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Monday, October 8th, 2007

We’ve just put a clip from the introduction to the DVD up on the DVD page… you can watch it here too!

Tonight’s class

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Tonights class is on The First Hour after Birth; Stage Three and Early Bonding. If you have missed the classes on first and second stage then go to class notes - the second stage notes will be up by this afternoon- and have a quick read before class. See you all later.

Not enough sleep

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

There was a story on Radio 4 the other day commenting on some new research out which suggested that the average mother gets only 3 1/2 hours sleep a night during the first four months of her baby’s life. The woman that they interviewed in response to these findings- the writer of the Good Sleep Guide- suggested that we all needed to get stricter with our babies as one possible solution. First of all the idea that we need to be strict with a baby under the age of 1 seems extraordinary to say the least. Contrary to what our society attempts to portray, babies are not manipulative creatures who go out of their way to make life difficult. Whilst the first year is trying at times for even the best of mum’s it is because human beings are born utterly dependent and have intense needs- they haven’t made them up, they have them. They need sleep, warmth, food and yes, also comfort. And the last need is as pressing as the first three.

Aside from the implication that babies are out to get us, I find it hard to believe that women get on average 3 1/2 hours sleep. That implies that a lot get no sleep at all. And what, in that study, constitutes a night? Between the hours of 12pm and 5am? The best piece of advice I was ever given was to go to sleep early- and by early I mean really early. If you are in bed by 9 ( boring yes, but it doesnt last forever) then you can get several hours before the clock even chimes midnight- and some other study ( yes they have studied everything!) says that the hours before midnight count for double those after.

The early months of being a mother are hard work. You feel as though your world has been turned upside down, your evenings are no longer your own and yes, you often feel quite sleep deprived. But instead of trying to carry on as normal, bending the baby to your will, try relaxing. If you strip life back to the bear essentials, accept that you are very needed by a very little person and don’t fight their needs, you will find that in no time at all you will be grappling with a marching two year old, will be contemplating nurseries, might well have returned to work- in other words you will get time to yourself back again………you might also find that you look back on that quiet time you had in the beginning with some fondness. There is a huge pressure in our society to be superwoman. If you feel that pressure, then put it off for the first six months at least, and revel in the choice you have made to bring a baby into the world. They are not babies for long.


Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Our DVD is finally printed and pressed…! Yoga PoseMany thanks to all who have helped bring the project to fruition, especially Rory and Diane at Mine Films Ltd… It was filmed in late November last year and features Nicole at 6 months pregnant with her third child.  There are a range of different sequences all of which are ideal for birth preparation and there’s not a wind chime or water feature in sight!

For more information and to order please click the DVD link in the menu or visit the shop….


Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Freebirthing is all the rage. Strange as it is, even something as fundamental as birth can be subject to fads, and where once it was elective caesareans that everyone was talking about, now its freebirthing. Put simply, freebirthing is having a baby with no medical assistance at all- so no doctor, no midwife, sometimes even nobody at all. And apparently it is growing in popularity in both the US and over here in Britain. This go-it-alone attitude has prompted every reaction, from outcry to admiration. Critics argue that it is grossly irresponsible and belies the dangerous nature of birth. They say that women need to have medical back-up to be sure of a safe outcome for mother and baby. Advocates say unassisted birth is the way it should be- that birth is as intimate as lovemaking and so it should be done without anyone’s interference. Both, I would argue miss the point.

Across the board science supports the idea hat the safety of birth is determined less by technological interference than by the constant presence of an experienced attendant. In trials of breech birth, the experience of the person looking after the mother was the most important determinant of the birth outcome. Equally, studies of ‘doulas’ or one to one midwives all support the idea that birth is a safer and a happier experience when a woman is nurtured emotionally as well as physically by a single experienced midwife or birth assistant. Having someone there does matter. But not as much as the advocates of intervention in the birth process would have us believe. For any understanding of the physiology of birth leads to the conclusion that privacy is also an essential component of a positive birth experience.

In fact, that women are choosing to ‘freebirth’ is nothing more than a sad indictment on the nature of birth in this country and the US. Freebirthing is by no means ideal. But for many women it is better than being subject to the overt scrutiny and constant interference of the medical establishment who have hijacked the birth process and who have turned pregnancy and labour into a pathology. Instead of criticising or applauding the women who choose such a radical alternative to conventional birth practice, we should be looking for what might be pushing them to do so. That old adage ‘extreme times call for extreme measures’ might well apply here. With only three percent of births in this country considered truly natural, that woman have the choice to give birth naturally is little more than illusory. What we need is to re-examine the fundamental needs of a labouring woman and adjust our birth practice accordingly. If we do, then women will begin to have real choices as to how they birth their babies and the extremes- be it elective c-sections or freebirthing- might seem less attractive.