Give life space – lose the fear of birth
The horror of birth
“There is magic in every beginning,” said Hermann Hesse, and I don’t know if he was ever lucky enough to witness a birth. But if there's one description that fits the experience of giving birth almost perfectly, it's probably this one.
The birth of new life is unique everywhere in nature. Both for us humans and in the cycle of nature in general, birth is the navel of all life, a milestone. The end of a symbiosis, the beginning of a breath. Magical.
And yet... a shadow clouds the miracle of life.
Throughout our human history, a variety of circumstances have ensured that countless women, the guardians of life within themselves, have an uncontrolled, almost panicked fear of the experience of giving birth.
Life is so raw and immediate, so raw, magical, pure and direct through her own body, the experience is overwhelming. But why only fear?
Where does the panic come from that can cause us sleepless nights months before the due date? Where does the caution come from, the thought of going to the hospital, the intensive preoccupation with possible alternatives to the natural birth process and painkillers? Where does the idea come from that we are not up to it?
The development of humanity is based, among other things, on telling stories. We are designed to build on experiences, images and our past. We sit around the fire and listen to stories from days long past. We sit in front of the television and let ourselves be moved by stories that reflect our deepest longings, but also our deepest fears.
We learn from what people have experienced before us.
Over the course of our past, through various cultural and historical aspects, the belief that childbirth was a curse that had been pronounced on women developed. The patriarchy did the rest by taking away any power from women over their strength and their own lives.
Fear and pain are directly related
These stories shape us and our perception of the subject of birth. The more often and more impressively we hear stories about fear, pain, loud screams and complications, the deeper they are stored in our system as truth. We experience what we believe to be true. Our brain creates our reality from the stories available to it to process.
If we learn over decades that childbirth hurts terribly and is a terrible borderline experience in which we can only be “lucky” that everything went well, our soul and with it our body will adapt to such an experience.
In addition, our mind can only work with what it knows:
Many women have not learned how their body works to deliver the baby. They learn that a hospital is necessary, medical attention, and painkillers are essential unless they are particularly tough. They have no image of a gentle, quiet and peaceful birth.
The control over a successful birth moves away from your body and into the hands of other people.
With the removal of control comes fear. Fear causes the body to tense up during birth and counteracts the natural opening with which the child is actually born. The cervix opens with difficulty, the muscles work against each other and unbearable pain occurs. It is not uncommon for there to be talk of an arrested birth and the child is born through a cesarean section.
But why is there such a thing as a birth standstill? Isn't it reasonable to think that a woman's body doesn't open up because she doesn't feel safe when threatened, as is the case with animals in nature? Could it be that our bodies are so much more intelligent than we realize?
Was it always like this with the pain and fear?
Long before us and to this day, completely different birth stories exist: women all over the world give birth to their children gently, easily and without the feeling of pain as we know it. For her, birth is a completely natural process, part of life and something that a female body is seen as absolutely capable of. The women are in control of how they want to give birth and have experiences that allow them to grow beyond themselves, that allow them to emerge from it powerfully, with deeply beautiful, positively formative memories and a yes to life.
In many other parts of our world, it is completely commonplace for women to give birth to their children quickly, without complications and without drama. Birth is celebrated and carried out without fear.
The difference usually lies in a completely different perception of life, our bodies and the naturalness of the birth experience.
The women hear different stories. So they believe in a different reality and therefore experience something different. They know that they are the expert, in full control and they have the freedom to decide how they want the birth to be.
They also have deep trust in life, are calm within themselves and usually know exactly how their bodies work to bring the baby into the world. So they do one thing above all else: they let themselves go. They know that the process in their body is trustworthy and they relax. They open up and let the body do the work. The more relaxed a woman is during childbirth, the deeper she can let go of resistance and go with the process.
The muscles work naturally, the cervix opens, the child slides out, and much more is breathed out than pushed out. Isn't that almost too good to be true? So...
Do you have personal tips?
Yes! I myself have already experienced two births. The first was traumatic and completely consistent with what we know here. A horrified woman screaming in a brightly lit delivery room, surrounded by many strangers, in unbearable pain and the thought “it's almost over”. I was full of fear.
The second birth was quiet, gentle, painless and beautiful. I remember it so fondly.
Now I'm about to give birth to my third child and I'm looking forward to it!
How can it be that I have had such different experiences? What can I pass on from it?
The crucial difference was this:
I severed the cognitive connection in my brain between birth and pain and replaced it with new stories, experiences, and therefore possibilities. First, I decided to do a radical fast: I stayed away from any negative reports of other women's birth experiences. I no longer spoke to people who believed that giving birth hurts.
Instead, I read stories every day and even watched videos on the Internet where I could watch women give birth to their children clearly painlessly and without medical help. This changed my perception and beliefs about birth. My synapses have reconnected. Birth no longer meant pain, but rather peace, relaxation and joy.
I supplemented this internal process with relaxation exercises beforehand (our bodies can best apply what they have already internalized) and education about how my body works to bring the baby into the world.
The combination of knowledge, practice and experience through stories led me to my second, wonderful birth experience.
If you are also facing all the fears, I encourage you from the bottom of my heart: have faith! With the right tools, you can have a wonderful, self-determined and yes, pain-free birth.
If you would like to find out more about family and pregnancy, mindfulness, nutrition or sustainability, check out more exciting blog articles on these topics here .
AUTHOR: SARAH ACKER