Saturday, 7 July 2012

Walking the labyrinth

Today has been a waddling about kind of day. Having a really sore back forces you to be in the present, there's no dashing about or doing anything extraneous. In a weird way, and in spite of the pain, I am grateful to have had that kind of day today. Quietly padding. Sitting quietly. Thinking.

I've been listening to some mp3's sent to me as preparation for my Birthing from Within course in April.     I confess my mind is thoroughly blown!

Everything I though my role in birth should be is turned on its head - I have been so busy filling my head with knowledge that I missed a really crucial point. I know I have had the arrogance only a 'learned' person can have.

Honestly and truly my role is to help women however their birth unfolds, not to project a goal of the dream birth and try my damndest to make sure it happens just like that.  It's that simple. I need reminding of this every day..... and it will be a hard lesson to really truly internally learn this truth. It goes against conventional theories of learning - that part of me that is not a conventional learner or teacher will have to speak up louder against my traditional western educational mindset - that learners are empty vessels becoming filled up with knowledge slowly slowly with each new morsel of information. No - if anything I need to empty my cup, clear the space, sweep away all traces of what I think I know. On one level I have always known this and felt it, yet I persist in filling myself up with birthing wisdom from those who teach their own magic formulas for birth.. There are many truths, but they are harder to find, hard to realise, can take a lifetime to truly understand. No-one can write those truths for you. They are yours alone. I am a slow learner.

I finally get it. Truly!

My role, plain and simple, is to listen and really hear the birthing mamas fears, dreams, and where she is really at - moment-to-moment, throughout her pregnancy, at birth and beyond.

My role is not to be a heroine, saving the day, but rather to work in the present with that one particular mama helping her by ditching expectations, pre-judgements, and agendas other than going with the flow, as it flows, and giving her the space to be her most authentic self. She is the heroine of her own story.

My Doula name Go-with-the-flow is a mantra as much for myself as anything else. It's a reminder to surrender, for maybe it is here that lies true power and strength? I need to keep smashing up my own sense of rightness, of pre-judgement, of ego, of truth, of a singular concept of a perfect birth.

This evening I am struck by the realisation that no matter how many books I read, how I birthed my babies, how many videos I watch, how much information I try to pass on to mamas who will be in my care, I cannot birth that baby myself for them, I cannot influence or decide the outcome or change the fates that are written in the spheres. The universe will swirl and do what it wants. I guess we can either dance in step or out of step with it. I cannot take any credit or blame for how things unfold. I can only be there to help mama from my innermost highest self to hers. All I can do is be there fully and joyfully,  radiating love and helping set the scene for the magic to flow by way of acceptance and positivity.

I am remembering today with equal fondness the births of all my children and in my heart, my hospital birth with Finn was truly not as awful as it could have been. My instincts and love endured in spite of the bizarre surroundings. In spite of being drugged, I loved him fiercely, I bonded with him and recognised him in an instant, I was every bit a natural mama in that environment as I was with the others at home. He fed beautifully and I felt total connection, barely noticing the surroundings as I was really only there for about 18 hours in total. I was high as a kite on oxytocin and love. It was a shame that Pete couldn't be there for those few hours overnight - but maybe it helped me to truly bond with my baby boy - being thrown into that hospital environment together, with no other responsibilities or distractions?

Also, had I not had my hospital experience I perhaps wouldn't have appreciated my home births as much.

Perhaps if I hadn't felt like I had to fight to get the birth I wanted with my last baby boy Alf, it would never have led me to train as a Doula.

Perhaps we have the births that we and our babies need - emotionally and spiritually - even if at the time we think it sucked!

This is truly a journey of twists and turns, revelations, understanding, and misunderstanding. Learning and unlearning and learning anew. It's certainly a spiral with no way back - on and up, ever forwards!


  1. Ah yes, sometimes the greatest wisdom lies in forgetting everything you "know" and just going with the flow.

    Having had a lovely drug-free home birth with George, I then had a horribly traumatic hospital birth with Rafe. But in a way, it made it easier to bond with Rafe cos we'd been thru this horrible trauma together. And because of the complications, we ended up with a private room on the ward and just spent time in a cocoon together. Certainly not ideal but the time together gave us a great start. So, yeah, sometimes it's just about the surrendering.

    Keep writing your wise & beautiful posts my lovely xxx

  2. Sounds like you will be a wonderful birthing partner and are going in with no agenda other than to be the best support you can be in that moment. It is so true that just as there is no such thing as a perfect life, there is probably no such thing as the perfect birth - each experience being unique and of that moment and those people. Love your description of the spiral of life - onwards and upwards!

    I would have loved to have a homebirth (not really supported over here in Tasmania) but had 3 really lovely hospital births with minimal stay in hospital.

  3. Thank you both for sharing your own experiences with me, I appreciate hearing your truth X

  4. Pams course really shook up my views and intentions and I'm still learning from it 5 years on!