Belonging: Receiving the Self

Lucy Pierce and I (Lucy Pearce) discovered each other as people kept mistaking us for each other – we create art and words on the theme of the sacred feminine but on other sides of the world – she in Australia, me in Ireland.

Belonging - Lucy Pierce

Belonging – Lucy Pierce

This image is an offering to all those who have carried within themselves an experience of woundedness, who have harbored within a place where no sun can shine, where the shimmering of the stars cannot find its way, where the rain does not fall, nor the Earth nourish. To all of those of us who, because this woundedness is a hidden thing, a thing for which we might feel shame, because this hiddenness we do not even show to our own self, when we are with others, still we feel alone and even when there are eyes upon us, still we feel unseen, and even when a hand of love is extended, still we feel unloved, and even from within the raucous celebrations of our tribe, that deep hidden part of us remains untouched.

This is a picture for all those who have struggled to be seen for all that they are in this life, those who are timid and unsure of how to bring their love and their gifts to commune with the world. For all those who have hidden their light or felt they were alone within the midst of the many. For all the times we forget that we are the centre, however we find ourselves, and that this is the place to start to plant our seeds of love, carefully tending them with our presence, so that that which is still hidden within us may become a bountiful wellspring that feeds the hearts and souls of the all, so that we may find our own unique place in the circle of life.

As we deeply honor the grief of our perceived separateness, we find our connection to the whole, for the world needs us now. Our mother Gaia needs us all, to bring our gifts out from the dark corners of our own unworthiness, into the light of our collective becoming. You have never been alone dear heart. No longer believe the shame, it is a lie you whisper to yourself to keep yourself small and you are so far from small, you are a magnificent human being. We may need to endure the terror of exposing our own magnificence. It is true that to begin with it might feel deeply uncomfortable to be seen, but it is time, tender one, hiding in the shadows, to offer love to your own un-livedness, to become the safe place to land your heart in the world, with its vast medicine bundle of beauty.

As we each turn within, to offer our limitless capacity of love to our own true selves, no longer giving any other being the authority or responsibility of keeping us small or safe, or to give us permission to shine, knowing that what we carry within us is ours to give, no longer believing those that might once have told us our bigness was not wanted, was not welcome.

By loving ourselves, caring for and tending to the aliveness of our own interiority, we become strong and deep-rooted in our capacity to give of ourselves, the newborn nectar of our own true purpose.

I pray that we may each come to know a place of belonging completely to our own selves, surrounded by the tribe that would have us be all that we are. From the edge we become the centre, as the deep listening to the soft within becomes the rich, fertile compost which mobilizes our capacity to worship the divine creative essence of our own healing, of our own belonging, to self, to tribe, to Earth, to Cosmos. We receive ourselves and are home.


Such a tender crippling to the deep within

So young when the question arose

Around love and trust and the violence of absence

So that all that remained was to fly

or to trust this timid listening

at the dark edge of things

seeking the answer that might one day flower

on the inside of things,

longing for trust,

something without strings or bitter consequence.

So hungry for the bedrock of something true,

a love free from violence,

something whole and reciprocal.

Honing the impulse to fall inside

until one finds the love that should have come

but did not.

The hungry nose of instinct

always leading me in and away,

so mute and trembling the terror of not being loved

as mightily as a part of me longs for,

sifting through the self-loathing,

making piles of the not-known,

in search of something known,

that one smooth, warm river stone,

amongst the mountains of others.

That one stone that I can nestle in the palm of my hand,

passing it’s surface across my tear-stained cheek

and know it as belonging,

know it as something I have earnt,

know it as something that is my own to hold onto.

pure and clean,

warm and true.

Keening for the vision of self and other

and life that existed before the wound became the lens

through which the world was viewed.

To be born to such a blind grief,

that deflects our understanding

and evades our coarse penetrations,

that the world does not resemble flower petals,

that the world has lost its tribe and language,

that we have forgotten to fall with the rain through the sky,

fall with the rain across the golden mountain,

fall with the rain through the sun-drenched trees,

fall with the rain to the sweet and hungry mouth of Earth. Ourselves and the rain,

the mountain and the trees

and the Earth

golden in the last rays of the day’s ancient sun.

My heart has always been betrothed to this elusive bride,

always seeking her with my vow

that I would feel that which was given no name,

that I would ride into the dark night of my own interiority

and keep the silence company,

courting the tender embrace of the universe.


Lucy Pierce

Trained in Fine Art, majoring in Ceramics at RMIT, I now live in the beautiful Yarra Valley, not far from the river and overlooking the mountains, with my beloved partner and 3 beautiful children. I feel my creative work has led me on a journey deep into the psycho-spiritual realms of my being. Through my creative impulse I feel wooed into a deep engagement with the poetic interface of life.

For many years now my practice as an artist has flowed alongside my journey of being a mother and this experience has deeply imbued my body of work, as I have explored the profound embodiment and awesome expansion, the unfathomable challenge and gift that is pregnancy, birth and the raising of small humans. Alongside this and interwoven, there sits the profound journey of finding, keeping and loving a man, traversing the terrain of inhabiting a deep and real and connected love and transcending the illusions and projections that can sabotage that connection.

I am passionate about dance, poetry, song, dream, story, the blood mysteries, meditation, prayer, sexual expression, sweat lodge, women’s circling, all as avenues of exploration of the inner terrain of my being. These rich vehicles provide an ever-present compulsion to explore, create and express in physical form, that which I find in the unknown and sometimes unknowable places of the body and the beyond.

Always it seems for me at the heart of all my expression is the deep sense of love and reverence I feel for that great, deep, primordial feminine energy that I feel pulsing at the core of life, for the divine and majestic Mother Earth and her perpetual devotion to beauty, diversity and truth, her ever-present nurturance and astonishing capacity to reveal, delight, immerse and enlighten, and how we as her children are inextricably dependent on her for our well-being and our survival.

Since I can remember I have always made art and written poetry, and it feels like a wondrous thing to come to a place where I feel able to offer these ramblings and scribblings to the world. With my little people playing at my feet, sheltering beneath my skirts, I am slowly endeavoring to give back to the great river of creative energy from which I have fed from so delectably for all the days of my life. It is my hope that some of my work might find a tender place to land in the hearts of those who bare witness to my offerings and that a shared resonance of beauty, truth and goodness may come to sing in the collective soul of our kind.

You can find a selection of my paintings, sculptures and poetry on my website

Crossing the Womb to Birth Threshold

This is an extract from Gail Burkett’s new book, Soul Stories: Nine Passages of Initiation, a guidebook, a gentle companion for your pilgrimage through life’s many stages using meaningful ritual. If you choose, your experience will culminate in an initiation to yourself.

Gail invites you to join her for a New Moon women’s call.

“I have planned 13 Moons and feel deeply committed to bringing women together around Rites of Passage on each New Moon. September 12, 10 A.M. Pacific Time, PDT.

For my teaching on this call, I will describe the developmental spiral from birth and talk about each passage, showing how a life is built through relationships, events, books, seasons, all kinds of things shape each one of us. Together we can learn to see the catalysts of change that serves as our special marker, a threshold past to be reclaimed.”


Begin here in the Soul place before your Birth. Focus on your story of origin, your Soul story. Consider the time in history and your ancestry; meditate on this view and access your reason for being. Why did your Soul come to Earth when it did? For you as the initiate, this liminal time connects your spirit trail back through your lineage. As your own storyteller, you will gain a spiritual understanding of how the past shapes the present and the future. Remembering these pieces of your Soul story now fulfills a longing of your whole life. Everyone begins inside our Mother’s womb.

Design a ceremony using the same ritual elements your Ancestors used—fire, water, earth, and air. Sit as quietly as possible for a few moments and go inside with your thoughts and feelings. On Earth where gravity rules, all we know is time. This pilgrimage will help you identify gifts that came in with your Soul.

May I suggest something otherworldly? Use your imagination to enter the womb, float around at the end of an umbilical cord in the liquid bubble of the womb. Imagine floating with the Womb of the Universe. I actually mean to return your imagination to your Mother’s womb. Claim a rebirth platform to remember your Soul story. Create an exalted connection with the storyline running when your conception was announced. What story did your parents create just before you came to be? How did neonatal care prepare for your Birth? You were needed and expected here on Earth. Soon you will know why.

Call forth your imagination; enter your wee oceanic body in your Mother’s womb. You spent eight or nine months in the ocean Soul Stories of your Mother’s womb, so spend time this month to call forth the intentions and instructions of your Soul. Go inside this warm and spacious ocean preceding your first threshold. Begin to know yourself as the sperm meets the egg. Somehow you became the intersection of your Father and your Mother.

Consider what gifts came through the environment of living with these two people. Other gifts came to you from this womb journey, gifts that were yours alone, gifts of your Soul. At some point your mind-body-spirit met your Soul, perhaps at Birth, perhaps before. This womb-time directs your Soul’s journey. Spend some time here and decide for yourself, what do you believe? How are Birth and Death related? Engage your heart-mind, dance like you were in the womb. Play ocean music. Every visual image you receive during this first month will ease all the rest of your journey. I advise releasing your right brain to the fine act of creating art!

Take time to breathe lots of air, very slowly. Use this time to learn how to quiet all the way down. Take long, warm baths, return to the womb in your mind. Review your developing body. Find the place of gratitude for your toenails, for your pancreas and liver and spleen, do some visual work for the miracle of your blood. While you are inside your Momma’s womb, imagine her as an egg inside of your Grandmother’s womb. That, in fact, is where we all begin.

Remember this is no exaggeration, every one of your Mother’s eggs, 400 or so, came through your Grandmother’s womb first. We are miracles inside of miracles inside of miracles and need quiet time to honor ourselves.

Questions for your quest. To inspire your timed writing and help return your focus to this Divine mystery, listen to what Coyote asks:

  • What story was already running outside the wombspace where you were born? While you did acrobatics at the end of your umbilical cord, what was the mood?
  • What were the circumstances in your family of origin?
  • What story do you know? Before you were born, did you come with an agreement about this lifetime on Earth? This womb-time spent in review is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself to discover what you believe.
  • Do your beliefs mirror your parents’?
  • How did you form your beliefs?
  • Did you agree to be here for a certain number of years and learn certain lessons?
  • What state-of-the-world story can you piece together while you were inside that warm, wet womb space?
  • When you were born was there any agreement about when or how you would die?

See how many perspectives you can entertain.

It’s important that you know what you believe for your origin story; Birth and Death have a relationship. Death walks with us through life and must be welcomed as a Soul choice, like Birth.

Allow your cosmic consciousness to awaken to these questions. If you are open and curious, your beliefs will be revealed. Ask your own questions and share a sketch of your beliefs with your sacred circle. Can you speak your origin story to your Soul Sisters? I experience joy and humility when I consider my origin story. What do you experience?

The whole design of our human experience is free will. Why would your Soul choose your Mother? Why did your Mother choose your Father to be her mate? How did all of that happen anyway, what chemicals were racing freely through the world? Testosterone, estradiol, what part do you understand? We are truly much more than miracles.

I want to introduce Soul as energy of the Divine, the Source energy. While you are still in your womb-space consider the concept of your Soul as the bringer of gifts from the Source, does this fit in your belief system? Take this opportunity to understand how Soul fits into your personal cosmology. If terms like past life, rebirth, life after life, or life between life, offer clues, solidify these beliefs also. When you step up to the Birth threshold, you will know what you see coming.

Starting in the womb-space before Birth provides time and opportunity to preview the agreements between your parents as they cradled you. How did they prepare to receive your gifts and hold them safe for you? Parents are only one of our Soul’s agreement; some of us have siblings who have been the closest confidants because of common origins. From the Cosmos your Soul agreed to also walk with your biological body and bring your cosmic mind into consciousness. Your cosmic consciousness wraps around mind-body-spirit at the peak moment of your Birth and then all that stardust seems to fold in on itself. Ask your sparkly cosmic consciousness to open beyond a rose bud to reveal more beautiful petals.

Consider why Soul is less talked about than other earthly experiences of human beings; we rarely share intimate meditations. If you begin a meditation practice just for this pilgrimage to review your life, more will be revealed and you will have an interesting perspective to share. Perhaps you could agree to an email drop to your circle of Soul Sisters and Mentors. Sharing your immersion will likely expand the vistas for every witness.

This time may be approached from many angles, try asking, what needs healing? Did you choose this warm and welcoming environment? Can you tell the story of why you made the choice of parents, of geography, and so many other details? What essential part of yourself came from your Father and what came from your Mother? For tender-hearts from divorced families, do you see and feel the difference between nurture and Nature? How can this reflective point of view expand your healing?

On the national and global historical timeline surrounding your Birth, what happened? Be curious. Wikipedia will help answer this curiosity for your origin story. Go there and plug in a date, like your birth year or conception year.

Your intuition is the best guide for this approach to review for healing. Remember you came with a purpose. Listening to your intuitive mind that delivers messages in subtle and complex ways will connect you to Source. Perhaps your purpose is already fulfilled or perhaps this pilgrimage will reveal the reason long known to your Soul-self. Look around to your friends now, how were their lives affected by history’s timeline?

The emotions stirred by questions, mine and those you ask yourself, become clues to follow and journal about because the origin of your joy or pain lies somewhere in those emotions, not necessarily in plain view. While you have your mind in the womb-space, your biological creation brings a renewed appreciation for your body as a remarkable miracle. It brings into stark focus the need to think about your Soul.

If I asked you to please write a sweet letter to your Mother, do you jump at the chance or cringe? Nearly everyone has some kind of mommy-wound. Your personal experience may be well reasoned and understood or the consideration begins here while you’re in reflection with her bulbous womb that became you. Your thoughts and feelings may fly back to this neonatal or postnatal birth time. Somehow mommy didn’t attend quite perfectly. My Mother didn’t nurse me, so at some point I decided she didn’t love me enough.

Here and now is where forgiveness rises in me and flows out. Each one of us has our own definition of perfection for Mother. Without her perfect attention, we decide our Mother has abandoned us. This dance of attention and abandonment is reinforced each time you felt alone or did not have your needs met, perfectly. This rock and a hard spot is an old story for Mothers without many Aunties around. I let Mothers off the hook for this unfortunate cultural wounding wheel this way, as daughters we must realize we cannot know all the facts.

Write, dance, share and share more to heal those wounds for this reason if for no other: Culture has been far too hard on women; we bear so much unnecessary stress. This guilt and shame can be healed here and wherever it surfaces again. In Endnotes you will find Brené Brown, an authority on the topic of shame and vulnerability, how to recognize it, and what to do about it.

Perhaps it all started when Mother divided her focus while you were still an infant. Half of her attention went somewhere away from you and you couldn’t get it back. This wounding is natural, we all have it because we made mommy our only focus. She focused on baby for much of your deep dependence and then returned to herself. This is true for more than half of all mommy-wounds. What were your specific details?

Before your Birth threshold, while in the wet and warm womb space, you will be opened by my suggestions. Take what is useful and leave the rest. Please get comfortable with your routine as you flex and stretch to accommodate your new ritual habits. Write about everything in your heart and mind, write about your Ancestors who beckoned you to return to a body to complete your lessons. Then write about your parents, your siblings, and your earthly grandparents. Perhaps you hovered over the scene with your spirit guide. Once or twice each month, strengthen your circle with a call or a meeting. Your Soul circle needs you and you need them.

Be willing to examine your inner realm, to heal and grow. Be willing to listen to your intuition as the Divine Feminine, the Source, or perhaps the voice of God of your understanding.

How you do what you do deepens this experience your way and leads straight to the drumroll—the Birth Passage which marked your emergence into the Earth plane and the whole of your life? The first and most dramatic of all of the Passages happens when your Soul meets your body.

gailburkettGail Burkett, PhD, author of Soul Stories, and Gifts from the Elders.



Why Birthplace Matters

Babies matter
Mothers matter
Fathers matter
Siblings matter
Midwives matter
Choice matters
Dignity matters
Rights matter

Hospitals across the country are suspending their homebirth services

… which forces women to either pay for an independent midwife if they want a homebirth, move to another area, or give birth unassisted

… or go back to give birth in the same hospitals where they may have already suffered birth trauma and interventions that might have been avoided

… and every woman should be able to determine for herself what setting feels like the right place for her to labour, give birth and spend the first precious hours and days with her baby – not have the choice made by others.

Paula Cleary, writer, doula and home-birth mother of five spearheaded the Birthplace Matters campaign a year ago to urge her local hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk, UK, to reinstate its homebirth service for women…..and a call for better information about the safety of homebirth and understanding of the strength of women’s feelings regarding the place they give birth to their babies.

Birthplace Matters is committed to restoring confidence in homebirthing and feel it is every woman’s human right to give birth at home.

Every woman should be able to choose the setting of her baby’s entry into the world.

Wherever women are told their birthplace choices are not important, wherever women are belittled or sacrificed at the altar of short-term birthplace policy, we will help. Women should not be at the mercy of a postcode lottery when we all pay the same taxes, and we will fight any trust that takes away its homebirth service until it is reinstated.

Our focus at this time is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Where next?

Her recent, rousing passionate writing compiles words from mothers and respected birth experts as to why birth place matters, exploring the efficacy of hypnobirthing, water birthing, doulas, fetal monitoring… It has received over 10,000 views already. It is a MUST READ for all birth activists and is available HERE for free.

A War on Wombs

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the Bonus chapter that never made it into the new version of my Amazon #1 bestseller in menstruation, Moon Time: harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle.

Read part one: Welcome to your Womb…


Every year, according to Dr Eve Agee, in the Uterine Health Companion, over 600,000 hysterectomies take place in the United States.

Whilst 10% of hysterectomies are for cancer, the remaining 90% are for benign conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis. Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery after caesarean sections. Both major surgeries. Both on the very same part of the body: the womb.

The Western medical model, it seems, has declared war on the womb, surgically correcting and interfering with it, in order to save women from their own organs.

This is not a judgement on women who have had hysterectomies. But a big question mark over the system which deems these operations necessary. And a culture which makes women’s bodies suffer to the degree that half of the population need an integral part of their bodies removed with such regularity.

In many cases these surgeries are life-saving for women – and for the babies they are carrying.

But what is going wrong?

Mammals have had wombs for hundreds of thousands of years. Women have given birth for this time. They have menstruated for this time. Wombs are not a new thing.

And yet, we seem to be unable to live with them now. What is going wrong? If one in three women is now unable to give birth without surgical assistance. If 70% of women have fibroids. Something is out of balance. Inside. And outside.

Think for a minute: what does this mean for women?

The womb is intimately connected to fertility, to creativity, to sexual pleasure. The womb is a major hormone producer, and its structure key to a woman’s posture, balance and the support of her other organs.

Firstly we ignore our wombs, breasts and genital health until our bodies are screaming at us, and our symptoms are big. Either through numbness, or embarrassment, or lack of awareness. We tend not to prioritise our feminine health. We lack the culture of being able to talk with ease and openness about our bodies.

When we do approach health care providers, the care we receive often does not heal or resolve the issue, simply address the major symptoms. Treatment is often painful, invasive and traumatic, leading to further issues. It is usually delivered in a way that does not understand or value the holistic nature of the womb and its cycles. Or our symptoms are ignored or downplayed as “women’s problems” or psychosomatic.

Without wombs, human life on this planet cannot continue.

That is the biggest picture.

But the smaller picture is this – each woman who is in pain, who is suffering each month, is a woman whose energy is not fully there for herself, for her loved ones, for her work that she gives the world.

Our health and fertility is important – not only to us, but to our families, communities and even our economy.

We live in a culture that is dictated by sun-time. By man-made weeks and months. In which we are expected to work 9-5 for five days a week, and be the same every day. But as women, we are powered by something different. We live by moon time: the 29 day cycle of the moon, which dictates the length of our menstrual cycles.

Just like the constantly changing phases of the moon, the energy in our cycles is always changing, shifting us through different moods, capabilities and physical issues. We are very different creatures at each part of our cycle… and at each part of our fertility process: menstrual, pregnant, breastfeeding, menopausal. And yet our world, especially the world of work, has been set up by men, whose bodies are not cyclical in the same way as women’s. Women have entered this man’s world, and have been expected to prove themselves worthy to be part of it. Not weak. Not unreliable.  And so we have learned to shut down our sensitivity, our awareness of our cycling selves. In exchange for acceptance, belonging or survival.

Look Out for Part Three next week…

Welcome to your womb

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the Bonus chapter that never made it into the new version of my Amazon #1 bestseller in menstruation, Moon Time: harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle.

Here is part one: Welcome to your Womb…


As women raised in industrial societies, we have been taught to ignore and hide our embodied processes, rather than learn from them.

Emily Martin, The Woman in the Body

What do you think of when I say the word womb? Is it something you identify with? Or is it an abstract concept, a hazily remembered diagram from biology textbooks? Do you have a felt sense of your womb? How often do you think about your womb? Most of us are only aware we have them when they are causing problems: menstrual cramps, contractions during birth. Otherwise we just ignore them.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Which is a little unfortunate, bearing in mind that the womb is considered by many healing systems to be the central node of the feminine energy system. In yogic traditions, it lies at the heart of the second chakra. It is often referred to as a woman’s second heart, and many believe it to be central to all her creative functions – not just her fertility, but also visioning and artistic abilities. It is said to be a crucible for her powers, and where a woman’s sexual energy is coiled.

However in Western medicine it has been perceived as a capricious organ, which is often more trouble than it’s worth. It is the cause of “women’s problems” and makes women hysterical, and non-functional. Science and medicine has never really felt at ease with the womb throughout their history, and their focus has only been on its reproductive functions. Or rather dysfunctions.

The womb tends to be seen as no more than a piece of meat. One that can carry babies. But other than that is essentially redundant. However research is now showing what other traditions have understood for centuries: that the womb is central to a woman’s bodily processes. It has an impact on our heart’s health, blood clotting and sexual health. The womb is intimately interconnected with the body’s structural, hormonal and postural abilities. Says Dr Eve Agee,

“Everything is interconnected. If your uterus is depleted or removed, it cannot function properly to help create wellness in other areas of your body.”

Womb wisdom is a foreign language to most of us… we were not taught it. And so we are silent. And numb. Out of touch with our bodies and their wisdom. But embodied knowledge is our mother tongue… we just have to reawaken our latent memories and regain our fluency. Learning to celebrate your cyclical nature will naturally lead to a greater sense of ease, wellbeing, physical and emotional comfort which will spill out into every area of your life.

Read part two: A War on Wombs, next week…

Sweetening the Pill

55 years after the release of the Pill, we think birth control needs a second, and thorough, look. Women fought fiercely to get the birth control pill, but now we seem to be fighting to get off it. In 1960 the birth control pill was all about progress, but does it still fit with our values today?

Sweetening the Pill is a fabulous book which explores the hidden dangers in the contraceptive pill… and why we’re not told about them.

It gets a couple of mentions in the second edition of my book, Moon Time. THAT’S how important I think it is.

During those decades when we’re trying to avoid getting pregnant, many of us seem to find ourselves settling for a method we’re not entirely happy with or switching from one hormonal contraceptive to another – from pill to implant to ring, for example – trying to find something that fits.  The ads and inserts give us long lists of the possible side effects, but it doesn’t make them any easier to live with.  Some non-hormonal options seem to have disappeared almost entirely (anybody try to get a diaphragm lately?) while more hormonal options have become available.

So when author Holly Grigg-Spall let me know that she was launching a Kickstarter campaign to make a much-needed documentary on the topic… I said hell yeah, count me in! It is being executive produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein, the team behind The Business of Being Born.

Intrigued? Let them tell you more, in this Exclusive Q&A with Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein, & Holly Grigg-Spall

What made you want to shed light on this topic of hormonal contraceptives?

Ricki: It really seemed like a very natural progression for us from ‘The Business of Being Born.’ Women spend more time trying to avoid pregnancy – a decade or more at the start, then they have babies, then they’re back to trying to avoid it for further decades. It’s an experience all women share. What we did for birth, we want to do for birth control, and empower women with more information and more choice. ‘The Business of Being Born’ was about body literacy and this project is the same – it’s about women knowing, understanding, and trusting their bodies.

Abby: We’ve both had our own negative experiences with different kinds of hormonal contraceptives over the years. We know other women who have experienced the same thing. Holly Grigg-Spall sent us her manuscript for ‘Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control’ and something just clicked when I was reading it. For the first time, I was connecting emotionally difficult periods in my life to the use of the pill and it just made so much sense to do this film. We could approach birth control with women’s empowerment in mind, too.

Holly: For me, I wrote the book because I had a pretty terrible personal experience with the Pill, which I used for ten years consistently. The book began as a blog that I wrote about coming off the Pill and my experience doing that, how it made me feel, finding alternative contraception, learning about my cycle and so on. That blog meant that lots of women got in touch to share their own stories. I realized the extent of this problem. I then soon realized it was really taboo almost to criticise the Pill or the culture around the Pill. That interested me. I saw ‘The Business of Being Born’ when I was actually writing the book and I made the connection right away. I wrote about the parallels between the birth and the birth control industries. I knew that the book could make the basis of a great documentary and that the absolute best people to do this would be Abby and Ricki. I set my sights on that. Of course, I am now over-the-moon about the film. A book is one thing, but a documentary like this can reach so many more women.

We believe that the birth control pill was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. But we think women deserve more and better options, not less of them. Hormonal birth control often dominates the conversation, but, like a hospital birth or cesarean, it’s not always the best choice for all.

The Kickstarter campaign highlights Fertility Awareness Methods as a non-hormonal alternative, particularly when supported with apps and new technology. How did this area come to your attention?

Ricki: We got introduced to Kindara first through Holly’s book and we have met with them and discussed their work with their app and new wireless basal body thermometer, Wink. They want to democratize this knowledge, make it part of every woman’s education. They really think it could change things for the better when it comes to women’s lives. We also spoke with the makers of Clue in Berlin. They’re helping women track every part of their monthly cycle. It’s great progress for women’s reproductive health. Just this week we saw that Apple finally decided to add menstrual cycles to their HealthKit app. This is wonderful. It means other apps can sync with the native technology on the iPhone and it means more women will come to realize they can track their cycles and benefit from being aware of this information. They will be made aware of that option.

Abby: Really the technology sector is leading the way here. We’re seeing them step up and help and support women who don’t want to or can’t use hormonal contraceptives. They’re making using Fertility Awareness Methods simpler, easier, less time-consuming and more approachable. They’re getting in the media and getting their message out there. And these people are also a wealth of knowledge because thousands of women are using their apps and talking to them about their cycles and experiences.

A lot of women take the Pill for other issues these days, not just for contraception. Do you want to explore this?

Abby: Absolutely. A couple of our film advisors work in this area – providing holistic, natural reproductive health support. They are working with women who have found the Pill hasn’t helped them long term. They’ve had side effects or the problems they had before have returned after coming off. They’re struggling to get pregnant. The Pill is prescribed for so many health problems these days and, although it’s definitely helpful and even essential for some women, it’s not the right treatment in all situations. In the Kickstarter video we highlight one part of this – how women are using it to regulate their cycles, even though they’re getting misleading information on that.

Holly: This is such an important area. More and more women are on the Pill for everything from acne to PCOS and yet the Pill doesn’t treat these problems, it only masks them. When women come off, most commonly the issue returns and might even be worse than before. We think that women have to suffer with PMS, like it’s our destiny, inevitable, when actually a lot of hormonal balance-related problems can be treated properly long term with alternative protocols. Women deserve better. They don’t have to put up with this stuff. And they don’t always have to use drugs that give them side effects to fix the problem. For some women, as Abby says, hormonal contraceptives are essential treatment. But we’re at a point now where it’s being doled out like a cure-all and it’s just not.bc

Why have you turned to Kickstarter to get this movie made?

Abby: We spent a year going the traditional route and we met with a few networks and production companies. We had a lot of discussion and a lot of real interest. People were saying this film could be “the Food Inc. of birth control.” Everyone has a story or knows someone who has a story about this, it’s just that kind of subject. But, it doesn’t have that commercial pull. It seems, at first, a little scary even. Some people struggle to understand the perspective. We have to explain that it is not anti-birth control or anti-Pill. Instead it is pro-informed consent, pro-choice, and pro-knowledge. We want women to have more options for contraception, not less! We want them to have more access, not less! It’s a feminist film project. This topic is very politicized right now, so that takes a little time to explain.

Ricki: People might not realize, but we didn’t actually make any money from ‘The Business of Being Born’ – it was hugely successful in many great ways, but we lost money. Documentaries are really passion projects. We know a grassroots effort is right for this project, it spreads awareness and gets the conversation going. Women will share their stories and may even share their stories for the film. They will have their experiences validated by this, which is so important. The campaign is doing really well, but we have to keep going strong to reach our goal now.

Watch the trailer… And please do give them your support. We need to ensure that all women have access to objective information before they make their contraceptive choices.

Please do take a moment to support this much-needed documentary. The Kickstarter Campain runs till July 3rd. This is why they need your support:

Whatever amount you can give, however small, will act as a vote of support for this project. You’ll be voting for you and for all the women, and men, in your life to be empowered to make fully informed decisions about how we manage our fertility and to have support in whichever choice we make.