Yoouuccaannddooitit without thinking
You might think you have one brain, and you’re right, but it has three major areas: the neocortex, the limbic brain, and the cerebellum. in modern life, the bit you use most is your neocortex – this is the ‘thinking’ bit, that decides who to vote for on
Strictly and what to have for tea. in labour, you don’t need this bit at all. You need to let your consciousness drop down into the ‘monkey’ bit of your brain, the limbic part, which is more of an emotional, sensory and altogether more ‘feely’ place. As birth guru ina May Gaskin says, monkeys don’t think about how dilated they are or how their bottom is looking from a certain angle. they just go for it. And you can do just the same.
Birth is extremely safe
‘to begin with, i thought birth had to happen in hospital, that it would be painful, and that i’d want all the drugs. then i discovered hypnobirthing, which taught me that i was made to do this, and i had a beautiful home water birth.’ Jodie White, 30, from Somerset, is mum to Willow, 16 months
It’s normal to feel a little afraid during labour, especially if it’s your first time, but it’s important to keep a sense of perspective. In our privileged Western society, birth has never been safer. Birth is designed to work well in the majority of cases, otherwise we can be sure there wouldn’t be so many humans on the planet! Most of us are now very well-fed, healthy and strong, and midwives and medics understand how labour works and what to do if it doesn’t. And this great combination of strong women doing what we’re built to do, with the safety net of medical back-up, makes birth in our culture very, safe. very
‘Knowing the facts helps. And a birthplan is brilliant even if your birth doesn’t go to plan. it helped in my emergency caesarean, as my wishes were listened to, which helped me take ownership of my birth.’ Liz Sharkey, 41, from Leeds, is mum to Josiah, two