Hi Shweta! Thanks so much for sharing your blog post with us! I feel the birth plan may have had its day by the sounds of it. Did you write a birth plan? If yes, did anything positive come from it?
No I didn’t but I did have some very strong ideas about how and where I wanted to give birth. When I went into labour with my first son I was well underway to having the homebirth that my husband and I had ‘planned’. I laboured at home (according to plan) for many hours. When the midwives arrived to assist with the birth they found that my temperature had risen beyond what was considered safe. There was a possibility of infection in my body and I was therefore, much to my dismay, rushed to hospital. When the ambulance arrived, I stood at the top of the stairs in the building of my two bedroom flat, defiant. I refused to be carried down the stairs in a stretcher. I was having a baby not a heart attack! All’s well that ends well and my son was born, in hospital (not my plan!) on my back (definitely not my plan!) healthy and well (definitely my plan). I too was happy. Happy, well and grateful. Somewhere along the way amongst all the chaos and drama I surrendered. In those moments of labour and birth I believe I started to learn the power of surrender. Not giving up, but learning to let go. I learned the powerful distinction between preparation and planning which I now teach in my pregnancy classes. In planning an event like birth there is an attachment to the process. When one prepares for birth, the actions are aligned with a strong intention but there is no attachment to the process. Only potential and creativity.
Why do you think women feel so guilty when their birth doesn’t go ‘to plan’?
Women feel guilty because they view the failure of the plan as their fault. If the plan fails then they believe they have failed. I find that the more fixated women are to the way in which they want the birth to be the more chances are that they will feel shame and guilt afterwards if it does not go according to plan. Preparation is the way forward not planning. Planning can psychologically lock us to a process which may or may not happen.
Through your work as a yoga and meditation teacher, how do you help women prepare for birth?
In the Pregnancy Yoga classes that I teach, we use meditation, breathwork and postures to deepen womens understanding of their bodies, their mind, and their emotions. Whilst birthing positions and breathing techniques are important parts of the class, women are guided to listen to their bodies and respond to the changing nature of their physical landscape. The classes also emphasize movements which encourage the sense of opening , letting go and trust with the idea that when it comes to the time of birth women have their breath, mindfulness and use of their instincts to respond to a changing birth situation.
Finally, is there a quote or saying you live your life by?
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson