We need to stop looking at pain as something bad or something we need to get rid of.
As 21st century humans we are conditioned to find resolutions for absolutely everything that gets in our way, including when we feel pain. And look, yes, pain is how our body tells us that there is something wrong- we are meant to feel pain when we break a bone, have gall stones or cut open our leg so that we can seek help.
But not all pain is the same. The pain we feel in labour is the by-product of the intense work our uterine muscles are doing to labour and birth your baby. Labour is the most incredible feat a uterine beholding person can experience. We’ve been doing it for centuries. It is raw, it is NATURAL, and it is INSITINCTUAL. Your body is not trying to hurt you, in fact it’s just the opposite. It’s trying to work with you.
Feeling pain sends alarm bells no matter how small or mighty the pain you are experiencing might be. A sense of fear will quickly overcome us; kick starting our “fight/flight” response system which is followed by a build-up of tension- most often seen through our shoulders and neck but affecting our entire body including areas we cannot see such as our uterine muscles. This cycle is what we call “fear, tension, pain” syndrome, a term coined by Dr. Grantly Dick Read in the early 1900’s. If we don’t break this cycle, the pain will continue to bubble and build and very quickly snowball into an overwhelming ball of fire within you screaming for help.
So…what if we looked at pain from a different angle, what if instead of trying to find a way to fix it with an external force we surrender to its cries?
We know that if we can surrender to our body’s sensations we are sending a message to our brain and our nervous system that we are still safe, there is no reason for our fight/flight system to kick in and create reason for more pain and more tension.
So how do we do this?
We create a space of calm, of safety and unwavering support to a labouring person.
We fill ourselves with knowledge so that we are prepared for every outcome or pathway our birthing journey takes. We take away the element of uneasy/terrifying surprise or unknown.
We utilise tools and techniques that we know will work with the hormones of our body and stimulate the hormones of ecstasy in abundance- hormones that are 20-40 times stronger than morphine when released in sufficient amounts!
We rewire our neural pathways to ones of safety and surrender, and condition our body to release all the hormones at all the right times. We talk to ourselves, we reassure ourselves and most importantly our sub-conscious. We teach it about birth and the wonderful, joyful, awe inspiring and yet positively life-changing experience labour and birth can be…an experience not like the movies, not like your friends or your mum’s or your aunt’s but one that is your own, one that you have dreamt and dreamed and visualised for months even years.
We love hard on our labouring person, we protect them fiercely and advocate for their every need and wish.
We instill belief and praise their confidence, their bravery and their beauty.
Birth is BIG, it is POWERFUL and its yours to take the reigns.