This blog is about one of the most important things I ever had to do: putting a human on this earth. And if possible, as natural and painless as possible! Giving birth the mindful way.
I know well how terrified I used to be when I would think about giving birth. The idea that a head had to fit through that little hole was not something I would want to think about. I even had nightmares about having to deliver a baby without my partner because he was away watching soccer. Luckily, my mind-set changed now and I have more confidence in myself and my body. When I found out I was pregnant I knew what type of delivery I would like to have.. one at home, in the tub with warm water, calm, all natural and without interventions. A beautiful goal, but whether it would succeed is something you don’t know, because of course it was a little exciting to me.
In Holland I followed a hypnobirthing course in which I have learnt how incredibly natural giving birth is. A little weird that I had to learn this, because if you think about it this is pretty logical! What could be more natural than giving birth? Through the years it has become such a medical process that it has frightened many women. This is unnecessary, your body is made to give birth. The fact that you are a woman means you can do it. But like usual, a big factor again is.. your MINDSET! At the moment you remain calm, your body will stay in the Yin mode a.k.a. the parasympathical nerve system. It allows your body to do what it has to do and all the hormones will work together perfectly, give you superpowers and even work painkilling, better than morphine! But, if you panic and are afraid, your body turns into fight and flight mode a.k.a. the sympathical nerve system, you cramp up and the hormones which are released will only work against you.
You can take one guess what mindfulness does with your body and mind.. putting it directly into the parasympathical nerve system! Bingo! I felt much more confident because if there is one thing I can do, it is working together with my mind. As a prepration I did a lot of meditations, made a lot of contact with my baby, did a lot of Yin yoga, walked often and listened to hypnobirthing affirmations. When the date got close, I was still very confident and instead of worrying and waiting for the baby I was still at work. The night of June 15 I woke up a few times because I was having contractions but it wasn’t really alarming to me and I went back to sleep. The rest of that day I was having contractions but they were very unregularly. The doctor said: if they come every 5 minutes you have to call me. I was still happily working on my online mindfulness course on my yoga ball. At the end of the day they were getting stronger and I felt the need to be alone with nothing but silence around me. That is when I knew the baby was coming. At the moment my mother send me a message saying that she was about to get on the plane to Bali and asked me how I was doing. ‘ Ehh, good mom, have a nice flight!’. I didn’t tell her at that moment I was about to give birth and said a little prayer that once she would get out of the plane, I would have a healthy grandson for her to see.
I told my partner it was really about to happen and we called the doctor. We prepared the room, lighting candles and putting on background music. When the whole team was there I was 2 cm dilated. At that time I was thinking the pain wasn’t funny anymore and it would be a long night.
My plan: actively on the yoga ball taking on poses to manage the contractions and listening to hypnobirthing. The reality: I was at a complete different planet. I couldn’t move, and I didn’t want to move because it was too painful. I wasn’t even capable of communicating. Completely turned into myself I was laying on my side and I had no sense of time or whatever was happening around me. Even if the whole world would have burned down, I wouldn’t have noticed that. The pain was getting more and more intense, I was throwing up after every contraction because of the intense pain I was feeling in my belly and back. That is when the mindfulness really came in handy. It felt for me as a metaphor for life.
Real happiness often comes with a price. We have to put in work first, learn our lessons, go through growing pains before we reach a new level of happiness. That pain in our life is there to serve us! At the moment you start resisting that pain, you cannot learn from it and it cannot serve you. It just stays there and will become worse. And that is also how it works with the transformation to becoming a mother. I knew that if I would resist the contractions they couldn’t do their job and it would only take longer. It is even proven that if you grind your teeth it works against your dilation.
I knew that if I wanted the birth to go well and quickly, it would depend on how I could be able to just let the pain be there without resisting myself against it. That is why I used my super tool: gratefulness! At the moment you are grateful, the resisting stops. It was very simple: no contraction = no baby. The pain was there to help me. Every time a wave came over me, I breathed through it without getting tense and without resisting and I said to myself: “Thank you, thank you for helping me put a child into this world. Thank you for bringing me closer to my son.” And at the moment it was over I was in a complete calming relaxation.
Without an hour I went from 4 to 8 cm and it was time for the doctor to come and for me to get into the tub. The doctor came and with a smile told me to walk around and “keep my spirit high!”. Doctor or no doctor… in some situations men just need to shut up. I gave him a deadly look and luckily he didn’t say anything after that.
Once I was in the tub my body started pushing by itself, such a natural string force that comes out of you! I didn’t feel any pain by that moment, I was laying in the arms of my partner and was completely high on hormones. The only thing I could think about was getting my baby out. The sun was rising at 6.30 in the morning when he was born. The moment you feel your baby gliding out of your body and holding it for the first time is hard to describe. It was by far the best moment of my life. And I would do it all over again! Two hours later my mom arrived and was on her way to her grandson!
I look back at the delivery as a beautiful experience and everything but traumatizing. Yes, the pain I felt was of a complete different level, but the happiness you experience after that is also of a complete different level! I didn’t felt giving birth was that bad and by sharing my experience I hope I can inspire women to look at a different way to the delivery.
The next blog will be the final one of my Happiness project and I will look back at over a year of working on my happness and self love!