Objective: To discuss the concept of ‘transcendent birth’, an as yet poorly articulated and under recognised psychosocial wellness phenomenon of childbirth. Design: an auto-ethnographical examination of the primary authors’ journaled experiences as a student midwife and childbearing woman. Setting: three maternity care units in South Eastern Australia as well as the home of the primary author. Findings: The phenomenon of transcendent birth is linked with physiologic birth. Maternity care can hinder or facilitate physiologic birth, and therefore transcendent birth. Key conclusions: Transcendent birth is more likely in maternity care models which value the childbearing woman and physiologic birth. Implications for practice: Women's access to transcendent birth is demarcated by women's position in society, cultural knowledge of transcendent birth and the valuing of transcendent birth as a maternity care outcome.