As a Childbirth Educator and Doula Trainer it’s essential for me to be aware of all the current statistics and evidence on birth practices…
- 60% increase in caesarean rate in Australian in last 20 years
- 70% reduction in Oxytocin (Pictocin) use in labour when you have a Doula by your side
- 1 in every 8 breech babies will turn during pregnancy with use of moxibustion
- 4 out of 5 studies found that women who had waterbirths had a better chance of birthing with an intact perineum
- 96% of babies born in Australia are breastfed at birth, reducing to 39% at 3 months old and 15% at 5 months
The list goes on… and on…
I am enormously grateful to the professionals, who are dedicated to researching and compiling these statistics, providing the evidence on birthing practices. Without them we would have little foundation on which to make positive changes for birthing women.
Every pregnant woman who wishes to have a conscious and empowered birth must understand how to navigate between all this valuable evidence and the place in her heart where she can trust her own feelings and draw strength from her inner knowing.
In these days of high technology and medically managed birth, where so often women’s intuition is not validated, how can we learn to make the ‘18 inch leap of faith’ from the head to the heart?
As a Pre-natal Yoga Teacher, pregnant with my second child I made the choice not to undergo any ultra-sounds scans, feeling the intrusion of this procedure was counter-intuitive to the deep connection I experienced with my baby in the womb during meditation.
However, this decision was tested when, at around 20 weeks, a sudden wave of fear began to grow inside. I have no idea where the fear came from, it took me by surprise and I began to question my trust in my body and in my baby. My midwife was very supportive and she sat with me as I explored again the benefits (and negatives) of having an ultra-sound at this stage. She did not influence me one way or the other, just calmly let me explore my own feelings.
I had also developed a trusting relationship with my massage therapist. A few days later, during a relaxing massage I had a profoundly enlightening and heart opening experience…
I began to share my fear with her, she quietly placed her hands on my belly, my baby began to respond with gentle kicks… suddenly the room was filled with Angels, as if the baby’s soul family of Light Beings had come to reassure me. I cried tears of relief, as I felt my heart centre expanding and their unconditional love pouring in, filling me with confidence and healing light.
The trust in my heart, my body and my baby was restored and I was able to relax into the rest of my pregnancy. Giving birth to my beautiful, healthy daughter at home in the water, into the loving hands of her father.
As a Sacred Birth Educator and Doula Trainer one of my roles is to encourage a woman to trust her heart more, to find the balance between knowing the facts and trusting her intuition. It’s inspiring to support a pregnant mother who is prepared to do the inner work and explore her deepest fears around pregnancy and birth. Creating the space for this exploration in a safe and supported environment is essential, just as the birthing mother needs to feel safe and supported in her labour.
Working together with a variety of tools – meditation, relaxation, visualisation, counselling, healing – we can identify negative patterns which create blocks in the process of trusting in herself. Then look at ways of releasing these old patterns to create the space for new and healthy ways of being, as the spiritual bond is strengthened between mother and child.
For Doulas the process is similar, in the Sacred Birth Doula Training we investigate negative patterns and explore the student’s own fears and beliefs around birth which may hold them back from being fully present, calm and grounded in the birthing environment. The greatest growth and learning is to trust their intuition and follow their heart, backed up by all the evidence-based knowledge, to support their clients in trusting their own choices.
A simple exercise in Trusting your Heart –
Think of an issue that is causing you concern right now, close your eyes and visualise the person or situation. Now bring you awareness into your heart centre, right in the middle of your chest. You may wish to visualise a flower bud sitting here. Let your breath flow into this space and ask yourself “What is the most loving response I can have to this person/situation right now?”
Become quiet and ‘listen’ for guidance. Once you are aware of the ‘guidance’ which may also come as a feeling, a colour or a symbol in your heart space. Take some relaxing breaths and allow your heart centre to gently open (like a flower bud, slowly unfolding), if you are pregnant imagine the breath flowing down and gently soothing your baby in the womb. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.
For example, when I reflect on a difficult issue with a friend, the words I ‘hear’ are “Be in your Truth”. This doesn’t tell me what to do or not to do, but it does make me realise that I have been taking on some of the stress and fear my friend is feeling. I have been trying to respond from here, rather than being honest about my feelings.
Many times, as a Doula, I have been called to respond with love and not react with fear. Listening to the wisdom of my heart, taking a breath, becoming still and centred, allowing me to hold this calm and present space for the birthing couple to connect with their own power and trust the process of giving birth to their baby.
Anna Watts is the founder of Celebration of Birth Doula Academy., a Sacred Birth Educator, Doula Trainer, Counsellor and Spiritual Healer. The Academy offers Sacred Birth Doula and Post-natal Doula trainings for both new and experienced doulas to explore birth as a journey of transformation and healing. The online Chakra Birthing Wisdom programme is a self-paced journey through the chakras and their relationship with pregnancy and birth.