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Emotional transformation within pregnancy and birth – a personal and professional prospective

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To the best of my knowledge and experience birth comes in three parts – the physical, emotional and spiritual.

Here is my story……..

I remember one of the first thoughts that I had when I got pregnant with my first child thirteen and a half years ago…….… “how did my mother feel when she became pregnant with me?”. What went though her mind and how did she make the decisions she came to during that pregnancy?

I had never been able to ask her about these things as she had made the decision to adopt me out during her pregnancy. I was 48 hours old when my mother saw me for the last time. 

When I got pregnant, I had not expected to have feelings, thoughts and wonder about my birth mother and her experience of being pregnant with me.

There were now more questions on my mind than ever before. 

I knew pregnancy and birth to be a sacred, extraordinary event and now it was personal and I got the incredible velocity of what it meant to have a child growing inside me and choosing to bring another soul on to this plane.

This was the biggest job I had ever taken on……was I up for it? Was my partner really ready? Would I be good enough? Could I do it? Would I be OK? Would my baby be OK? Would I be a good enough parent to this child?

How could she have done what she did?

Again, there were more questions than answers………..

These initial questions and thoughts were about the pregnancy but what about the birth?     

Nothing could have prepared me for the enormous emotional transformation I had when I gave birth to my son at home surrounded by people who loved me and had offered incredible support. And yet, even though I had a partner and supportive friends and family, I realised for the most part, this journey was going to be about me and my healing and growth.

But was I too except it or ignore it? We all have choices. And there are so many choices and options around pregnancy and birth on a physical level was I prepared to undertake and face the emotional journey as well?

 As my story goes, I choose to work with it and with the help of my midwife, my childbirth educator, and a handful of beautiful friends I was given the space to feel and evolve and move through the pregnancy with a degree of challenge but mostly a positive vibe.

The day came for my son to arrive and after a relatively short fourteen hours or so of pre labour I felt ready to birth my son and the feelings that would go with that.

It had been something that my birth team and I had discussed.

After shedding tears and allowing them to wash over me and my thoughts in the prelabour, I stayed focused with lots of loving support. I remember letting go and understanding that it was me and my baby on this journey not my past nor future. Labour and birth calls the birthing woman to be present in each moment and there is nowhere to run and hide.

I got into the labour and each contraction brought me closer to my truth, my inner strength and beauty. I realised in the labour what an incredible gift this child could potentially bring to me.

When I held Harrison and he took his first breath, his eyes connecting with mine, my heart over flowed with emotion. There was a calm, peaceful stillness in the room and the wind was howling outside. The gapping wound in my heart that had ruled my life for so many years, untouched, unloved and battered in so many ways was finally filled.

Could this be possible, in an instant? Was it that I was staring at my own flesh and blood for the first time or that I had proved to myself that I could do anything now because I had just so powerfully and magically birthed my baby?

I had forgiven, in that moment, when I understood for the first time the true meaning of unconditional love……………

In the hours after the birth I quietly thanked the stranger that had carried me for nine months and birthed me in her infinite wisdom and love. What an enormous sacrifice she had made.  

The emotional transformation for me was so huge I went from a life of anger, shame and blame to love, softness, beauty and respect. I had been set free.

I have been working with birthing women and their partners for over a decade and have been privy to many emotional transformations. And emotional transformation is not just for the birthing women but also available for our partners and their transformations can be as equally as profound as ours.

I see emotional transformation in birth as a rite of passage and apart of the package. I believe that a part of us dies and transforms to make way for the new mother within. Weather that’s baby number one or dealing with the arrival of baby number five.  There is a shift. I had another emotional transformation with the birth of my daughter.

Personally, I understand the potential to continue to transform emotionally in my practice as a doula and childbirth and early parenting educator. And I do. I believe this gift is available to anyone who is privileged enough to be present in the room every time a spirit comes back to this earthly plane. We have the potential to continue to flourish and grow and for our own spirits to be healed and made lighter.

A part of me smiles and I think of both my mothers every time I see a mother holding her baby for the very first time. 

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