[...] When I entered the room I felt magnetised by her gaze. The familiar gaze of a woman who walked in between worlds, to birth herself as a mother and birth her baby. A gaze only able to be captured in those precious moments during and after birth; its is not just joy, nor just wander, surprise nor just love… ITS BIRTH which includes all.
This is how the cord looks when the placenta has delivered all the valuable blood it has to give to the baby. This picture was taken about 4 hours after birth. The baby took her time to adjust to her new 'out of the womb' environment; she didn't take the breast straight away, she did not cry at all, just made the most adorable baby sounds and actually fell asleep whiles still on her mum's chest, before she slowly started to explore the breast.
🕔 5:45 am
I received the call that I was anticipating for awhile... ’My waters broke’, said the woman.
‘I can still speak normally and the surges are manageable’. We agreed to call again in 30 minutes. I was still in bed, but my mind was already awake, going through the facts; ‘second baby, the waters broke, which will probably speed things up, I have to drive for more than an hour to get there, she is alone … I had a strong feeling that I should start getting ready to leave the house as soon as possible.
🕔 7:45 am
I was 1 min away from the house when she called me saying ‘She is here, my baby is here!'
When I entered the room I felt magnetised by her gaze. The familiar gaze of a woman who walked in between worlds, to birth herself as a mother and birth her baby. A gaze only able to be captured in those precious moments during and after birth; its is not just joy nor just wander, surprise nor just love… IT IS BIRTH, which includes it all.
Through her gaze I felt her raw, unapologetic, yet soft essence. She was ‘striped off’ from social restrains or any ideas how birth supposed to look like.
She was sitting naked on the floor, leaning against a sofa dressed with ‘signs of birth’, holding her newborn in her arms. The room felt like a temple in which a mystery took place. The floor, wet from poo, blood, amniotic liquid - ‘fluids’ that define our human-ness… An ‘undomesticated’ chaos that has become rare in our civilised, shameful view towards the animal nature of the human species… I prepared a space for her to sit and slowly helped her to get up; she looked at me and said’;
’It’s all about letting your body do it ha? if you let the body, the body just does it by itself’
This was her second birth, she decided to follow her call to give birth in Cyprus so she travelled with her 4-year old daughter, who slept all the way through the birth, hypnotised by the deep surrendered sounds of her birthing mama.
When she woke up the little girl said; ‘Mum, I want you to have another baby as I didn’t get to see you giving birth! How is it giving birth?’
‘It was intense’ said the woman.
‘What do you mean intense? I wouldn’t know cause I wasn’t there!’ said the girl, demonstrating her annoyance, which was quite cute and entertaining.
‘It was intense because your BODY JUST DOES IT and it feels a bit ‘weird’ and unfamiliar, but actually when you LET GO you realise that being able to birth has been there all along’, said the woman.
‘It sounds like you had an easy birth, that you were able to surrender and get out of the way’ I noted…
‘Yes, it went quite fast, it didn’t give me time to think or question; there were only a few moments when I thought ‘this is actually happening and I AM ALONE’.
Would she have been able to 'let go' and surrender so deeply if I was there? Though physically impossible, a part of me wished I was there before the baby was born so I could be there to practically support her. However I deeply know that this is the way this birth had to happen, for reasons I could only speculate on…
Birth is teaching me to ‘dance with the unpredictability of life’. If I ‘zoom in’ to seemingly unpredictable happenings, I can see the interconnectedness of EVERY SINGLE CHOICE.
When I get a call in the middle of the night or early in the morning, whenever a baby decides to come, I have no idea how long it will take, how it will happen, what events will follow in-between that call and the time of birth. I just know ‘I am going there to be of service to this mystery’ and I stay until there is a felt 'closure'.
The BIRTH-zone exists within time yet, with different PERCEPTION of time. From a physiological perspective the cocktail of birth hormones invites a woman into an ecstatic, trance-like state; that is if she is left undisturbed so that her body can actually produce those hormones without being hindered by ‘environmental factors’.
Being a doula, I find myself in the extraordinary position of deeply getting to know the inner world of a woman, her deepest desires and fears before, through and out of the ‘rite of passage’ of BIRTH .
With that, I become more sensitive to what could ‘take the woman out’ of this state. ‘Travelling’ with her in this space is a deeply intimate experience; I am there to help her sustain and redirect her FOCUS when I see her losing track.
This ‘Shamanic state’ is not only what allows birth to happen but is also where all the gifts of birth are gifted and the woman is born into a deeper version of a ‘mother’.
Such powerful birth heals the neurological imprint of previous birth experience(s). With that, a woman regains access to the INNATE WISDOM of her body and INNER POWER. This ripples into multiple layers of her psyche, expression and experience of her female nature in society.
The 'FREEBIRTH' movement is rising worldwide, yet what is a freebirth and how did we arrive at this point? The answer I would give is that nature always perpetuates towards BALANCE. When something becomes 'neurotic', one-sided then a movement towards, what seams to be, the 'extreme' of the opposite polarity happens. The disempowering medicalisation of Birth and the disconnection from this natural process is what 'gave birth' to this movement. A lot of women come to me for support after having experienced a 'traumatic' previous birth, which leaves them in total fear of the medical environment.
While supporting this woman during her pregnancy, I found myself holding a newfound position; What about going to the doctor once again before the birth? What about checking if the baby has turned? I knew this was going to be an unassisted birth - without any medical professional being present... I contemplated on this feeling before I shared it with the woman; am I afraid? Is this my intuition?
After our conversation, a deeper safety and trust was established between us. I understood that the 'let's see' attitude was her general way of being and did not have to do with 'avoiding' something. In this case I was playing the 'devil's advocate', opening a possibility for reflecting on the ground-ness of her choice.
In my work I have to put aside my personal preference and REALLY BE TEHRE FOR THE WOMAN'S own choices. I have to be totally transparent and share my thoughts, feelings and intuitive messages, even though it's not always easy!
I AM NOT AFRAID OF BIRTH - this is something I keep facing as there is A LOT OF COLLECTIVE FEAR around birth. Though there is a difference between fear & danger; when in fear we cannot really feel danger and one can end up making choices only to 'minimise the risk'. Yet what is a real risk and what are the consequences of NOT TAKING IT?
For some women it is not necessary to have an ultrasound to check the position of the baby or they don't need a doppler to feel the baby during birth as they have developed such deep awareness and connection to their body and baby that the 'unseen' becomes 'seen' and the unknown becomes a knowing. For others this is a no go!
I DO NOT ADVOCATE AGAINST MEDICINE ! I advocate for INTEGRITY.
It is not about where a woman will choose to give birth and who she will choose to be with her; it is about CHOOSING a space where she is able to experience the full spectrum of the gifts that the journey of birth has to offer. It is about HER being in the righteous space of the birthing scene - the CENTER. Trying to 'help' instinctual processes such as birth we actually INHIBIT them. This is where doing less is more!
When she chooses me as part of her journey, I know that there is much more in that choice than what I can see in the moment; a synergetic mystery that teaches us all to TRUST & SURRENDER to that which moves us ‘behind the scenes’. A force that highlights any points where we try to take on the CONTROL or anything that we hold onto and INVITES us to REMEMBER the mystery behind existence. This is un embodied practice that I choose to live, breath and share in the 'Embodied Birthing' course with women I work with. And in this, I am also a student, receiving a big gift from every single woman’s unique TRANSMISSION.
If you are curious about how you can work with me as a Doula and Birth coach you can contact me to arrange a free discovery call.
This is a picture of the cord burning ceremony taken by the mum. She chose to burn the cord instead of cutting it in order to separate the placenta from the baby.