While supporting women as a Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum Companion for the past three years, I have been privileged to witness and support women’s processes during life transforming rites of passage. It is genuinely fulfilling to support women with the adjustment to first pregnancies, help them prepare emotionally, physiologically and physically for birth, support the birth process, hold sacred space for healing earlier traumatic birth experiences, develop methods with women to integrate their previous lives with their new roles of mother and family.
It is extremely satisfying to see my clients integrating the methods I have demonstrated and practiced with them to support the self-determination and fulfillment of their dreams, hopes, and potential.
A concrete example of this can be seen with my client Sarah. In the flush of excitement of a just-confirmed pregnancy, Sarah and Ben sought me out to clarify their prenatal care and birth options in Berlin.
They explained that their long-distance relationship had recently solidified with Sarah’s move from America to Germany’s capital, Berlin. Shortly thereafter she became pregnant. She was very nervous about her relatively new day-to-day relationship, the cultural differences, and the pregnancy, in general. Unsure of the type of care she would receive far from home and unaware of the decisions with which she would soon be faced distressed her greatly.
Together we explored their fears of the pending birth, their individual physical reactions to stress, how a baby may impact their relationship. We identified methods they could use to control their stress, which resources they could employ to support themselves in less care-free times life with a newborn often brings.
I explained the physiological process of birth, the rhythm and duration of the physical sensations of birth (contractions). We explored the body’s remarkable ability to handle pain, the beautiful dance between endorphins, oxytocin, and adrenaline, and how Ben could support Sarah during labor.
At the end of our first meeting, I encouraged Sarah to spend time alone, listening to her Inner Voice – noticing the signals and messages her body was sending her. The messages that are so often crowded out by the responsibilities and busy pace of everyday life.
Meditation was something new to Sarah, she found relief when I explained that all she needed to do was concentrate on her breath, allow her thoughts to come and also go, and to pay attention to physical signals which arise during each thought. When there was tension in a specific area of her body, I encouraged her to go deeper, ask to herself what those physical sensations looked like in her mind’s eye, what colors or vibrations became evident, and what message was her body sending her.
The next time we met, Sarah relayed to me the meditation had made it possible for her to be receptive and interpret very important inner messages. Sarah remembered her past experiences with classically trained gynaecologists, all who had been male. They were either too rough, to uncaring or dismissive of her concerns. Her symptoms had been repeatedly dismissed and serious conditions misdiagnosed.
Sarah received very strong messages from her Inner Voice; she realized what was best for her was to return with her fiancé to her home country, in order to be supported by her friends and family. She also was sure that wanted a female gynaecologist to support her. It became clear to her that an undisturbed birth experience was very important to her, and felt that a hospital was maybe not the best place for her birth.
Sarah proceeded to empower herself by identifying which contacts and family members were willing to support her, searching for a classically trained female doctor who compliments her care with holistic medicine and to learn more about home births and midwife-led birthing centers.
It was very satisfying knowing that my support allowed Sarah to discover her Inner Voice and learn to trust its innate guidance. I hope she keeps listening to it!