Trust birth. I hear this a lot in birth circles on Facebook. It is the credo of a certain school of midwifery and the entire basis of the upcoming Trust Birth Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. As someone who has given birth twice, I get it. And as someone who supports expectant Mamas, Papas and birth professionals, what I see is that a lot of people don’t get it. They don’t trust birth. They don’t trust women, and they don’t trust babies. There is a lot of fear in our culture of birth here in the US, where we are steeped in the belief that the hospital is the best place to give birth. This fear is nothing new, it’s ancient really, going back hundreds of years when midwifery was taken out of the hands of women by male doctors, man-midwives, accoucheurs who ‘knew better’. Book trained versus having hands-on experience, these barber-surgeons, as Tina Cassidy states in her book “Birth, The Surprising History of How We Are Born” began intervening in ways that involved forceps, vacuum suction of the baby and of course, cesareans, and therefore “midwifery and obstetrics split along gender and philosophical lines.”
The other day, I was in the shower, where I often receive my best ideas, and I was pondering slowing down in labor and I realized that our entire culture of birth rushes birth. We induce women for all kinds of reasons, many unnecessary in my humble opinion. If a birth isn’t progressing fast enough in someone’s opinion, then we administer pitocin, or ‘pit’ as nurses and doctors call it, a synthetic form of oxytocin, the love hormone, which causes incredibly fast and painful contractions which make labor far more difficult and urgent than it possibly already had been. Our entire culture works against the whole notion of trusting birth, trusting the time that it takes for a baby to be born, and when we look back at the history of birth, we can see why.
In the book Orgasmic Birth, by Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro, we gain a look at the critical link between oxytocin and brain waves “that are even deeper and more synchronous than alpha. When not altered by Pitocin or other interventions, the brain waves of laboring women are in theta frequency. This is the deepest level we can experience in a waking state. (We move into delta with sleep.) Theta is associated with extrasensory perception, creative inspiration, and spontaneous problem solving. In theta, time becomes relative and elastic.”
A birth attendant, be they a doula, a nurse, a husband or a doctor has the inherent and explicit responsibility of being sensitive to a laboring Mama’s frequency, her deep inner journey, and to work with it and not against it. As Orgasmic Birth goes on to state, if there is fear in the mother or her attendants during labor, “the doors to ecstasy close and pain increases.”
I highly recommend that all expectant Mamas and Papas read Orgasmic Birth. The authors, a practicing midwife and doula with over 50 years of experience combined, fully trust birth, state the physiological benefits of slowing down in pregnancy and birth and how true respect of birth and women can lead to a greater experience of pleasure and fulfillment and event ecstasy! What a revelation!
In order to experience pleasure in birth, education is the key, for our ‘expectation of birth alters our experience of birth’ as I’ve heard Dr. Christiane Northrup say. And as I like to say, we women are powerful beyond measure and birth is one of the greatest experiences we are given in a lifetime to understand our power. May you learn all that you need to in order to fully stand in your power, trust birth, trust your body and trust the life force that is the birthing energy as you and indeed, is your brand new baby on it’s way to greet you.