During pregnancy I lived by the sea. I swam daily, admiring the beautiful crystal clear green waves. During childbirth I became the ocean.
In labour it seemed there were only two choices, surrender to huge waves and trust that my baby would come to shore with me, or be consumed by fear.
Alongside a tremendous amount of fear with the help of an experienced midwife I gave birth to my daughter at home in a birthing pool.
It was monumental and magical beyond belief.
Birth set me on my path.
Birth became my teacher.
In 2007 I became a Doula and in 2014 a registered Midwife. Soon after graduating I moved to New Zealand to avoid the horrors of medicalized birth in Australia.
I know in every cell of my body that healthy women can birth naturally given respect, support and an environment they feel safe to let go in. If we are free of fear labour can flow brilliantly.
As a student midwife I experienced a record number of normal births. I was guided by something bigger than myself especially when things got intense. I found deep stillness and calm within many medical dramas, where my point of intention was connection with and protection of the mother and baby.
Moving to New Zealand at the end of 2014 I thought my career as a midwife was set to go.
I was in for a surprise.
Although I tried to convince myself, I was not aligned with clinical midwifery within the medical birthing model. Reluctantly I followed inner guidance and surrendered the career I worked hard to attain.
Surprisingly, in its place a new path opened up.
I began listening to women’s birth stories and helping women heal from unexpected and disappointing outcomes of childbirth. This act transformed their lives (and mine too).
A woman’s birth story takes me straight to her soul. I discovered that within her birthing experience there is deep medicine for her life on planet earth. Nobody taught me this, I didn’t study trauma healing. Like attending women in labour I sat and listened and listened to hundreds and hundreds of birth stories.
There is much you can do to protect yourself and your baby from unnecessary birth trauma.
You must have a voice, you have to be fierce. I don’t mean aggressive, I mean fierce the way a mother lioness is fierce.
If you are pregnant for the first time or planning your next birth after a disappointing experience here are my top 7 tips to prevent unnecessary birth trauma.
1. Reclaim your Body
If you conceived and grew your baby you can birth it too.
Be discerning about what you read. Just because a pregnancy book is on the shelf at the book store doesn’t make it good for you. Read true birth classics such as “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” by Dr. Sarah Buckley, “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin and “Birth Goddess” by Katrina Zaslavsky.
You don’t need your thinking brain for birth.
You need deeper wisdom, your instinct. Although we have been socialized this still exists within us.
Surrender your mind, sink back inside your softness, melt back in with your womb, go with your body. Your body, like the moon and the ocean has her own flow, her own timing and her own divine rhythm.
Women in a coma can birth a baby. Your body knows what to do if you can give her a chance to do it.
You’ll need a safe space to birth, one where you can tune into yourself and let go. You need privacy and to be undisturbed. A good midwife knows how to support a woman in labour without interrupting her. It’s a fine art, being there but not getting in her way.
Remember that your baby doesn’t come out of your head.
He or she comes out of your body.
So come back to your body. Go offline. Unplug and switch off from social media in pregnancy. Tune into your body. Tune into the earth. Get yourself onto the grass or by the sea or into nature.
Walk in the park, dance, swim, sway and rock. Pregnancy is a time to just be. Yes, you can just be sometimes. Enter into the realm of the Feminine, with nothing to do, but enjoy being in a pregnant body. You are like a glowing and radiant full moon. A Goddess.
Take care in pregnancy. Protect your baby and yourself. Protect your energy. Stay away from negative people.
Do what makes you feel alive, free and happy in your body.
Garden. Breathe. Make love. Rest.
Feed yourself delicious food.
Be in your body.
You are made for this.
You can do this.
You got this.
Nourish your body.
2. Reclaim your Sexual Power
The energy within you that got the baby in will get the baby out. Your sexual power is key. Let it flow, let it open you. Let it heal you. Let it wash right through you.
Labour goes in waves. It can start slowly and build up or it can just be there full on and cranking.
If you are uninhibited and open to your waves of sexual energy and flowing it through your body you can open and surrender to the waves of labour with ease.
Let each wave expand your pelvis and your consciousness. Let each breathe take you further inside the ocean of bliss within you. Let sex and birth expand you, not frighten you.
Breathe. Seek support from someone you love and trust.
You’re not lost, you’re just going wide and wild, stretching further than you ever have before allowing something new to come through you. Hop out of your own way, let the ocean come through you. Let your child be born. Open.
Pleasure yourself in pregnancy. Massage your breasts, your belly and your Yoni (your vagina) and your perineum (space between vagina and anus). Get to know your Yoniverse.
Experience your growing sexual energy. Flow it through you, share it with your partner if you have one and enjoy it.
Heal sexual blocks and traumas.
Free your heart.
Circle your pelvis.
Make love, even if you’re the only one there.
Open your mouth.
Make a sound… Aaaahhhhhh!!!!
Open your arms and legs, stretch out.
Open your voice.
Open your heart.
Open your soul, a new one is coming to earth through you.
Reclaim your sexual power.
Take up space.
This is your time.
You open and close the space.
Thou art Goddess.
3. Reclaim your Primal Voice
Be like wildlife, make animal sounds. Let your energy flow freely through you with sounds. Get down on all fours and sound. You can do this through pregnancy when you get stressed and in labour too.
Let it be easy.
Howl to the Moon.
Purr like a cat.
Grunt like a pig.
Moo like a cow.
Meow like a kitten.
Scream like a banshee.
Moan like a sex Goddess.
Release Sound. Deep sounds.
Express the sounds of your womb, your yoni, your hips and your thighs.
Let it out.
Sounding will help you release stagnant energy and take up space for yourself in pregnancy and birth.
Birth is not a time to be small and cute and play dead. You will be challenged at times on many levels and you can breathe and sound though it.
You can do it.
Practice having a voice in pregnancy, not just the voice of your head, include the deeper voice, the voice of your bones and your womb and your blood.
The voice of ancient feminine wisdom.
You’ve got this.
Your body. Your baby. Your birth.
Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Become comfortable with saying both yes and know and don’t betray yourself. Ask for what you want and say no to what you don’t.
You will be tested. During pregnancy and birth you will be offered things you may not want so practice with your body yes and your body no.
You know what you want.
You know what you don’t want.
Trust your belly.
Trust your wisdom.
You’ve got this.
Have a voice.
4. Release your Fears
Fear is the enemy of birth. What we resist persists. Fears don’t go away, they wait. Face them and they disappear.
Sit down and write all your fears about giving birth down on a blank piece of paper.
I am afraid of…
write your fears here… i.e. hospitals, tearing, exhaustion, blood loss, male doctors… whatever your fears are.
Look at each one. Face it. See it for what it is. Look it in the eye. When you are ready you are going to release all the energy of this fear from inside you.
Write each fear on a separate piece of paper.
Create a safe space for this ritual, such as a fireplace or an enclosed fire pit outside.
Burn each piece of paper one by one.
Ask yourself, have I let go? What do I still need to let go of?
You may need more support with this from a midwife, birth healing coach or counsellor.
When this is complete and you feel ready return to your writing tools.
Affirm what you want instead.
Energize your new beliefs.
Bring it to life. Paint it. Write it. Speak it. Dance it.
Drop the drama. Energize what you want instead.
Write positive affirmations.
Stick them up in your house where you can see them.
Alternatively you can also… dance or paint out your fears.
Do hypno birthing.
Fear holds us back in labour and in life.
Release your fears.
Get them out, out out!
Release your fears.
5. Hire support people you trust in every cell of your body
If something feels off with your care provider, investigate your feelings. Too often women tell me they didn’t really like their doctor, midwife or doula. It’s too late after your birth to fix this problem. Pregnancy is the time for choosing care providers very very carefully.
It is important that you like, love and trust your chosen care provider with every cell in your body.
Birth is intimate. You gotta feel right about your support team.
It is important you like them. You are going to have a baby with this person.
Think about your main care provider for the birth of your child and answer the following questions as honestly as you can.
Do you feel respected?
Do you feel safe?
Can you be yourself?
Do you feel heard?
Do you feel comfortable with the idea of going wild and getting naked with them?
Do you trust them in every cell of your body?
If not, move on.
Trust yourself. Trust your baby. Trust the process. Trust your Midwife. Trust your Doula. Trust Birth. Trust Life. Trust. You can do this.
When labour begins, there’s nothing left to do. Let go and enjoy it. Let labour wash through you and take you to the motherland.
Move with it.
Swim with it.