| Cre­at­ing bet­ter birth

Many un­con­scious be­liefs are cre­ated at birth, so per­haps em­pow­er­ing women to man­age a nat­u­ral, nor­mal, and healthy labour might be an idea worth ex­plor­ing.

Living Now - - Editorial - by Ali­son Bur­ton

Per­haps em­pow­er­ing women to man­age a nat­u­ral, nor­mal, and healthy labour might be an idea worth ex­plor­ing.

CRE­AT­ING A WEL­COM­ING EN­VI­RON­MENT FOR BIRTH

Be­fore I be­came preg­nant for the first time I read a beau­ti­ful book called Child­birth With­out Vi­o­lence, by Fred­er­ick Le­boyer. It made me re­alise what birth must be like for a baby. Le­boyer rec­om­mends dim light­ing, soft sounds, and a warm, wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment for a baby's birth. He says that ba­bies are con­scious, sen­si­tive be­ings and when they emerge from the soft, safe pro­tec­tion of the womb they can eas­ily be trau­ma­tised by loud noises, bright lights, and rough han­dling. It made per­fect sense to me and when I be­came preg­nant with my first child I was deter­mined to give her a gen­tle, re­spect­ful birth. I dili­gently prac­tised my breath­ing tech­niques and my re­lax­ation. I was re­warded with an amaz­ingly quiet, gen­tle, safe, drug-free, nat­u­ral birth.

Michelle was born at the only birth cen­tre that ex­isted in Mel­bourne at the time. De­spite the fact that birth is a nor­mal, nat­u­ral, and healthy event, the hospi­tal had only two rooms ded­i­cated to nat­u­ral birth for low-risk mums. My hus­band was able to stay overnight and to­gether af­ter the birth we mar­velled at the exquisitely beau­ti­ful baby girl we had cre­ated. It would have bro­ken my heart for him to have to leave us and go home to an empty house, af­ter such a pro­foundly life chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

I can't say that my daugh­ter's birth was pain-free but I felt em­pow­ered and calm through­out the en­tire labour. I gave her a birth ex­pe­ri­ence that would help her feel that the world is a safe and wel­com­ing place. We had no for­ceps, drugs, bright lights, or loud noises. She was placed straight onto my bare belly and given time to ad­just to her new en­vi­ron­ment. It was the most amaz­ing, pre­cious, beau­ti­ful, and bond­ing time. My heart sinks when I talk with mum­sto-be who are scared of child­birth and just want drugs and a cae­sarean.

DO WE RE­MEM­BER OR BIRTH?

Since Michelle was born, I have learned that ba­bies do re­mem­ber birth. They don't re­mem­ber it con­sciously, it's an in­her­ent mem­ory. And, be­lieve it or not, ac­cord­ing to re­searcher Dr Michel Odent, how a baby feels at birth can set a pat­tern for life.

Un­con­scious be­liefs are cre­ated at birth about whether we are safe, whether we are lov­able, and whether we are wel­come, wanted, and be­long. Th­ese be­liefs can po­ten­tially de­ter­mine

our sense of se­cu­rity, self-es­teem, and suc­cess in life and re­la­tion­ships. Birth is so im­por­tant and be­ing well pre­pared is the key to giv­ing a mum the best pos­si­ble chance of hav­ing a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for her­self and her baby. Nat­u­ral birth should be our goal, with med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion hap­pen­ing only when it's re­ally needed. Stud­ies have ac­tu­ally shown that so­ci­eties with more peace­ful and nat­u­ral births are gen­er­ally less vi­o­lent. What if chang­ing birth could cre­ate a more peace­ful world?

With 30% of moth­ers be­ing trau­ma­tised by their birth ex­pe­ri­ence and 10% ex­pe­ri­enc­ing PTSD, em­pow­er­ing women to man­age a nat­u­ral, nor­mal, and healthy birth might just be an idea worth ex­plor­ing. n

Con­nect with other read­ers & com­ment on this ar­ti­cle at www.liv­ing­now.com.au

Ali­son Bur­ton is one of Mel­bourne’s lead­ing hyp­nother­a­pists and owner of Sim­ply Nat­u­ral Child­birth in Don­caster East. Ali­son is fas­ci­nated by the mind-body con­nec­tion and is ded­i­cated to bring­ing com­mon sense back to health care.

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