Let me begin by saying, I am a man. I have only experienced birth as an intimate spectator. Our daughter came into the world in our living room, by design, with our wonderful midwife. I have the utmost respect for women and the choices they have to make involving the health and welfare of themselves and their child’s life, and I intend no disrespect in anything I say in this column. These are simply comments and observations based on my experience as an assistant and observer.
Birth is never easy. But it is natural.
Hospitals tend to make us think it’s a medical condition. When it comes to the treatment of a pregnant woman at a hospital, you would think she had a 50/50 chance of making it through the process. We seem to forget that birth is natural and more specifically something that nature intended for humanity. If birth was an unsuccessful activity that always required surgical intervention, the worlds first surgeon would have never been born.
Birth is a beautiful process involving transition from one state to another. Going from a state of Union to a state of duality. One becomes two.
There are several lessons I learned from the birth of our daughter almost 3 years ago. As we prepare to bring a second new life into the world shortly, after the new year, these lessons are coming to the forefront of my mind once more.
1) Stay calm and remember to breath. Breathing is critical to flowing with the process.
The ocean doesn’t create a beach by throwing itself at a wall of rock one time. It slowly and rhythmically works at the rock wall over many years. Breaking the rocks down bit by bit until the rocks become a fine sandy beach. So too, patience and gentle rhythmic breathing enables the dramatic transformation of birth. If you hold your breath and try to force transition, something will rip, rupture or generally become damaged. You must allow for your body to leverage the flow of the process to enable new life to emerge.
2) Birth cannot be forced, it cannot be rushed, and it cannot be slowed down.
We have drugs to speed things up, we have drugs to slow things down and we have surgery to rush it… But if you intend to stay with the process and allow nature to take it’s course, then you must let go. Be with the birthing process.
3) It’s okay to hire a coach.
Major transitions such as birth are dramatic and powerful. They can also be scary and daunting. It’s okay and even encouraged to find someone experienced at the process and engage their help in the transition.
4) Your work isn’t over after the birth is complete.
We love births! We love having a new life to wonder over and to see the world through fresh eyes. But for a parent, birth is merely a transition state. After the birth, your work isn’t over. Nurturing this newborn is a lifetime practice.
Embrace the work ahead and remember lesson number 1, stay calm and breath.
As I enter several transitions of my own. I find myself pondering the birthing process and trying to learn from it.
When transitions come, I tend to hold my breath, waiting for the next moment to come. This only makes me nervous, anxious, and increases the risk of something rupturing.
Breathe through it.
When transitions come, I tend to want them to get over with. I see the change coming. I want to hurry it up. Get this over with, so I can get on with my life. The change is more powerful if it takes its time and comes naturally. Also, the change is your life. It is not a side station to wait at, the process of change is life in action.
Don’t force it, don’t rush it, it will be here exactly when it is intended to arrive.
When transitions come, I tend to close my eyes and hope I won’t be too alarmed when I open them again. The nature of these transitions is change. Change that occurs needs nurturing after its occurance. For lasting change in your life, you must nurture the result of that change, it will not sustain itself.
Be with the changes in your life. Sit with them, work with them. Allow for the transition. And remember to nurture the results so they grow into healthy changes that can have a positive impact on your world.