Why no baby yet?
Imagine, you’ve finished up work at 36 weeks, you’ve had a few weeks of nesting and preparing the house and the nursery, you’ve read all the right books, gone to your exercise classes, you understand the mechanics and stages of labour and birth but for some reason you’ve entered the waiting game. You wait & wait and then you wait some more, 40 weeks comes and goes, the pressure and expectation from yourself, family members and care providers builds daily, everything is ready, or so it would appear, so why no baby?
Old Wife’s Tales?
There are many theories on the subject of what it is that triggers labour, but do we ever really know? Whilst there are definitely nuggets of wisdom and truth your doula or midwife can offer; such as “surrendering and trusting in the process of birth” and “letting go of control”. And of course ‘natural inductions’ like eating spicy food, having sex, acupuncture, nipple stimulation (yep I did say that), perineal massage and one of my favourite’s watching funny films (laughing produces oxytocin – the love hormone!).
Yet it’s still a beautiful mystery as to whether it’s more the chemical symphony of hormones that gets the body rocking into labour? Or the mind being strong enough to override our unconscious thought patterns and processes?
I think more often than not a combination can be a very helpful cocktail in bringing on labour. If all other possible barriers have been cleared, and there are no complications then I recommend all the above to my own clients. Staying relaxed and stress-free is incredibly important as you want the levels of oxytocin to build in the body, so try and avoid feeling pressured, either self-imposed or from an outside source, as this will create the stress hormone adrenaline to counteracts the production of oxytocin.
So how might you do that when you feel the countdown is on? Is there something else? Something we are missing in the above equation? What about some of those indescribable feelings, you can’t quite put your finger on, is it fear? Pure excitement? Or is it some sort of pre-mother anxiety creating expectations your not sure you can live up to?
Beliefs and Stories – The Birthing Soup
We all have a set of unique beliefs about the world, about birth, how and when it ‘should’ happen, who “should” be present, how long it ‘should’ take… you get the picture. It takes you a lifetime of accumulating stories and ideas before you end up formulating your beliefs around birth and parenting and, of course, this is a continuous work in progress.
Birth beliefs (stories we have collected) start at a very early age when we hear our parents re-tell our own birth story. What did you hear about your birth? Was it every woman’s dream birth that your own mother experienced when you entered the world or was your birth fraught with high drama and trauma?
There are also the cultural stories that we hear, media generated stories, the urban or community stories that are told or interpreted by friends or other family members as they are passed along in daily conversation with little regard for the impact it has on the listener. All these stories are very powerful and become deeply rooted in the psyche.
Many of these deeply rooted beliefs aren’t necessarily conscious, they are stored in the birth library of the brain for recall if needed. You could think of them like the ingredients of a birth belief soup, that’s slowly simmering just beneath the surface of a pregnant woman’s mind, ready and waiting to be tasted or explored during gestation, labour and birth.
The Mammalian Brain – the missing equation?
Discovering some of these hidden ingredients can be so valuable in the mental and emotional preparation of birth, perhaps the missing piece of the equation? So how do you go about bringing the unconscious birth soup to the conscious mind?
We’re talking about exploring parts of the mind that aren’t linear or logical, the realm of the forebrain, that part of the brain that sets us apart and defines us as human. The part of the brain that, to be honest, goes on vacation when birthing.
We want to access the mammalian brain, the animalistic part that takes over when a woman gives birth and leads us into our intuitive creative realms. We can access this very interesting unconscious realm of the mind when we engage in activities that require that mammalian part of the brain to engage, it’s really that simple and doesn’t require thinking but doing.
Birthing from Within
A large part of the Birthing From Within™ childbirth preparation classes are based on this understanding. As a mentor, I want you to have access to and discover for yourself YOUR own intuition or inner knowing. This is what makes Birthing From Within™ classes different from other childbirth classes.
We BFW mentor’s don’t just teach you a bunch of information about birth, what to do, how to plan, or what we think you ‘should know’ Instead we guide you through creative processes that help you to access your inner resources and knowing. Inner knowing is after all as unique and as individual as a fingerprint, remember we have all collected different birth stories along the individual paths that have led us to this point in life.
Are you yearning to explore the hidden realms of your own psyche, or feeling called to strengthen and trust your intuition? Then I invite you to come and try either privately or in a group setting some of the processes that Birthing From Within™ has to offer. The group classes are very interactive, fun and are facilitated in a sacred environment so that you feel safe to explore in the presence of other like-minded parents.
For information on the next Birthing From Within™ intensive weekend workshop Jump over to the childbirth preparation page