The Newborn Imprint
by Sister MorningStar

[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article which appears in Midwifery Today, Issue 104, Winter 2012. View other great articles and columns in the table of contents. To read the rest of this article, order your copy of Midwifery Today, Issue 104. The following is taken from Sister MorningStar’s upcoming book, MorningStar Midwifery.]

We are born once onto this living planet of rocking oceans streaming with sea life, wide skies with winged beings, uneven terrains covered with flowering plants and creatures of unending diversity, spinning in a vast universe where we wonder if there are other life forms similar to our own. We are born once into a family species that is the most complex, developed and sentient of all the life forms on this cosmically floating paradise. We are born but once.

Every baby born deserves uninterrupted, undisturbed contact with her mother in the environment the mother has nested by her own instinctual nature to create. Any movement we make to enter that inner and external womb must be acknowledged as disturbing and violating to what nature is protecting.

Our delicate eyes have been accustomed to dappled and muted light. Our delicate ears have been protected by layers of sound-absorbing organic blankets. Our delicate skin has been introduced to touch and caressed by the soft waves of moving water where even the touch of gravity does not enter. Our taste is for sweet, salty water. Our nose drinks as freely as our mouth, and the smell we know as home is shared by our entire global family.

It is not a mystery or unusual that most babies of all the mammalian species are born at night in a quiet nest far from the edges of light and sound and thundering movement. It is not a mystery or unusual that a birthing mother will turn day into night by going deeper in the woods or a den or a cave to make a nest of peace for herself and her baby. The Earth has been teaching life how best to survive for millions and millions of years. The instinct is so strong that even domesticated pets or farm or zoo animals will work and work to recreate what they would easily find in their natural environment, searching for places apart, away, hidden, lower, under, difficult to reach, difficult to discover, difficult to find…a secret place of peace where the senses are all softened and the great work of being born can unfold with the greatest of ease. It is not a mystery. It is life. Instinctual life; wise and wonderful life.

Sister MorningStar has dedicated a lifetime to the preservation of instinctual birth among native people. Experientially, she was raised in the Ozark Mountains within the influence of Cherokee traditions. She birthed her own daughters at home and has helped thousands of other women find empowerment through instinctual birth. Politically, she has served on state, national and international boards helping to oversee the development of midwifery certification programs. She is the founder of a spiritual retreat center and author of The Power of Women: Instinctual Birth Stories (Motherbaby Press), as well as other books related to instinctual and spiritual living. She lives as a Cherokee hermitess and Catholic mystic in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Visit her on the web at

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