Why the fuss about birth and not the baby?
By Sophie Fletcher
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”
Recently I was reminded by a friend about the bigger picture. She said birth is just a small part of the journey we experience as pregnant women. The much bigger part of the experience is what comes after – motherhood. She wondered why women are so focused on the actual birth rather than their baby and suggested that this preoccupation with birth prevents a woman from wholly preparing to be a mother, connecting with her baby on their journey.
There is no doubt that the focus has shifted from having a baby, and the baby themselves, to how the women are going to manage the birth, get the right pushchair, finish the nursery, perhaps moving house (surprisingly common!) or how long their maternity leave is going to be. In our Mindful Mamma classes at the beginning we ask everyone to spontaneously write on a note the first word that springs to mind when you think of birth, very often baby isn’t in the mix, instead words like pain, control, blood, long and hard work float to the surface from fears harbored in the unconscious.
But the truth of it is that from conception to birth to motherhood is a life creating, life changing, daunting, challenging and absobloodylutely incredible journey. Birth is just a moment, an intense moment, of a period in your life that will bring you highs and lows, tears and laughter, fear and joy. There is nothing more frightening than a baby making their first wobbly steps near your mother-in-law’s granite fireplace and nothing more wonderful than your baby’s chubby arms loosely clasped around your neck as they fall asleep rhythmically breathing into your ear. But we don’t dwell on any of these before they happen, we experience those moments as they happen and enjoy them or manage them skillfully in the moment.
Imagine conception as the planting of a seed, the seed growing beneath the surface nurtured by the soil, out of sight but watched expectantly until it breaks through the surface. The plant continues to grow but from this moment is reliant on the water and sunlight to grow and blossom. Just as this plant needs water and sunlight your baby needs your love, care and gentle compassion to nourish their emotional well-being and growth.
Motherhood can be a wonderful thing and it can also be a mirror of birth in terms of the emotions. There is fear, there is sometimes that sense of losing control, and there is joy, happiness, the worry of not knowing what is the right way and wrong way to do it.
Birth is just the beginning, and just like motherhood you can choose to get on and do it and do it your way, intuitively with love, strength and patience. Your baby’s journey into this world begins at birth, just as your journey into motherhood begins and your partner’s journey into fatherhood begins.
So allow yourself to become aware in this moment of your baby, the core of your being, your connection with each other and how you are moving forward together hand in hand on a new, exciting and eventful journey that will last long after the birth.
Prior to the birth, allow yourself the time to reflect on what type of teacher you want to be, how you want your baby to learn. Being mindful of that responsibility, reflecting and welcoming that role will in turn strengthen and prepare you the birth – the moment that your journey begin and the moment that your flower nudges through the soil and begins to grow into a beautiful blossom cared for and loved by you.