The Secret to an Awesome Birth Experience

img_9548

When I became pregnant I knew instantly I wanted to give birth to my baby at home. There was no question. I’ve never been keen on hospitals, or really the Western approach to much of anything for that matter, and I figured I’d be much more comfortable at home than under the glaring fluorescents of an unfamiliar hospital bed. It was probably expected of us to go “al naturale,” being a family of yoga teachers. We tend to use our yoga practice, food, herbs, and oils as our medicine rather than pills on pills on pills.

Everyone told me I was crazy. They looked at me as if I were dying or something. I realized just how skewed our society’s general view of birth had become, and it lit a fire in me to prove these people wrong. I didn’t relate to the fear. It simply didn’t make sense to me that normal birth had to be a terrifyingly painful experience for all women everywhere. That that’s just the way of the world, and if women didn’t want to be tortured for an ungodly amount of time during labor, then the only option was an epidural or an elected c-section.

I called bullshit. Why could every other mammal on the planet give birth unassisted, but humans needed a team of experts to intervene and a slew of numbing mechanisms to get babies out? Women have been told lies about their innate strength for far too long. They’ve forgotten their own wisdom, lost connection and trust with their bodies. Chances are, they’ve heard far more horror stories than beautiful and empowering birth experiences. Suddenly the mind becomes hyperactive and fear begins brewing. But here’s the thing: women were made to birth babies.

Let me repeat that.
Women were literally designed with the ability to grow a baby human and to give birth to said human – naturally.

A woman’s body already knows how to give birth, and babies know how to be born. That wisdom is undoubtedly programmed into us. The same way our body knows how to breathe air, digest food, and pump blood, it knows how to birth babies. The issues arise when a woman tries to give birth, when her mind tries to logically get her baby out. I realize this concept may be confusing to some, understandably so, because generally speaking we were never taught how to live intuitively. Humans have removed themselves from nature so much so that many of us have forgotten that we ourselves are nothing more than just that; an individual collection of earth, wind, fire, water, and ether. We aren’t separate from nature, we are nature.

My point being, if a woman can keep her mind out of it and surrender to the natural wisdom of her body and her baby, she can experience a joyous, smooth, easy, and virtually pain free birth. No epidural necessary. I firmly believe this and have experienced it myself.

Preparing for birth, I indulged in positive, beautiful, and peaceful stories. I filled my mind with empowering birth photos and videos. I talked to my baby in the womb. I ate healthy, whole foods, stayed hydrated, practiced yoga and visualization of my birth. I never went to a traditional birthing class where they teach women how to breathe or whatever because I trusted that when the time came, my body would do what it needed to. And it did. You can read my birth story posted on my site.

Here’s something to consider: fear causes the body to tense up. Tension creates resistance. Resistance to experiences makes them painful. This is true on a mental and physical level. Know this deep down in your bones, and act accordingly. Learn the art of letting go. The wisdom is already there within you, and the most productive thing you can do in labor is surrender to the experience. Not only surrender, but embrace it. Love it wildly and let it take over your entire existence. Because, honestly, the birth of your baby doesn’t really concern you. It’s between your body, your baby, the earth and the cosmos. Witness them all come together in one mind blowing moment. Just witness.

My Birth Story

It was 10:30pm and Sean and I were lying in bed, watching some new Marvel series on Netflix when I felt a contraction coming on. Braxton Hicks. I’d been having them for a few days and they usually went away fairly quickly. This one was different, but we were a week from the due date so I didn’t believe it was happening already. I started breathing through it as I had with the others. This one lasted much longer and I felt like I needed to sit up to find some ease. It didn’t change the intensity. 
I made my way to our bathroom and emptied my bladder but when I stood up I kept leaking. I now know it was my water breaking but at the time I wasn’t so sure. Wasn’t it supposed to gush out? It kept trickling down my leg and I realized I simply couldn’t wear pants anymore. I put a towel on the ground in our bedroom and got on all fours. I remembered the midwives saying this position was a favorite for most women. I didn’t like it. By this time I had had three contractions, all lasting a minute and only two minutes apart. We called the midwives.

The toilet was my sanctuary. Once I found that seat (and I did very early on) I labored there the entire time, alone, with Sean just outside the door waiting in our bedroom. I needed the space and he picked up on that right away. He would come in occasionally to bring me ice and motherwort tea. He made me a calcium lactate drink which consisted of 40 crushed up pills with water and almond milk. It was disgusting but I was told to consume it when I went into labor as it would help with the pain. So I downed the entire thing and chased it with my tea.

Danielle and Rachel arrived around 1:30 in the morning and I was still sitting on the toilet breathing a deep yogic breath through every contraction. It was intense, but manageable. I felt very calm and confident. I knew that the best thing I could do was nothing at all. I trusted the wisdom of my body and of my baby and I let the two of them take over the situation. I was only witnessing, breathing into the experience and letting everything be as it were. It was yoga at its finest. 

Suddenly my body started pushing and I knew we must be getting close. Of course I couldn’t actually give birth sitting on the toilet so when I knew the time was coming I stood up. That’s when the pushing became very strong, and yet I still felt like I wasn’t trying. It was just happening. Sean, Rachel, and Danielle sat around me watching, waiting, holding space. I pushed hard for just over three minutes when Connor finally came out of me and into his daddy’s arms. It was 2:27am. I felt incredible, strong, beautiful. All five of us laid down in our bed, cracked open a couple dark beers and rejoiced. It was the most amazing experience of my life and I loved everything about it. 

I believe my birth experience, which was simple and intense and fast and joyous, can be the same experience for more and more women. Birth isn’t scary. Birth is beautiful. Birth is natural. Surrender to the breath and have confidence. When a woman is confident, she’s a force to be reckoned with.