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Archive for June, 2008

What you body knows

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

A wonderful cranial osteopath by the name of Emma Westlake recently said to me ‘ Your body knows what to do’. This should be the mntra of every pregnant woman. ‘My body knows what to do’. Because it does. Even though our entire birth system- be it antenatal care, birth preparation classes or our cultural obsession with horror stories- suggests otherwise.

As much as we choose to focus on the rare abnormalities and the potential but unlikely risks, the truth is our bodies and instincts are extraordinary. When the natural process is left undisturbed, when a woman is left to be her own physical and mental master, then the vast majority will birth without help or complication. There are 6.5 billion people on the planet- most of whom have been born without access to modern medecine- proving the point that we are pretty good at this birth thing.

Whilst medical advance has ade up for where nature has lacked, the truth is a lot of the problems that have afflicted child- bearing in the past have been man-made- based on a lack of hygiene or nutrition and on the insistence on interfering.

We should be grateful for when doctors save us or our babies- of course we should- and as the grateful recipient of an emergency caesarean I do not make such a comment lightly. But intervention very often happens unnecessarily, or as a result of previous intervention and it is this that leads to a mistaken belief in the incompetence of nature. We have, sadly, made birth more abnormal than it needs to be, ensuring that both woemn do not believe in themselevs or their bodies any longer. Yet women have given birth in comas. You body knows what to do.

Birth Stories

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Why is it that when you announce that you are to have your appendix out, or a wisdom tooth pulled, everyone rallies around you with mutterings of support and casual ‘You’ll be all right’s, yet upon announcing that you are pregnant, you get relayed nothing but birth horror stories? Thirty-six hour labours, forceps deliveries, emergency dashes to the hospital. And turn on the television and any birth scene is depicted as traumatic, terrifying and torturous. If, as the writer Ben Okri says, nations are the stories that they tell themselves, is it any wonder that as few as 3% of births in this country are truly natural? Are stories of birth as at best an ordeal to be endured self- fulfilling prophecies? Is it possible that by continuously feeding ourselves stories of difficulty, we create the very thing we fear? Fear is one of the biggest impediments to labour and the more fear we cast, the more we make birth difficult for women. In many cultures, long births are unheard of and women never speak of the pain of labour. We need to recognise the extent to which birth is culturally conditioned and instead of simply accepting the stories, search a little deeper. When you try, it is equally not so difficult to find good, even amazing stories. Many many a woman has said to me that giving birth was simply the most extraordinary thing she had ever done and that she marvelled at her capacity to cope. These are the voices that need heard.

Postnatal Classes & Workshop

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

New series of postnatal classes to start June 9th. Please contact me for further details or to book.

I will also be holding a rare couples workshop June 18th (tbc). Please let me know if you are interested. It is £35 per couple and has proved extremely popular in the past so booking is essential.