- -Have you ever watched a birth in a movie that didn't show a women's labour by her waters braking with her gripping her stomach, grimaced faced and possibly shouting, with her birth partner, who is generally a man, loosing his mind and shouting like a crazy fool or passed out ?! Or a labour on the TV that lasted approximately 20 minutes with intense contractions, with similar behaviour of sheer panic?!
Is it any wonder then with this era we live in, where the only birth that we really see is created for drama, that our brains, the problem solving organs that they are, seeking knowledge, absorbing surroundings and creating experiences for us to be able to survive, have a subconscious pre formed template that birth is horrendous.
I teach a lot of women and their birth partners. We ALL have the same conversation - birth and the Media.
I don't teach that birth is without discomfort at points and I don't teach that you shouldn't use analgesia if you choose you want it, but I do teach that birth is an experience, a passage into motherhood. That with positive thinking and replacing the fear we hold about labour and birth with a deeply believed trust in nature that your experience can be the best you can have.
My daughter came to me one Christmas lunch time, I was in the kitchen, for anyone who has ever been in one of my classes they will know this story. Her words to me whilst I was basting the turkey (which was too big for the oven) were, "Mummy, I am NEVER EVER NEVER having a baby, it hurts!" ....she was 9.
She had been watching a family favourite of ours - Nativity. I love Nativity! It's full of great adult humour that kids just don't luckily get! The scene that she was referring to was the hospital scene. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of the film, the non-teacher teacher decided that to make his Mary and Jospeh more authentic, to beat the other schools in the Nativity play competition, he would take them to watch a REAL BIRTH. They sneaked out of school and onto a labour ward (again inappropriately named). The next scene as follows, doors open, women screaming legs in the air, children screaming, teacher screaming = bad school trip!
From that one scene my own child and other children begin to lay templates that birth is traumatic. Some images are so long lasting that women can actually begin to fear birth as children, not really realising till; the day they become pregnant, then the fear template raises its head.
Alongside the hundreds of stories about negative birth, there are hundreds of books telling you how amazing birth can be, how calm birth can be, that birth is a beautiful beginning, yet if this is true why do so many people say that it is not the truth.
We are ruled by our mind - chemicals, our mind and body are one, one results in actions of the other. Our birthing hormones are so delicate, we need to treat them with care. If we don't allow them to work out of fear, then our protective hormones that are there to prevent birth from happening quickly will be working. This is normal, this is what should happen - its genetic by 200,000 years.
Our nurturing hormones towards protecting our offspring have both a positive and negative effect, one will over power the other depending on the situation. This trigger will either allow you to give birth or not. Your body won't want you to give birth if you don't feel safe and secure. If you don't feel secure then your body assumes your not secure, nor in a safe environment. If your not in a safe environment then your body, with its nurturing instincts will not want to allow your baby to be born as its sensing danger. Danger releases your fight or flight - labour stalls/stops.
What if then all your thoughts of birth are of the negative literature you've read, negative images you've seen, fearing that day. That day comes and goes,...the further past that day the closer you get to possible induction, but you've heard induction can be awful, you dread that possibly more...you still don't feel safe, your body still won't want to birth.
Now its not a old fear that you can't recall where it started, it a very new current one. Embedding itself from a funny, light hearted comical film my daughter watched when she was 9.
If you filmed and showed a full length feature of a calm birth to viewers; well, it would be pretty boring, wouldn't that be lovely, are my thoughts!
Sadly negative birth is all around us. It does have the power to influence us in pregnancy and in birth. It can be given the power to alter our births. Deep routed in our make up. I could go on and probably offend a whole many more people - but I won't!! I also must add I do love the film Nativity!
There are things you can do, take the control back yourself! Educate yourself, find a good antenatal teacher, find a provider who wants to teach the things you want to learn, both the good and alternative circumstances. If you're having a hospital birth go and see the unit, this makes it more familiar, more comfortable to go to in labour.
Talk, about the good too!! Ask other friends the best things they remember, not always asking for the worst. MOSTLY trust in yourself, trust in your body and your baby.
Breathing for birth is so essential.
Time to make a return!!
17 years ago I was having my first baby, wow how quick that time has gone!! I was doing the regular antenatal class that the hospital recommended and was reading 'what to expect when you're expecting', mainly as I'd seen it on a film and it was the only book I knew!
I was not a midwife then. I was me. Me having my baby. Feeling, to be honest, both excited and nervous!
The classes were daytime, just us women and a midwife. She was lovely. I hoped that she was going to give me the secret answer that would stop me from being nervous and make me feel happy about the fact that I was soon to give birth to a baby, that in clothes made me look like I had a child's space hopper stuffed up my jumper!
The classes then were 6 weeks long, 6 weeks to find my answer.
Classes were great, I made some great friends, but my favourite part of each session was the 15 minutes at the end where we lay down on our sides (which in its self took 5 of the 15 minutes!) to learn how to breath.
I know we all know how to breath, but there's a difference in pottering/rushing around like a maniac in daily life, breathing as you go, not thinking about it, letting it all just happen, than breathing to bring your baby into this world.
The lesson that midwife taught me had helped me not only in labour, but through colic, tantrums (occasionally mine), shopping trip disasters with toddlers and other friends toddlers!
It helped me through first days back to work, first days at school and last, and all the bits in between when you feel like all the air has been vacuum removed from the space you're in!
Through working with women and teaching them the skills I've been taught, from my first baby to practicing HypnoBirthing, one thing that remains the most beneficial skill I believe you can teach women and their birthing partners is how to breath. Breathing calmly brings you control, control brings you strength. Labouring women are the strongest they will ever be, bringing life into this world.
I read a quote once that will stay forever imprinted in my mind, "Labour isn't stronger than you, it is you".
If I can offer any words to help you find your inner calm for birth, it's learn how to breath....
Breathing for birth and daily life