Birth As Meditation
Birth as meditation asks: have we sat with fear and not run off to fix it, or to ignore it, or given it to someone else… have we gone within to discover? Have we sat with ourselves and with pleasure for these very same purposes?
When I grew up I was very afraid of birth. My mom described it as “pain you never forget”. Thankfully along my path there was a lot of growing and changing through meditation, studying natural healing and the body. Somewhere along the way I started helping women with prenatal massage and as a doula. But it wasn’t until I went on a 10-day meditation retreat that I realized I could give birth.
At this lovely retreat, we meditated up to 12 hours a day, sitting without moving for three of these hours. My body was screaming in pain, and I realized, that we can watch fear, literally just sit there and watch it. After I left this intense torture, the one thing I said to myself was, I can give birth! But don’t worry, I don’t think you need to go through this to prepare! Nor would I even recommend it. But doing this process did open the doors to me doing many things that I’d been “afraid” to do in the past.
Birth As Meditation: Look Fear in the Eyes!
With birth as meditation, I am not suggesting that we “suffer” through a natural birth, I am saying that we can sit with the fear, and look at our fears directly in the eyes, and say, “I see you, but that doesn’t mean I have to bow down to you or believe in you.” With birth, there are many fears, societal fears, personal fears, fears from our own births and previous births. And yet, fears are our imaginings of the worst things that could happen, as we imagine it. That has no certainty in what’s really going to happen, except that the more we fear something and pour our energy into it, the more we create it.
So, birth as meditation actually asks us to start with pregnancy, and even pre-pregnancy. When fears come up, and our imagination is showing us all the scenarios we’re afraid of, sit with them, observe them and see how they affect the body. Asking ourselves “is this true?”. If we don’t know it’s true, then we can stop pouring our energy down that drain, and if we think it’s true, which is hardly ever the case, then we can still realize what thinking that fear over and over again does to us!
For example, say the doctor has told us the baby is too big and will never fit through our narrow hips! Well, what does that do to us…that fear? Given the right circumstances with just the right amount of fear, we may be scheduling our c-section rather than embracing the natural birth that we want. However, if we bring in our awareness, we begin to realize that cycle of fear/imagination/creation…we can sit and recognize fear and choose a different cycle empowerment/imagination/creation.
Birth As Meditation: Pain is Communication!
Birth as meditation not only asks us to look at our fears, but asks us to realize that pain is communication. Pain during birth, just like pain during my meditation journey is asking us to work with the body. During my 10-day meditation, if I’d listened to my body and honored it’s requests, it wouldn’t have been screaming at me in pain! If we do the same during pregnancy and childbirth, our bodies will not need to scream with pain, because they’re used to whispering and having their whispers heard. Many women realize birth without pain because of their trust and communication with their own bodies.
Our bodies will whisper, or even guide the movement that they need, or even give us cravings for the food that we need to support us whatever moment we are in. If we do not honor those requests, if we push them away and eat a carrot, when an avocado was requested, our body will not be at it’s optimum. It seems so simple, doesn’t it, but there are very few of us who actually listen and honor our deepest inner-most needs. No wonder we are where we are. We look to everyone else to tell us what to eat, and how to birth!
Birth As Meditation: Yes, Yes, Yes!
Birth as meditation is also asking us to open to the present moment and accept whatever is going on. When we resist, what’s the saying… it persists! Yes, yes, yes, is one of the greatest assets of birth as meditation. Yes this is the moment now, yes this is the moment NOW. It doesn’t mean it will always be, but if we can accept it now, we can open to new adventures. If we resist and use all our energy to push away what is, we have no more energy to be creative with.
One of my greatest lessons with this came as I was miscarrying, I was 12-weeks along and I was in such pain, but I realized it was because I was resisting. As soon as I surrendered to the moment, and talked with my body, yes, it’s okay to open, yes, it’s okay to let go, yes, yes, yes…only then did I really understand just how much pain we can put ourselves in by resisting, and how much relief we can have when we say yes to this moment.
During pregnancy and birth there are lots of opportunities to embrace the moment, with our hormonal changes, with our body changes, with all the little things that come up. Have we embraced what’s going on right now? This practice alone will take us far with birth as meditation (and all of life!)
Birth as meditation does not require a certain meditation technique, it’s more about bringing awareness to birth and to our bodies. Our bodies are an incredible tool. If we can spend our pregnancy, and our pre-pregnancy unwinding them, letting the flow in and coming to understand their communication, then we come to birth prepared to use this incredible tool. If we birth as meditation, we birth with the courage to look our fears in the eye and choose wisely our actions, we birth with the wisdom in working with our bodies, and we birth saying yes! Yes! Yes! And all of this work that we’ve done sets the stage for parenting this same way, a.k.a. parenting as meditation! In honor and integrity, with wisdom, courage and understanding…teaching our children to say YES to life!
Birth as Meditation to Benefits of Meditation.
To Meditation mp3: The Peace Within.
To Labor Made Painless Main Page.