Pregnancy and Birth are a pivotal, sacred and profound time for mother and baby. This time should be supported and nurtured – preparing for the vast journey of motherhood. It is a time when mother and baby foundations are created, continued and challenged.
Nesting an environment of love and welfare with gentle conscious self-reflection and connection supporting natural rhythms and cycles is optimal in creating a connected, healthy and safe transition to welcome your baby into your world.
Birth and motherhood hold a profound opportunity for self-empowerment and growth. The opportunity to touch and imbibe a divine aspect of Mother Nature that is pure, sacred and richly connected with Mother Earth’s depths of wisdom, nurturing and healing. Once you hold this in your being it is immovable, secure and tangible.
This is my journey to realizing and knowing this truth.
Over 20 years ago I started my path into the vast world of healthcare. I began my medical studies after high school: with high aspirations of “helping people heal”. However I soon became disillusioned with the teachings and paradigms taught at medical school, I became involved in a then young world of natural, traditional and holistic approaches to healing our bodies and minds.
I took some time away from my studies to find the answers to my yearning questions. I wanted to go deeper….I wanted to understand what causes disease beyond the physical matter of bodies and chemicals, the connection between mind and emotion, disease and healing. I was looking deeper and deeper to an ultimate cause. And I came across an ancient practical spirituality which satisfied my personal hunger and my healing questions. So I stayed, studied, traveled, taught and lived that world completely for 7 years.
Then my dormant desire for healing rose and re-ignited. With an absolute but unexplainable conviction I returned to my medical studies. And for years continued in a world which felt in so many ways – wrong, harsh, missing the point but fascinating, real and dynamic. My holistic interest remained true and a friend and I created the “Complimentary medicine society” at medical school. Hosting talks and exposures to alternate, natural and holistic healing for medical students and staff.
By my third year medicine I was married, in love and happily pregnant.
Not knowing how this was going to swerve my natural medical approaches yet again! I had little practical training in birth at this point but I had unquestionable faith that I wanted to birth at home and not go near a hospital for my pregnancy and birth (though I spent my pregnant days walking the horizontal and vertical of Groote Schuur Hospital studying).
Birthing in a hospital seemed alien and scary to me, and certainly not an option. I learned more about creating the fourth stage of labour as calm, quiet, dimlit and serene for the baby to adjust to the new and big world outside. I knew that birth was about the parents meeting and welcoming the baby into the world.
I had a private midwife and 6 weeks after my final term exams I had a serene, undisturbed, life-changing home birth during one winter night in our small suburban flat.
And that was another turning point.
I had tasted conscious birth.
I had felt one with the organic pulse of Mother Nature at her most rawest, intense, purest self.
I did not have time to set the scene as I had read and liked in books. We quickly remembered to put on the gentle music before Lochan arrived, but the candles and scents remained packed away!
This is how it went. I was 39 weeks and 3 days and crying that I would be pregnant forever. Literally crying. I remember having a tiff with my husband and getting into bed at about 10pm. Then I felt a very distinct “Doof! Doof”. Two kicks. And my water broke. Yes! Lochan has decided it was now time and when he decides….well…so he came….
I sent a text to my midwife – believing that my labour could start anytime between now and 24 hours. My contractions started after about 10 minutes but I still decided it was not really labour and I lay down to “sleep”.
Actually I spent the first 3 hours of my labour in denial as I tried to sleep in between contractions. My midwife called at about 2am as I got up because I had started shaking too much. I couldn’t speak to her so my husband did and I was now up and really in labour!
Actually looking back – I know now that my sympathetic system was kicking in and my adrenalin pounding. Making me feel alert, awake, get up and shake uncontrollably. That can be a sign of approaching the pushing stage!
I got in the bath but the hot water mysteriously stopped. Sitting on the toilet was very comfortable. I tried walking back to the room – it was really hard. And my husband told me to not be so noisy. Did he really say that?
When Marianne came I was very relieved and could relax far more. She didn’t have to do much to realise where the head was and we soon got ready to push.
My husband and I were connected, and we were able to support myself as my body continued her rhythmical surges. Powered by something far more grandiose than ever before encountered and surrendering to Her unavoidable spirit of relentless power as nature weaved as nature does.
In that quiet and faithful surrender the most exquisite jewel revealed itself. A jewel of trust. A jewel of faith. And in that trust and faith, in a supreme well-wishing maternal power was a sense of empowerment that comes with being connected to a divine source.
After quite a bit of painful pushing sitting in a supported squat between my husband’s legs –
Lochan was born as headstrong and present as he still is.
And afterwards we snuggled into my bed, as my husband served the best breakfast I have ever tasted in my life!
I felt like I had connected with something so sacred and sublime. I felt like I had gone through a passageway to motherhood shared by all mothers across species. I felt one with an organic pulse of inherent nature, healing and truth.
That was how it began…. THIS WAS IT! OH My God ….Women species…! What a gift we have!
And my future days in the medical institution revealed how this was being stolen away from our Sister Mothers. I needed to change this awareness.
After Lochan’s birth I began to devour the research, articles, experts and information finding a giant world supporting and explaining why gentle conscious birth forms an important part of creating peaceful communities one birth at a time.
So much explaining why the time of pregnancy and birth are so neuro-chemically and psycho-developmentally important for the growing baby and for the parental bond and relationship. As well as how a gentle conscious birth is physiologically designed for an inherently safe, pain relieved and physiologically beneficial experience for physical and mental welfare of mother and child.
My medical studies continued it’s self-laid way to graduation, internship and community service. But not without my nagging doubts about my path, still becoming clearer only gradually to me – why indeed I needed to go THIS way, but with the conviction that I did need to.
And now a knowing of a most essential, wonderful ingredient available to all as a lovely start to life and parenting. The realization and conviction of this knowledge came with challenges as I studied and practiced in a medical, high turnover, often high risk environment, with doctors unaware of the jewels pregnancy and birth hold.
In a positive view I have grown to appreciate the role of medical intervention when it is properly indicated. With a more complete view of medicine, I still appreciate supporting and empowering women in pregnancy and birth as an essential part of primary health care. It is prevention at its primal roots. As every person starts off being a fetus and then born.
Creating a supportive, loving and healthy pregnancy and birth (no matter the mode of delivery) have huge imprints on the developing baby and the beginnings of the mother baby relationship, which continue long lasting affects (physical and mental) as the baby grows into a child, and adult. And the cycle continues.
There is abundant research now supporting the essential affects of pregnancy, birth and parenting on individuals and communities. The fields include psychological, anthropological, physical, neuro-chemical, developmental, emotional and historical! It is fascinating, wide-spread and very real. The more effort and education we can surmount to allow an awareness and a practice of gentle and conscious pregnancy, birth and parenting the more we can spread a culture of love, empathy and awareness.
And that is why in this world we are all Birthing Earthlings…touching Mother Nature’s Divine Love as her energy surges through us – whether we know it or not. It is there to grasp and hold and celebrate.