Many unconscious beliefs are created at birth, so perhaps empowering women to manage a normal, healthy, and natural birth might be an idea worth exploring.
Creating a welcoming environment for birth
Before I became pregnant for the first time I read a beautiful book called Childbirth Without Violence, by Frederick Leboyer. It made me realise what birth must be like for a baby. Leboyer recommends dim lighting, soft sounds, and a warm, welcoming environment for a baby’s birth. He says that babies are conscious, sensitive beings and when they emerge from the soft, safe protection of the womb they can easily be traumatised by loud noises, bright lights, and rough handling. It made perfect sense to me and when I became pregnant with my first child I was determined to give her a gentle, respectful birth. I diligently practised my breathing techniques and my relaxation. I was rewarded with an amazingly quiet, gentle, safe, drug-free, natural birth.
Michelle was born at the only birth centre that existed in Melbourne at the time. Despite the fact that birth is a normal, natural, and healthy event, the hospital had only two rooms dedicated to natural birth for low-risk mums. My husband was able to stay overnight and together after the birth we marvelled at the exquisitely beautiful baby girl we had created. It would have broken my heart for him to have to leave us and go home to an empty house, after such a profoundly life changing experience.
I can’t say that my daughter’s birth was pain-free but I felt empowered and calm throughout the entire labour. I gave her a birth experience that would help her feel that the world is a safe and welcoming place. We had no forceps, drugs, bright lights, or loud noises. She was placed straight onto my bare belly and given time to adjust to her new environment. It was the most amazing, precious, beautiful, and bonding time. My heart sinks when I talk with mums-to-be who are scared of childbirth and just want drugs and a caesarean.
Do we remember our birth?
Since Michelle was born, I have learned that babies do remember birth. They don’t remember it consciously, it’s an inherent memory. And, believe it or not, according to researcher Dr Michel Odent, how a baby feels at birth can set a pattern for life.
Unconscious beliefs are created at birth about whether we are safe, whether we are lovable, and whether we are welcome, wanted, and belong. These beliefs can potentially determine our sense of security, self-esteem, and success in life and relationships. Birth is so important and being well prepared is the key to giving a mum the best possible chance of having a positive experience for herself and her baby. Natural birth should be our goal, with medical intervention happening only when it’s really needed. Studies have actually shown that societies with more peaceful and natural births are generally less violent. What if changing birth could create a more peaceful world?
With 30% of mothers being traumatised by their birth experience and 10% experiencing PTSD, empowering women to manage a natural, normal, and healthy birth might just be an idea worth exploring.
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