I recently watched a video on Facebook featuring Ina May Gaskin. If you don’t know who Ina May Gaskin is, she is a well-known midwife, author of Spiritual Midwifery and founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center. She is also described as “the mother of authentic midwifery”. She was speaking to a group of people about reducing fear of childbirth among women in the U.S.
Ina May said, “We are the only species that can doubt its ability to give birth.”
What a profound statement.
She correlated fear in childbirth with pain. As in, the more fear you generate, the more pain you will feel. How do you help eliminate fear in a birthing mom? You focus on the atmosphere in which the woman gives birth in. She should feel safe and secure, private, the lights should be low and she should have her loved ones nearby.
Ina encouraged moms to spend time with their partners during labor. Relaxing, breathing, talking, laughing, touching, kissing–all of these things help bring the blood down to the part of the woman’s body which is opening during labor. This kind of activity produces oxytocin, which stimulates endorphins and creates feelings of love and inhibits pain.
Pretty amazing stuff.
I thought of the moments I shared with my husband during each and every one of our children’s births. I absolutely needed him by my side. His presence was so reassuring, so comforting–I just knew I could do it if he was there to help me. It was just as intimate as the act that got us there. Still, it didn’t make my labor pain-free–it hurt, plain and simple. But he definitely helped me and I don’t think my six labors would’ve been the same if he wasn’t there.
I recently discovered these wonderful birth photos from photographer Jackie Dives and I couldn’t help but feel like I witnessed a very intimate connection between two people. What a lovely depiction of the naturalness of childbirth. By simply doing what a loving partner should, he helped inhibit his wife’s pain. Please check out the birth photos of Julia and Cris.
Did your husband/partner/significant other’s presence help you during the birth of your child?