30th October (Due Date): Fear and birth

If there is one emotion that it is so important to be conscious of during birthing that is fear as the fear response causes physiological reactions in the body that are in complete contrast to a smooth and easy birth. An easy labour requires the release of oxytocin (the ‘love’ hormone released when hugged, held, touched, during sex…). This aids the process of surges (contractions) and the opening of the cervix. When fear is experienced the body goes into fight/flight response and hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released which immediately causes the body to clamp down and stop labour in order to be able to fight or escape. What a difficult balancing act, as it is of course normal to feel anxiety around birth despite it being a very natural act of the body…

During my last pregnancy I prepared using the Hypnobirthing preparation course during which I learned to use relaxation and hypnosis to get my body into a learned relaxed state so that by the time labour started this relaxed state could be easily accessed. I also read Robyn Sheldon’s book – The Mama Bamba Way which explains a great deal about natural birth, consciousness and relaxation and has some lovely meditations for pregnancy and birth.

I chose to have a home birth with an independent midwife and the process was very long (56 hour labour in total). I was using my relaxation methods fairly successfully for the first 8/9 hours and then found out that I had only dilated 2cm. I was gutted as it was tiring and sore. I immediately went into a negative place and wondered how I was ever going to get through this. My surges were extremely erratic and I could not settle and feel calm again. I was certainly not allowing for a smooth labour process. Being conscious of this I sat with the fear and decided to simply accept and acknowledge it and to accept and acknowledge the process as it was versus evaluating it as good or bad.

I also began to use spiralling – a process I had heard about in which the hips are spiralled (like when using a hoola hoop!) during each surge and the energy of each surge is allowed to flow through the body. Our bodies are absolutely amazing – that energy is incredible and very strong and the power of the surges can be very frightening so it is easy to want to resist them and shut down. When using the energy of the surges and spiralling my hips through the birthing process I found I could be with the surges and not resist them, and felt once again empowered and able to continue!

It still took a long time but I was able to accept that I was just dilating slowly. The baby was fine and this was simply how I was birthing. My baby girl was born in a birth pool at home with a fire and candles burning, soft music playing and my animals all gathered close at hand to be part of the lovely energy. It was incredibly peaceful and beautiful and I felt so deeply empowered!

Unfortunately, possibly due to the long labour and my level of exhaustion, I was unable to deliver the placenta and began to haemorrhage which meant I had to be transferred to the hospital where I had a D&C to remove the placenta, as well as a blood transfusion. In the process I was separated from my daughter as I was placed in ICU and she was not allowed to stay with me. My beautiful homebirth experience had taken a turn I was not prepared for and one that I spent the first year having to work through on both an emotional and physical level.

So that brings me to round #2 and naturally I have now had some fear. It has been very interesting to be conscious of this fear. I have worked through my last birthing experience in therapy and through TRE and BodyTalk, yet about a month and half ago I developed a urinary tract infection. While very common in pregnancy, even after the infection had cleared up the symptoms persisted for over two weeks.

In BodyTalk the consciousness of the urinary tract is fear (as well as release, resentment/anger and a number of other aspects). I sat with the symptoms knowing my body was trying to tell me that something was out of balance and through meditation, BodyTalk and a little acupuncture I began a process of releasing a lot of the fear (and anger) I was still carrying that was linked to my last experience. Interestingly, in Louise Hay’s book “You can Heal Your Life” she states that probable causes of bladder problems are anxiety; holding on to old ideas; fear of letting go and being ‘pissed off’. She recommends a new thought pattern/affirmation of “I comfortably and easily release the old and welcome the new in my life. I am safe”.

It was just so appropriate and so relevant and then, ta da, my bladder issues resolved themselves. I am so grateful for the feedback my body gave me and I am so grateful for awareness, consciousness and tools I have because I was able to release so much and gain so much all at once!

Last night I experienced false labour and really thought the game was on and yes, there was fear but I was also able to hold that fear and step into a part of me that is feminine, flowing and so in touch with nature and its processes. At the same time I became aware of the controlling and doing part of me (which I am also grateful for as it serves me well when needed). I very consciously imagined this part of me stepping aside and letting go and trusting the process. I am well aware my need to control comes from the fear and an illusion that if I can be in control then I can prevent bad things from happening….but it is just that – an illusion.

So I am in that balancing act….at times the fear is there and at other times I am in the flow and I trust. I am OK with this. I am human and I have anxieties and fears. However, I also know that I have ways to be with the fear and to manage how I choose to be with the birth. So as I wait with some degree of excitement, some degree of anticipation and a little wish that I could just know when it is all going to start…. I am ready!

 

“Do what I say and not what I do”: 5 Benefits of being a conscious parent

Conscious parenting is about being aware of who we are, why we respond and feel as we do and making conscious choices about how we wish to be with our children. It is about awareness and understanding of ourselves and our children and trying as best as possible to use that to inform our parenting choices and actions. Conscious parenting is not easy (well let’s face it – parenting in general is not easy!) but can be so beneficial for both ourselves and our children. Here are five reasons why:

  • Our children learn by example and are highly conscious of our emotional responses in particular

The old saying “Do as I say and not as I do” is in fact laughable because, as you have no doubt noticed if you have toddlers  who love to mirror our worst characteristics for us, children watch and model all that we do.

From the moment of birth children observe everything and become increasingly attuned to us as they gauge our reactions and watch how we respond in order to learn how to survive in their environment. We are their role-models and they learn about themselves, the world and others through what we say, yes, but mostly through how we are in the world and around other people. Our actions speak far more loudly for them than our words.

If you tell your child that the world is safe place but you prevent your child from fully living life in a variety of ways because of your own fears then your child will develop a belief system that the world is unsafe and he/she must be careful at all times. This belief system becomes a deeply unconscious core belief which will continue to inform his/her behaviour, choices and feelings for many years to come.

Most importantly our children learn to watch for our emotional responses. When these are incongruent with our words our emotions are the ones our children believe because emotions are far more powerful in how they impact our behaviour and reactions to our children. Ultimately our children want to be sure to be safe and secure and to keep mom/dad/caregiver happy (because children really believe they can). This is NOT to say you have to be happy all the times but it can be very beneficial to be aware of your emotions and their impact on your child so you can explain them to your child and help him/her to know it is still safe.

  • It all starts here:

Consciousness begins in utero. In the BodyTalk work I do we work with active memory (i.e. memories that hold an emotional charge and can still impact behaviour and emotions versus a neutral memory). It is not unusual in my work with clients for unconscious active memories/beliefs to come up from time in utero, such as parents’ fears around finances or a child being unwanted. In addition these are often corroborated by their parents and/or make a lot of sense given the circumstances at the time.

Studies have shown prenatal awareness of voices and music while in utero and there was a case shared by David Chamberlain where a fetus repeatedly batted away the needle while the mom was undergoing amniocentesis.

In many ways newborns are instinctive and primal as they seek to have their needs met. Yet, at the same time they are already forming their perceptions of their environment as nurturing or rejecting, safe or not and, of course, as caregivers we are the environment and their whole world.

  • Our children are our mirrors

Our children have an amazing gift for us and that is to act as our mirrors. All too often when your child is acting out it is because of something that is going on in their immediate environment that they do not know how to work through or process and, all too often, that means it involves YOU.

If you are aware of this then your child’s emotions and behaviour can be a sign to you to look at yourself and the environment you share with your child to see what could be causing the response you observe. It is an opportunity to reflect and make changes and, very often, an opportunity to learn about yourself, especially if you notice repetition in your responses and your child’s responses.

A simple example is how a baby will often settle far easier if you are settled. When you are not fully present and are unsettled in any way it can often result in baby being niggly and fussy. This can be a gentle reminder to look at yourself and what you may be bringing to that situation.

  • Become more of the parent you choose to be versus the parent you find yourself being

Being conscious enables us to take responsibility for our behaviours and reactions. How often do we respond in certain ways while observing ourselves doing this and thinking, “why am I always like this?” When we are conscious of why we react as we do (which all too often links back to our own inner child experiences that we hold and which unconsciously trigger us!) we can choose to be different. We can choose to look at our own ‘stuff’ to work through it and prevent it from unconsciously shaping the parents we end up being. However, to make shifts in who we are being we first have to be conscious of who we are being and then choose to step into our power to choose to be different.

  • Conscious parenting is so empowering and real

Being conscious enables us to live creatively rather than reactively –  it enables us to take responsibility for who we are being and how we parent so that we feel we are truly doing the best we can versus feeling unsettled, anxious and confused about why we react or feel as we do.

Conscious parenting allows us to be real. Let me stress here – the fact that our children are so conscious does NOT mean we have to therefore be perfect in order to make sure they are healthy and happy. To the contrary, being conscious enables us to be authentic and to be real and to show your child that it is OK to be angry and sad and that they are still safe and so are we. When we are conscious we acknowledge our feelings, manage our feelings are OK with them which shows our children that they too can have these feelings and be real!