Website of Lina Clerke -

Holistic Bowen Therapist,
Midwife &
Childbirth Educator Sussex UK

 


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Birth is about letting go
By Lina Clerke

Birth is fundamentally about letting go.
- letting go on every possible level, and that can be pretty scary and very intense.

I have helped lots of mothers in labour both at home and in hospital, and have seen time and again that if they prepare during pregnancy, if they really PRACTISE letting go, with their breath, with their whole being, then when it comes to labour they are much more able to surrender to the intensity of it all and to go with it rather than fight it. 

For a mother to be able to labour instinctively, she needs to feel completely safe, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. The people with her in labour are really important. She needs love from all her caregivers, and patience and the knowledge that they have faith in her body's capacity to birth her baby. If she is going to hospital I highly recommend she take her own midwife/ birth attendant/doula as well. 

Alternative approaches to pain relief need to be available too. I swear by the use of hot nappies, and also the use of shower and bath, massage, homeopathy, rescue remedy etc. All of these help.

A woman in labour needs to be free to move in any way that her body chooses instinctively. There need to be padded areas on the floor for her to crouch and kneel on. There needs to be low light and privacy. She needs to have freedom to moan and yell and express herself in any way. No one I work with is restricted to lying on their back but I am aware that there are still archaic practices in hospitals around the world and my work as a childbirth educator is to empower the mother and her partner to stand up for themselves and continue to listen to her body (and not hospital policy) and do what feels right for her and her baby. Most of the time when a woman is following her body she ends up giving birth on all fours or squatting. 

Women know how to give birth already. They need to step out of the way (with their heads) and let their bodies get on with it. Their bodies are designed to give birth, and giving birth is the most natural thing in the world - it has been going on for thousands of years. Each of us has an inheritance, and a cellular memory, of generations of mothers who have given birth so that we may be alive now at this time in history. 

Mammals give birth without attending childbirth classes and they do not book into a hospital to give birth. We forget that humans are mammals too! Can you imagine making a horse or a deer lie on her back, attached to tubes and machines, in order to give birth in a brightly lit, crowded room? Her labour would stop instantly and she would have to get synthetic labour hormones to make the labour start again. (Does this sound a bit like what goes on in our human 'delivery' wards nowadays?!) 

In this modern day and age, the normality of birth is being forgotten. High Tech is creeping in. (Even women themselves are choosing this.) Cesarian rates are 30% or more in many hospitals. Mothers and babies are being separated at birth. Breast feeding rates are lower than in the entire history of the human race. What is going on?! Technology has been designed in order to save lives and when it is needed it is absolutely amazing. My concern is that it is over-used and thus what was once a normal event in human life has become a medical procedure. A rite of passage which grows women into mothers has been replaced by drugs so that we feel nothing at all, our hormones no longer do the amazing work required in the process of giving birth and being born, and we miss out on the challenge and chance to really experience one of the most potentially empowering experiences in our life. 

In my work I aim to help women reclaim birth. When a woman is informed, and involved in choice, and feels fully supported, she feels safe and can labour instinctively. With a positive mental / emotional attitude she can embrace the intensity of labour. If she practices letting go deeply during pregnancy, she can simply allow and deeply let go with her breath during labour. Each woman finds her own way but letting go is the key. 

It is the greatest privilege to witness the beauty, mystery and total surrender of women given over to the wild process of labour and birth.

 

Lina Clerke has produced a wonderful and effective pre/postnatal relaxation CD. Visit www.wonderfulbirth.com for details

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