I have been to all-day-long births during labor day in previous years. This year I am on-call for a birth. Today is her due date. It reminds me that while many people celebrate labor unions and how important the labor movement is for this country, I always celebrate the movement to allow mothers to labor how they like. It hasn’t always been so in this country. We used to disregard a mother’s wishes about how she wanted to give birth. We have made big strides since then. So a toast to labor day! And to women who can labor as they please! I call that happy laboring!
|The miracle of birth near Cajatambo, Peru.|
Horses are mammals, just as we are. Have you ever watched a horse give birth? A horse does not hold her breath as she pushes her foal out into the world. She continues to breathe. So should you! Our birthing instincts are our animal instincts!
Here is a video of a foal being born.
I have had a number of clients whose birth benefited from taking prenatal yoga classes. Prenatal yoga helps them get ready for active labor and helps with strength and flexibility during pushing. I haven’t had personal experience with yoga, but I will soon. Starting in September, I will be attending beginning yoga classes and finding out more about the benefits of yoga. I will not be taking prenatal yoga, but I will find out more about it. If you are in Pittsburgh and can, join me at Yoga Matrika. (photo licensing.)
If you have ever watched Wimbledon, you know what it is like. If you were going to play on center court, you would have a date and a time for the match. You would of course, be in peak condition and very ready to play at that time. But it often rains, and the match is postponed. You still need to play that match and you still need to be in peak condition, whenever the match is played.
That is just how your birth is. You have a due date, but that is not in any way a promise of when your baby will be born. You need to be ready whenever it happens, just like with a Wimbledon match. How do you stay ready (especially when your due date passes and everyone who knows your date will start watching you like a pot which isn’t boiling)?
To keep Wimbledon ready, you need to do four things: Make sure you are well rested, eat regularly, drink regularly (don’t get dehydrated) and wash regularly. In other words, try to go about your normal life and not allow the excitement of the big day to throw you off your game. The last thing that you need when the big day comes is to be overly tired, overly hungry and cranky. Birth is a big event. You need to be at your peak — whenever it occurs.
Giving birth is a big event in any mother’s life. You prepare for birth and take breastfeeding classes. Now your baby is here in your arms. What do you need most? I asked this question of mothers that I know. These are their frank answers:
Selena’s top priority: “sleep and nourishment.”
Everyone knows how to get sleep and as an adult, you can get food for yourself. But as a new mother, your baby will be nursing around the clock. You are probably not used to that schedule. When you are home for the first couple of weeks (or longer with a cesarean birth — 6 to 8 weeks) you need to recover from birth. The support you need is making sure you get some sleep and that you don’t need to worry where your meals come from.
Karen writes: “Sleep. Accept help. Adjust expectations. Accept and embrace that what you are able to do is what you need to be doing — resting, healing, feeding your baby, and bonding.
“And for heaven’s sake, if those things don’t help, please don’t be embarrassed to get help above and beyond that. One of my most dire regrets in life is that I didn’t ask for help, and I totally cheated myself and my children out of an irreplaceable time!”
Karen’s point is very valid. We feel that we should be capable of taking care of ourselves and a tiny baby. We shouldn’t need any help. This is wrong! All new mothers need support! Why do you think we live in communities and not in separate caves? Being a new mother is a unique time. All women need support and so do you!
Adia adds her voice: “Sleep. A great support system. Accept and adjust to your new lifestyle and body. If you are having real problems, you will need to seek help.”
These mothers have all been through it themselves. Listen to their wisdom. Then you can look forward to a peaceful postpartum!