How do you know you’re ready to give birth?
When you surrender.
A wise midwife taught me: Every woman, when preparing for birth, goes through some type of catharsis. She saw it as natures way of preparing the woman for the ultimate surrender – childbirth.
I recognised these moments in my own heavily pregnant frustrations.
My midwife was checking the positioning of baby number three, and she couldn’t feel where his head was in my pelvis. After two previous breech babies (babies presenting bottom first, rather than head first), I was so desperate to have a ‘head down’ baby this time. I then hear the words “I’m sorry Tracey, I’m no longer sure he is head down.” Maybe it was the shape of my uterus or my destiny to have upside down babies. I was not happy. I just wanted things to be normal this time.
I went for a walk up a hill not far from my home. I had a big rage at life. I cried, I got angry and then eventually I got tired. I walked back home. I sat in the backyard with the sun streaming down over my pregnant belly and started to look at a beautiful book full of pictures of babies and pregnant women. I looked at their healthy smiling faces, and then the truth hit me.
It doesn’t matter.
I closed me eyes, and said to my baby, “darling, if you want to come backwards, sideways, front ways – that’s ok with me. I will take you anyway you want to come. We are so excited to meet you.” I surrendered to the inevitable mystery. The great unknown of life.
He did end up coming head first, a new experience for me and one I will always treasure. The experience of surrender served me well.
Another mother I worked with had a history of poor health as a child which lead her to be in hospital when she was very young. This left her with a fear of needles and hospitals, and now she was pregnant. She walked into my training room visibly shaking, just thinking about childbirth was enough to send her into tears and shaking all through her body. She did Calmbirth with me, and I also became her doula. I watched the magic of Calmbirth transform her feelings from fear to excitement, and she was doing her practices everyday.
As she got closer to her due date, her baby was also presenting breech. She tried countless things to turn the baby with no success. With her model of care, her only option was to have a caesarean. So here she was, needing to face her biggest fear of needles and hospitals. I watched her initial disappointment, the tears, the frustration and even the anger at needing to face her biggest fears. I then watched her let go, accept, and even welcome back the feelings of excitement she had about meeting her new baby. She transformed all this into birth readiness.
I watched her with hands on hips talking to her anaesthetist and negotiating how she wanted things done. She insisted on me being there with her to receive the king of all needles, the epidural. She negotiated to have both me and her husband at the birth. I held her during her epidural and she was as solid as a rock. She surrendered, and she was ready for anything.
Childbirth really is the ultimate surrender, and mother nature’s blueprint in preparing us for the bigger job of parenting and being ready for this baby.
So, my advice is simple. Cry, rage, get frustrated if you need to – and then – let go! It will serve you well for parenting.