MY BIRTH STORIES
Although I'm originally from the UK, I lived in Barcelona for more than 25 years. I gave birth to my three children in Barcelona, at home, accompanied by midwives and my partner.
My first labour was long and painful, much more so than I had expected, and there were many moments when I doubted if I could keep going. Finally, after all those long hours, my son was born and the pain disappeared. Later, I reflected on this labour, so filled with love and pain. I had felt so well prepared, but hadn't really understood how to prepare. I realised that, despite all the antenatal classes I'd been to, no one had mentioned that my mind would play a big role. I had been tense during all those hours, waiting for the pain, and then fighting against it. I had a strong intuition that labour didn't need to be that hard and that there was another, easier, way to give birth.
A year later, I became pregnant with my second son. That intuition led me to learn more about labour and pain. I started reading everything I could about the physiology of labor, the role of hormones (especially oxytocin and adrenaline), and the causes and effects of fear. I remember feeling excited that I had finally understood what birth was really about. Two months before giving birth, I found Hypnobirthing. It was less well known then, and there were no practitioners in Barcelona so I bought the book and CD and practised every day at home. I learned to put my fears aside and completely trust the birth process and my own body. I practised relaxation techniques and with time was able to quickly enter a state of deep relaxation. Despite the pain I had felt in my first labour, I started to really look forward to this birth. And, when it finally came, it was a transformative experience. My body was relaxed, and my mind was calm and happy. Instead of fighting my own body, I was able to let the uterine waves flow, without fear and without tension. And instead of the intense pain of my first labour, the sensations were now just of an enormous pressure - and although tremendously powerful, it wasn't pain. My son arrived after 12 hours of labour, calm and unrushed.
I was amazed at the power of my experience, and the fact that this was something so few women had heard about. Why did we only hear negative birth stories? I felt the desire and need to share this logical information and my own experience with other women and their partners. Following my son's birth, I took the training to be a Hypnobirthing practitioner.
Four years later, my daughter was born. It was nighttime, and her labour lasted only five hours. And those uterine waves, which had been strong in her brother's delivery, were now even more powerful. But where there's no fear, there's no tension, and so I was able to accompany that tremendous pressure without entering a futile fight against it. My daughter's birth was certainly powerful, but again free from pain or suffering.
My experiences in birth led to me to practise and train in mindfulness, and I bring this to the classes in the form of reflections and practices. It feel gives me immense joy to be able to share my knowledge and experiences to help women tap into their innate birthing wisdom and see them re-gain confidence in their own bodies.
”It is important to keep in mind that our bodies must work pretty well, or there wouldn't be so many humans on the planet."
Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth