Our little one is growing so fast!! It's hard to believe we're going into our third trimester this week!
As the belly grows bigger, the questions become more frequent. From friends and strangers... people I meet out and about:
“Are you afraid of giving birth?”
My honest reply: “No”
Although, a few months ago, I would have had a very different answer.
The truth is, the more I learn about the human body and the natural process of birth, the more excited I become.
Is it going to be intense? Of course. We are talking about delivering a human being here.
But what I've learned from interviewing women who've had easy, even blissful/orgasmic births, is that if you can fully let go of the fear around it, it can be pleasurable.
A woman's body was designed to give birth. And the majority of the time she doesn't require any medical intervention. In fact, the chemicals released in the brain are not only pain-relieving but are the same chemicals released when a woman has an orgasm.
So most of the pain women experience comes from resistance to what's happening, to the intensity of it all.
Fear and tension actually prevent the uterus from opening which, in turn, forces the muscles to work against each other and causes more pain.
When the baby is ready to make his way into the world, he sends a flood of hormones to the mother which signals the start of the birth process. Even this process has been highjacked by the medical community.
Most women in hospitals are given Pitosin to induce or accelerate labor, as if there's a time limit on how long you or your baby should take.
Yes, after the water breaks, you have a shorter window of time (24 hours) but often the water doesn't break until later in the process. And in hospitals, it's considered normal to break the woman's water for her.
All of this goes against nature. Then they offer pain killers that numb the muscles a woman needs need to push her baby out. It's no wonder so many babies are pulled out with vacuums and forceps.
Our minds and our births have been completely highjacked by a system who's primary interest is getting us in-and-out of the hospital as fast as possible and women comply simply out of fear. They trust the doctors, they just want to be safe.
When my husband and I first started talking about having kids, he asked me if I was open to having a natural birth. At the time, I really wasn't sure and had never even thought about delivering outside a hospital. But the more I learned, the less confidence I had in the medical system and the more confidence I had in myself.
Sometime in the first few weeks of my pregnancy (before we even knew), we went on a meditation retreat where I had the most vivid experience of my own birth. I didn't just remember it, I re-lived it. I could feel the forceps pulling me out of my cozy womb and into the world.
I realized that in that moment, I subconsciously decided the world was unsafe... And the deep-seeded belief that I wasn't strong enough to birth began.
The experience was so vivid and profound that I had to excuse myself from the temple to be alone for a while. Josiah came out shortly after to check on me and as we sat together under the star speckled sky, I confessed that giving birth was the one thing I was the most afraid of in my life.
He held space for me as I cried and released.
Little did we know (on a conscious level) that I was actually pregnant at the time.
It seems the subconscious mind was helping to prepare me and clear out any residual fears living inside me.
And then the most interesting thing happened... The fear went away.
Not 100%. That took some time and research, but something inside me shifted that night.
Now, when people share their birth/horror stories or the trauma their friends went through, I politely remind them that it doesn't have to be like that. Sometimes I stop them from sharing all together.
After all, what we believe and what we let into our conscious/sub-conscious mind creates our experience of reality.
Am I being naive to think it can be painless? Maybe.
But I'd rather be naive and optimistic than fearful and pessimistic... especially when I know the hormones of fear literally block, slow and prevent the birth process from unfolding naturally.
We've been taking Bradley Method classes (husband-coached childbirth) with the amazing Rachel Harris for anyone who wants to dive deeper and learn more... I've also been reading the Hypnobirthing book which is amazing!
You can trust your body. You can trust your body to get pregnant (most of the time - if you have an irregular cycle like I did, I'd love to offer my advice on that). And you can trust your body to birth a baby.
It's a meditation. It requires a deep surrender, a full allowing, a death of the old self.
It's a full-on initiation.
I just wish more women would take their power back and learn what they can before going to the hospital to give birth.
The preparation for natural birth takes a lot more time and will require you to calm that anxious little ego. It will require meditation (20-60 min/day), daily affirmations and visualizations, strengthening your pelvic floor (300 squats/day), stretching, moving, walking... the body has to be strong as well as the mind.
Is this too much for most women to commit to? Maybe. And I totally get it. I don't have a 9-5... I live a different life.
But is it worth at least trying? I believe it is. There are so many ways to go about natural birthing - home birth, water birth, birthing centers... and often times insurance will cover these methods as well.
The rate of c-sections in hospitals is up to almost 30% and this just isn't necessary (the majority of the time). It's the interruption of the normal birth process that creates this kind of "need".
We don't need bright hospital lights and constant monitoring. We need dim lights, peaceful music or silence and very little interruption. If you look at animals, they know how to birth their babies without the help of a doctor. Without medication or an IV drip.
We are the same.
We have just forgotten our power somewhere along the lines when the medical world took over.