Birth is something you know. Can you imagine arriving at the age of 30, and having your body throwing you an entirely new experience - something without a reference point? It’s just not that nasty.
Birthing is a lot like lovemaking...and Buddhist teachings, for that matter. It involves surrender, letting go, release, acceptance, and total trust. It also involves passion and power, which, for some, can be overwhelming. For others, it can be a process of awakening, change and growth.
Yes, birth is like lovemaking - and the majority of people would think there was a world of difference between birthing sounds and lovemaking sounds. But there isn’t - they are both an expression of intense creative power. The only problem is that I’m so used to birthing sounds that I only categorize groans and moans as birthing sounds. This can get me into trouble. Oh, dear!
So, there I was - on a walk with my husband last summer. The heat was so thick that it hummed. All doors and windows were open to the still air. Walking past a house, I heard the sounds of a moaning, panting woman, “Oh, GOD! Oh, GOD!”
“Bob...I’ve got to go help her!”
“Sweetie, no - She needs no help.” Why does he have that smile?
“No, Bob, you don't understand. She sounds like she’s about 5-6 centimetres. Maybe they’re worried they won’t get to the hospital in time!” I was so anxious, I was ready to knock on the door.
“No, dear, she’s fine - let’s keep walking.”
Then silence in the heat...
She wasn’t in labour.
Thanks to my husband for being so wonderfully understanding and accepting of my focus on birth (sigh!).
Birthing and lovemaking are psychosexual processes. Most women aren't fearful of lovemaking, though the experience can be overwhelming both physically and emotionally. There's a loss of self, a letting-go, a transformation of the perception of space and time, and the knife-edge of pleasure and pain. The sounds we make are deep and open. However, if consent is not given the experience leads to pain, anger and emotional damage. For birth to be as open as consentual lovemaking, there needs to be consent given by the woman to her body. She needs to consent and surrender to this powerful psychosexual process. She needs to trust her body.
Birthing is truly something that we are prepared for on a cellular level. But our twenty-first century brains fight for supremacy over the reptile brain within us. We try to label and time and impose a structure on this force which is all about fluidity and stillness of mind. Yes, there will be a struggle within the mind and body, but eventually there needs to be acceptance and a surrendering to the body’s knowledge and power. The length of that struggle is what determines how easily we birth.
Now, of course, this is assuming that all is well physically, and the baby hasn’t decided that today he is going to try to come feet first, or elbows above the head, or sucking both thumbs. Yes, there’s the wild card baby at play. It’s not just about the mother. We have to trust that the baby is an active player here, pressing and wiggling the head against the mother’s muscles...pushing his feet against the top of the uterus. And we must trust that the baby will wave a big red flag if there’s trouble. Trust, acceptance and surrender are involved here. The baby is wise.
So, how to prepare for this wild ride? Live in the moment, look into your love’s eyes, experience passion together, trust each other, walk on the beach together, make noise, dance, read, sleep, trust your body, laugh, let your mind be still. And know that you will come out the other side a family.