Birth is often perceived as a well-defined physical event. In truth it is part of an extraordinary journey, a continuum, which sometimes begins well before conception, in our hopes, dreams and imaginations; and continues through pregnancy and the wonder of birth, into the early years of nursing and childhood. The birth itself is both physical and deeply emotional. It is a rite of passage, a powerful and meaningful experience which can have a profound effect on how parenthood begins. Women should have the centre stage in the birth process, empowered and encouraged by those around them, so that they may experience birth with fulfilment and begin their journey into motherhood feeling confident.