Denby Sheather

"breathe deeply, tread lightly..."

We are all unique and every woman has a different belief regarding birth.

You may deeply want a natural birth or perhaps you are thinking about having the medically managed birth. Whatever you want is perfect and right for you and where you are at right now in your life. The majority of women fall somewhere in the middle, wanting a natural birth yet not feeling confident enough in their ability to do so. The implications from the majority of OBGYN’s, hospital midwives and even family and friends, of ‘we will take care of you’ and ‘do it our way and you will be safe’, in fact often interferes with your birthing instinct and erodes your confidence levels.

When you are vulnerable and unsure this is when the fear sticks. As those emotions fly, so does all the power and strength within to say ‘No’. Saying ‘Ok’, when it doesn’t feel right just to please your partner or the support people, is not ok. It is a far cry from your gut instinctively telling you to get down on your hands and knees and rock your pelvis! Still, even today, although much lip service is given to ‘follow your body’, the quieter, gentle, less confronting birth (for others, not the mother mostly) is much preferred to the more ‘real’ scenario where you pad around the birth space like a lioness, growling or roaring at that which threatens the life of your baby. Whatever doesn’t feel right to the birthing mother, has the potential to create trauma.

We are told that birth is not meant to ‘feel good’. There is still shame surrounding what will make a woman feel good in natural labour. The subtle insinuation of being a ‘good girl’ is powerfully played upon in the medical management of labour. Too much of our personal power is given to those who deem that giving birth naturally is unsafe and that a woman is crazy or indulgent in her preference for wanting to experience the incredible power and wisdom of her own body. Once that birthing instinct has kicked in, giving birth does indeed feel amazing, natural and powerful. It can also be incredibly blissful and gentle as your body ripens and opens with each contraction.

I certainly felt the fear of the ‘support’ but chose to stay in my trust when I went into labour five weeks early with my second baby. I scared the doctors and midwives who had to attend to me (whether they wanted to or not) because I wouldn’t let them take over and ‘manage’ the situation. It certainly was not my intent to scare anyone. All I wanted to do was to remain in my ‘birth zone’ and continue to labour and birth in the way that I was. I had already reached the point of no return and as they changed over midwives, again I refused to get up on to the bed so they could hook me up to continuous fetal monitoring. I asked them to use the portable one. I could certainly feel my baby moving around – I was nine centimeters dilated and in transition. I didn’t want any negative energy around my baby or me. As they hovered anxiously around, talking to my husband and hence taking him away from being supportive of me and into his own doubts, I just dived deeper inside. I made a nest with the gym mat and beanbag in the corner of the room, as far away from the bed as I could go and underneath the glorious sunlight that was shining in through a dirty window. A less resentful midwife who had also worked downstairs in the birth center was brought into support me, yet she couldn’t let go of wanting to break my waters. I literally blanked them all out of my view and with closed eyes and a rising contraction I began to chant. The primordial sound rising above and clearing away all the doubt, judgement and negativity in the room. If I had gotten up on the bed or engaged with any of the other six people present, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver Harry myself. They would of quite happily stepped in and ‘saved’ us both and I wouldn’t have been able to experience guiding my baby out of my own body, gathering him into my arms and warming his blue little body with my heart, my breath and my skin.

The unnecessary push to have a baby out as quickly as possible and the false notion that the drugs will miraculously make your birth easier – plus all the monitoring so you know what is happening – doesn’t create a feeling of safety. It creates more anxiety and disconnection from what is actually a very natural process. To enjoy the natural process you need to prepare yourself through positive support, acupuncture and balanced and informative birth classes that give you real tools, practical tools, for both you and your partner. You can hire a doula, have hypnosis for addressing any birth fears and to deepen the birthing trance as well as pre natal yoga to connect with your breath and body. My advice… do whatever it takes to stay true to yourself and your own birthing instinct. Our gut instinct is never wrong!

Happy Birthing!
Rebekah Fisher