Can your birth choice empower you?

Osho says: “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new."

In my debut novel one + one = three, a controversial, yet thought provoking conversation about birth and the pain associated with birth takes place between two pregnant couples. Seth and Sky are feisty earth children while Jake and Zani are a modern couple who work in a corporate environment and rely on Google to find answers on how to offer their little one the best possible start to life. Here follows an excerpt of their conversation:

“Let’s talk about birth pain. From what I could gather from the book, Marais [Eugene Marais] studied the habits of termites for ten years as part of his research into animal psychology and came to the conclusion that instinct commands that you pass through every step, from preconception until independence, or the specie is doomed. He found that birth pain is a crucial step, and when birth pain is omitted, that impacts on a mother’s ability to feel motherly, bond with her baby, and act in a motherly or caring way.�?

“In other words, if birth pain is absent, mother love does not flow spontaneously?�? 

“Yes, Jake, that’s how I understand it too,�? said Sky. “The problem is that nobody wants to pay attention to it! They say we’re not animals. They say that pain’s barbaric. They say Eugene lived donkeys’ years ago and his research is outdated! They say he was high most of the time so his findings were not rational. The say many things to shoo what he said out the door, but they have no answers for the dramatic increase in difficult births, babies with feeding problems; the phenomenal rise in autism and children with all kinds of emotional and learning difficulties; depression, anxiety, relationship problems, not to mention sex – too little, too violent, not violent enough, too much, not able to; or the rise in crime and the deterioration of mother earth. Nobody seems to care anymore!�? 

And with that Sky started sobbing as if her heart was breaking. Seth pulled her up and onto his lap, holding her and talking gently till the sobs subsided. 

“My dear Sky, I’m so sorry that very few people got Marais – and get you. I know it hurts. Remember we decided that we cannot change the world, as much as we would like to, but we can give our baby the best pregnancy and birth experience possible?�? 

She wiped her face, and continued in a quiet voice. 

“You might think I’ve rumbled off a truck load of problems and irrationally ascribe everything to the absence of birth pain, right? But the truth is, mother love is the prototype for all kinds of love. It is a mother’s love that flicks a switch in a baby’s brain that says: ‘I am not alone. My mom has my back. I can relax. My nervous system does not have to be in overdrive, my heartbeat can slow down, and my breathing rate can slow down too so I can feed without gulping in air and my tummy doesn’t fend off milk because it misreads nature’s perfect food as an invader! The flipside of that is a baby born after the mother had worked until the last minute (before giving birth) in order to survive financially, she is stressed out of her mind and with that she needs to rely heavily on her rational brain, have a degree in list making and project management to prepare for one of the most natural things in this world!�? 

Sky looked over at me, compassion in her eyes. “Zani, you know I’m not saying this to hurt you, right? But please let me just talk for now? I need to say this because I need your rational mind to show me where my thinking is skewed, okay?�? 

All I could manage was a nod. 

“During labour a woman is scanned and poked and fingered and monitored and measured as if she’s a specimen in a lab experiment – no wonder she cannot dilate! No wonder she cannot let go and follow her instinct! For goodness sake, when even a mouse knows to find a dark and secluded place to give birth unobserved, how do we expect a woman to follow her instinct to give birth in a hospital – a place for the sick and the maimed under blaring lights with a flurry of activity and medical staff who wants to control the whole process? It is not a process! It is a birth! The conclusion of the most miraculous experience on earth! It is sacred. It should be revered. Pregnancy and birth should be protected with everything we’ve got because it determines the future. It determines the future of humanity!�?

If you are currently pregnant the most precious gift you can give to both yourself and your baby is time. Time to slow down before baby comes, time to nest a little and prepare the baby’s room. Time to rock on your rocking chair while you read a story to your unborn baby, because your body needs you to relax in order to offer you the best birth possible. Your body is an amazing creation and when given enough time and the right conditions, birth can become a most empowering experience.

“A woman in birth is at once her most powerful, and her most vulnerable.
But any woman who has birthed unhindered understands that we are stronger than we know.�? ― Marci Macari

You might also want to read about the benefits of breastfeeding