I have had numerous witnesses over the past 30+ years that women have everything they need to birth a baby without intervention or interference! Our bodies were perfectly created to birth our young! In fact, that’s the only reason we have a uterus! Each month a woman’s body cycles with innate hormonal fluctuations that we have no conscious control of. As long as we are in good health, the uterine lining “rolls out the red carpet” to receive a fertilized ovum. If fertilization does not take place…then the “beautiful red carpet” is sloughed off and the process begins anew. Childbirth is THE normal, natural, physiologic function of the uterine muscles. They were created for this purpose. And, as with any muscle group, when one muscle (of a paired muscle group) is working, the other muscle should be relaxing. It is so with all paired muscle groups in our body. When the biceps are working, the triceps are relaxing…when the quads are working the hamstings are relaxing, etc. This is the case with the longitudinal muscles and the circular muscles of the uterus. When the longitudinal muscles are working or contracting…the circular muscles are relaxing and being drawn up around baby’s head. When a mother is relaxing, melting, and letting go during a contraction, the uterine muscle group works in complete harmony and she can birth her baby in calm and comfort and with confidence. Conversely, when a laboring mother is fearful of the process, fearful of the unknown, or anxious…she enters what we “lovingly” refer to as the “fight or flight” response (and I will add “freeze” here as well) and then the paired muscles work in opposition…longitudinal muscles contracting AGAINST the constricted circular muscles because it is simply not safe to let baby out under the current or present circumstances. The ensuing result of muscles working in opposition is pain! The longitudinal muscles contract, shorten, flex to “draw up” the circular muscles…and the circular muscles constrict and tighten and clamp down to safeguard the fruit of the womb.
The medical model for birthing was designed to “rescue” a mother from the pain experienced in childbirth when a mother is in “fight or flight or freeze”. She may actually want or need this rescuing. But, with education, a deeper understanding of the physiology involved in birthing and a trust in the birthing body and in her creation, a calm, relaxed, anticipatory laboring mother will not produce catecholamines (stressor hormones) and thus the “fight or flight” response is prevented. When we add a tool bag of relaxation techniques, coupled with practice, mothers birth their babies calmly, gently, more comfortably, and confidently…and all those abilities are taken right into parenting! She then parents more calmly, gently, comfortably, and confidently! And because parenting is largely “on-the-job-training”, the relaxation practice she did in preparing for birth is also incorporated into her parenting style. Each day is a new day…and thank goodness children are resilient and give us opportunities for growth. We get to start over with our “practice session” every single day! If I blow it one day with my teens, I now know that they will provide me with every ample opportunity in the days ahead to practice and sharpen my parenting skills as well as my “letting go” skills! Laboring mothers must “relax”, “melt away”, “let go”, “yield”, “submit”, “surrender” to their birthing body to bring forth children. And when they are surrounded by a loving and supportive and protective quiet environment and birthing team, they do this so very well.
My role as a childbirth educator and HypnoBirthing Practitioner is to educate mothers, fathers, and families on the natural physiology of birth as well as educating them on relaxation techniques, visualizations, hypnotic deepening techniques and answering her questions while also providing emotional and physical support to help build her confidence and trust in her birthing body is something I take very seriously. As a doula, I offer to provide one on one labor support for the couple in facilitating her letting go and letting her uterine muscles fulfill their normal, natural, physiologic function. I make special effort to involved the baby’s father and guide them in working together to bring this baby into the world and, in so doing, the relationship is strengthened and they work together better in raising the child. Childbirth is meant to be the culmination of love making. The pinnacle. The best part! And the same cocktail of hormones involved in love making is the very same cocktail of hormones involved in childbirth. Facilitating relaxation, safety and security and honoring mother’s birthing preferences as well as keeping the birthing environment calm and quiet and protected allows the natural cocktail of hormones to flow uninterrupted and allows mother to birth well and confidently. When a mother has a say in how her birthing plays out and the birthing staff honor her special requests and do all they can to create her desired outcome, she will be pleased with her experience and look forward with anticipation for another opportunity as this.
It so matters how women give birth! It literally changes who we are, how we mother, and how we parent. Birth is a celebration of life! And, when women can birth confidently with calm and comfort…and actually direct how their birthing plays out…they are confident mothers and can better handle the demands of childrearing. God really has given us everything we need to birth our babies gently, calmly and more comfortably! It’s all about love! We came together in love to conceive a baby and we come together in love and work together to welcome this little one into the world! May you experience great anticipation for your birth and find great joy in bringing these little ones into the world. Enjoy your happiness! You have prepared well! And you have everything you need to birth your baby just the way you desire.