrinth
Labor
Threshold
Entry point into the labyrinth
Emotional and physical signs indicating the beginning of labor
Path
One direct path to the center
Labor will progress and baby will come out either medically or naturally
Twists and Turns
Labyrinth move left and right, back and forth, up and down leading the labyrinth walker closer to the center
Labor may feel like it is slowing down, speeding up, getting closer or stalling out, however, the process moves the mother closer to her baby's birth
Rhythmic
Labyrinths have their own unique rhythmic movement by their symetrical design
Contractions have a rhythmic timing
Center
Prayerful connection, birth of new thoughts, ideas and wisdom
The birth
Travel Out
Move towards the exit with wisdom, thoughts and ideas, transformation
Postpartum

Gates in the Labyrinth

Labyrinths remind women how to feel and intuit their way through pregnancy, labor, and parenting. According to Pam England, there are four great gates that are planted in the labyrinth.

  • The gate of doubt
  • The gate of faith
  • The gate of determination
  • The gate of love

Laboring mother’s face each gate at some point in the labyrinth. She will face and find her way through each of these gates. These gates are not in any particular order and can be different for the laboring mother.

Once to the center, the birth of her baby, she will begin to travel out of the labyrinth. How long will it take? Our cultural, usually states that in 6 weeks, she will be ready, to work again, be intimate again, separate from her baby if needed and back to herself. It’s a long wayward journey to fully experience birth and being a new parent. Some say it takes 2 ½ years to 3 years to exit the 'LabOrinth.'

Birth Labyrinth

Bellyrinas gave this author prermission to use her finger labyrinth photo.
Bellyrinas gave this author prermission to use her finger labyrinth photo. | Source

What do you think?

Using a labyrinth during labor can be benificial for mothers.

See results
Source

How to Use a Birth Labyrinth

A labyrinth can be used in labor several ways during labor.

Pre-Labor

A mother and her birth partner can walk a labyrinth during the early stages of labor. Labyrinths are found in hospitals, parks, or churches. If there is an opportunity to walk a labyrinth during the early stages of labor, this can help center a mother and help mentally and mindfully prepare her for labor.

During Labor

A mother can make a finger labyrinth during her pregnancy or purchase one. During labor, she can use her finger and trace the labyrinth path in, around to the center and out again. This finger labyrinth can be meditative and help with pain coping by giving her something else to focus on. In addition, a labyrinth also holds the reminder that this labor will come to an end and you will get to the center and birth your baby.

Labyrinths made of clay are especially durable during labor. Clay labyrinth can be used in water and brought into a laboring tub.

Coping with Labor

Sometimes mother's are bed bound or in active labor and are not able to use a finger or walking labyrinth. Instead, she can hang a labyrinth image up on the wall and look at it as a visual reminder.

Labyrinths

Birth Labyrinth

Amy Swagman, Certified Labor Doula (CLD) and fine artist, gave this author permission to use her labyrinth photo.
Amy Swagman, Certified Labor Doula (CLD) and fine artist, gave this author permission to use her labyrinth photo. | Source

Using Labyrinths in Labor

Labyrinths have a way of gently reminding mothers both in labor and in life, despite doubts about where she is going and how she is going to get there, she must keep moving forward. At times in labor, the closer she feels she is getting near the end or the center of the labyrinth, surprisingly the path seems to turn her around again. With perseverance, faith, and determination the continuation of the path will eventually lead her to the center or the birth of her baby.

Labor is a journey, and on the journey, she will gain her footing as a new mother. A labyrinth can be a powerful symbol of wholeness and transformation for birthing mothers.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 CarlySullens

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

        CarlySullens 

        5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        Janewrites,

        I am glad you find the link between a labyrinth and birth interesting. The labyrinth is so fascinating. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      • janetwrites profile image

        Janet Giessl 

        5 years ago from Georgia country

        The link between labor and labyrinth is interesting and new for me. It's a pity I haven't known that before. It certainly would have been beneficial in my both pregnancies. Anyway, this hub is awesome, interesting and useful. Will share this.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, remedygrove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://remedygrove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)