Why relaxing through your labour benefits body *and* soul
So. I read this amazing blog at the beginning of this year, and told all and sundry about it. Then I got involved in all sorts of other bits and pieces and somehow managed to lose the link. This evening, as I prepare for tomorrow nights #thewisehippo session I've happened upon it again. Hooray! And what a find it is!
I'll start with a caveat, which is that every woman experiences her labour uniquely and in her own way - which is as it should be, and as pretty much every event in our experience is. HOWEVER, my anecdotal conversations with mothers (of which I've had many, many, many!) tells me that much of what Dr Nancy says is recognised by lots of women who report a positive, or 'Good' birth. And I LOVE what she says about 'letting go', about 'getting out of the way' of her baby. It just resonates entirely with what we teach - your body and your baby know how to birth, just as they know how to digest food, poo, wee and snog your partner. For so many women it's fear implanted by cultural representations of birth, and by the fact it's so removed from our lives, that makes them anxious about labouring. Which in turn means they can't be confident enough to step aside and let their body do all it's good doings, the pinnacle of thousands of evolution. In fact, as Dr Nancy says;
"We have been taught that contractions are a negative feeling and to expect them to be painful. This expectation leads us to tensing our body and resisting the sensation because we are afraid to feel the pain. This resistance is what creates pain"
And I also LOVE her suggestion for using the sensation of your surges to prepare, manage and relax through them. In #thewisehippo we use the 'Waves of Relaxation' to breathe through surges, because the sensation is indeed reflective of the parabola shape of a wave. So you can use that building sensation of intensity usefully;
"The lead up to the full intensity of the contraction gives us the opportunity to have that initial reaction and to let go of it before the intensity builds. If we are successful in letting go of that tension, letting the sensation take over without reacting to it, we will be relaxed as the intensity of the contraction passes over us. The key is letting it wash over you and accepting the sensation instead of trying to control it. When you are relaxed through the peak of the contraction the sensation is manageable."
So, here's the link to the full article - don't just read the highlights I've noted here, it really is worth a read over a cuppa.