What does it mean to prepare for birth in a holistic way? “Ho·lis·tic adj. relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems… to treat both the mind and the body.”
In a culture that mostly confines childbirth to the medical realm, many women are now searching for more diverse and meaningful ways to experience the journey that they are embarking on to meet their baby. Moving beyond the limited (albeit important) scope of the medical approach allows us to reclaim the power and mystery of this transition into motherhood. In our current birthing context, which can be so obsessed with measuring, testing and intervening, this sense of mystery is in danger of being lost.
In Birthing From Within we say, “Childbirth is a profound rite of passage, not a medical event (even when medical care is part of the birth).” Preparing holistically for birth and mothering as the transformational, and life changing events that they are speaks to our inner wisdom.
“The effort to separate the physical experience of childbirth from the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of this event has served to disempower and violate women.” ~ Mary Rucklos Hampton
Have the Courage to Look Within
A core part of holistically preparing for giving birth is about connecting within, rather than only looking outside. Learning how to activate what can be called your inner Huntress is an important part of this quest. The Huntress is the part of us that once activated, can patiently observe what is happening within and around us. Your inner Huntress is activated when you are hungry to try and know yourself, when you try to work out why you choose the things you choose, and why you trust the people you do. She is hungry to see clearly.
Normally there are a whole host of questions and concerns that come up for women during pregnancy. “How will I cope… how will I know what to do…” Sit with these questions and explore them deeper. If you stop the internal enquiry because you only want to “be positive” and focus on your fantasy of birth or motherhood, then you can miss out on an opportunity for rich learning. When your inner Huntress speaks up allow yourself to track what is happening. To feed this part of you be patient, and observe. Notice what your mind tells you, observe the stories, and ask yourself from where have they come?
We each have many beliefs about birth and mothering. Our childbirth education has been occurring our whole lives. Find out what you believe to be true about birth. How might this be motivating your choices and actions? These are only beliefs and once you dig deeper you may find they don’t actually reflect the whole picture.
Creating art as a process and without attachment to the end product is a useful way to explore the inner realm. Birth art is a core process used in Birthing From Within classes to explore and spend time in the “non-rational” part of the mind which is the most active during birth. Take the time to reflect on what you really need to know to prepare for this birth and make the space to hear what comes up in response.
“Learn how to trust and to be comfortable with states of not knowing” ~ Angeles Arrien
Part two coming soon!