Bringing Your Whole Self Into the Birth Experience
As a doula, I am all about preparing prenatally for the birth experience. I work with many families who take extensive childbirth classes. These families are thoroughly prepared for birth and baby care. However, I find that some prenatal classes ignore a huge component of the birth experience.
At birth, you bring the entire suitcase of your soul into your experience. Regardless of your religious beliefs, birth is a spiritual event. If you haven’t unpacked the suitcase and big emotions prior to birth, then you’re going to bring them into your birth.
Unpacking the Suitcase
Firstly, I work with my clients prenatally to discuss fears and emotions before birth. I believe this is important in removing blocks and obstacles in the process. Fear creates tension. Tension creates resistance and pain. Pain is a normal part of birth. But, suffering is hard on the soul.
Secondly, I work with my clients to address each fear and concern about the birth process. We come up with a plan to gain knowledge, understanding, and address any emotional blocks that may arise in birth. It may not be possible to erase all concerns, but opening the suitcase is a good place to start.
Lastly, I encourage birthing families to express the full range of emotions that come up during birth. Birth is a marathon. We are often coached to stuff our emotions away. We are told that expressing the feelings is akin to losing control. I beg to differ. If you don’t deal with the emotions that come up in birth, then they control you. I listen, hold a hand, wipe tears, and ask what you are thinking.
Strategies in Pregnancy: Bringing Your Whole Self Into the Birth Experience
There are many ways in which you can address the big emotions and fears you may have packed in your birth bag. Lastly, here are some simple suggestions:
- Work with a therapist that specializes in pregnancy & perinatal mood disorders. They can help you explore your personal concerns. Anxiety and depression in pregnancy is a risk factor for postpartum mood disorders. If you find resources ahead of time, then you are better prepared for postpartum. Also, therapists may be able to connect you with other local resources.
- Explore bodywork. I have seen many mothers enter the birth experience with incredible tension in their soft tissues from past trauma. Massage, chiropractic care, or craniosacral therapy can explore this tension to reduce resistance in birth. Tension creates resistance. Resistance creates pain. Also, pain affects endurance for birth.
- Get real. Ask yourself the hard questions. Start a journal or brainstorm all of your possible fears and concerns. Be honest and don’t try to stuff it away. Lastly, share your concerns with your provider or doula.