Mythological and Archetypal Perspectives on Childbirth in Contemporary Culture

When yoga teacher Britta Bushnell first became pregnant, it was natural for her to add prenatal yoga to the yoga classes she was already teaching. This move eventually led to her training with childbirth specialist, Pam England, the author of the classic birth book, Birthing from Within[1]. England had already formulated a remarkable method that integrated mythology to help parents prepare for birth as a rite of passage. 

The archetypal idea of a “rite of passage” is an overarching piece of how Bushnell sees the journey through labor into childbirth and further into new parenthood, and now her work has evolved into preparing parents for birth as a rite of passage.

When Bushnell works with soon-to-be parents, she uses mythological stories such as goddess and god, Artemis and Apollo, and parts of their birth. Finding meaning through the use myths, storytelling, and archetype offers a map for the rite of passage—the transformation that happens during the process of moving from being an individual to being a parent. Stories can help us locate ourselves within the context of something bigger than ourselves. It is critical for those who are experiencing childbirth or parenting for the first time to be able to understand where they are in their process and how they can potentially move forward on a given path.

In that transformation for new parents, there is something new that sprouts, which is an entity called “parent,” Bushnell believes. She aims to help her clients archetypally birth themselves as parents…

Listen to my interview with Britta Bushnell, or read a detailed summary article at

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