There are so many points throughout a pregnancy where fear can set in. In the first trimester you wonder if that tiny little group of cells will make it, or if it is even there. Second trimester brings the question of how healthy or ‘normal’ the baby is, as well as waiting for those first flickers of movement.
Third trimester is mainly a waiting game filled with what ifs… Every new sensation, change, movement could be cause for concern.
Or it could all be perfectly natural. Something to enjoy and be at peace with as our bodies just instinctively know what to do with no active involvement from us at all.
That is the main teaching of Hypnobirthing and I am so thankful it was a lesson I was able to learn. You see, my default setting when exposed to new and unchartered territory is often to worry. Worry, and also identify every possible outcome of any situation.
That worry filled pregnancy I described could have been me, but instead I had a joyful experience filled with gratitude and meditation. There were a few moments of worry, but I was aware of that fearful flutter and was able to let it go before it took hold.
As part of my hypnobirthing course we were asked to visualise our labour. I had pictured an easy labour with a long lead up to spend practising my relaxation techniques and affirmations. I planned to spend time in the shower, listen to music, and believe it or not, snack!
By the time my labour started I was two weeks past my due date and had so many false alarms I didn’t think anything of the contractions I felt in the shower, at breakfast, or while walking on the beach.
Only when they became so strong that I had to pause while walking did I realise that it might actually be true labour. We started timing them and as they were already at 2 minutes apart it was time to drive the 45 minutes to hospital.
Our delivery room was spacious, light filled and the midwives were lovely and happy to respect our birth plan and leave my partner and I to navigate the progress of labour together with no intervention.
If I could describe my labour in three words they would be intense, empowering and fast! My partner James chanted mantras, made me laugh, gave me water and held my hand. I wore tulsi beads and as I held my son Narayan for the first time, we thanked the universe, God, that eternal spiritual force.
Lasting only six hours, I was able to give birth without any pain relief, intervention or manipulation, and was supported by both my mother and partner. For that I feel truly blessed as it was the single most amazing experience of my life.
In all honesty I didn’t feel that I needed pain relief. The contractions were intense and at times radiated from head to toe, but I brought my attention back to the breath, consciously relaxed and reminded myself that they would pass. Just keep breathing, just let it happen.
I understand that childbirth does not always unravel as hoped, and as my labour progressed I made a decision to let go and accept whatever happened.
The whole experience felt as though it lasted an hour, and there was only one point I felt as though I just needed a pause to catch my breath and rest. I will never forget that last release of pressure before my son was caught and placed on my stomach. He was a tiny, perfect human being and no longer this unknown little soul contained in my belly.