I have recently started n two new training courses and after a year off from work, I have come back with a slightly different vision for Nature and Nurture . Last year I had to face something I dreaded, had to deal with many situations that were very trying and truly devastating. And although I was taken far out of my comfort zone and was very fearful, it has shown me the strength I have within.
I have come through it knowing that I want to return to working with pregnant women, as well as working with them and their babies in the postpartum period. So it seemed no surprise when two courses came to my notice that fitted perfectly with what I envisaged and also what I had worked through last year.
Having trained to teach antenatal classes, that covered aspects such as movement for labour and birth, breathing, knowledge of how the body works through labour and birth and relaxation; I always felt there was something missing.
With the birth of my first son, I feel because I hadn’t worked very much on truly releasing my fears – in respect of actually giving them a voice, facing them and working through them or understanding why I held these fears; it had a big impact on that birth becming something of a trauma. I wasn’t totally prepared for where the journey might take me, I had prepared merely for my ideal birth and as I lived through that not happening I felt disempowered, frightened, exasperated, weak and angry. And it took me a few years to come to terms with it. Although out of it came a healthy, living baby boy it was not a positive experience.
During my second pregnancy I held a new ideal of what I wanted and at 20 weeks gestation this was shattered. I faced all my worst fears. I had to prepare myself for a birth that was furthest from my dream it could possibly be. I had to dig deep within to come to terms with this. During the journey I had to learn how to ‘own a birth’ that could well became disempowering, frightening and with what could only be described as a disastrous ending – my baby being whisked away minutes after birth.
There are still issues with this birth, still moments that leave me feeling angry. But what surprised me is that amongst this anger, the overpowering feeling is of a feeling of power, strength, of woman-ness.
Having had to face the worst and look inside to find the strength to face my fears and be able to cope I have seen that it is important for a woman to come to know her own emotional strength. It is not necessarily knowing how your cervix dilates, or the stages of labour, even how to breathe . What is important is for a woman to find and to know that she has the strength, emotionally and physically to travel along whichever path her birth takes her.
Birth cannot be planned, but birth can be prepared for. The best way to be prepared is to learn about the deep feelings, fears, thoughts, beliefs you hold within about yourself, mothering and birthing. And then realise how these can influence the way you approach birth and how these feelings, fears, thoughts and beliefs can be given a voice, worked through and released.
The best ways to learn about these deep feelings is to work with your more intuitive, less critical side of the brain. This can be best achieved through relaxation, meditation and creative processes. We live in a fast paced, analytical society so it is not always easy to access this alone. Especially as many people are led to believe they are not creative. If we can let go of the fear of being judged for our creative work and see it more as a way of accessing our feelings it becomes easier. Once we are able to use creativity to access our right brain it becomes easier to allow this side to take control when it is most needed. Which for the case of a pregnant woman is during labour and birth.