Giving BirthOctober 19th, 2009
So, my niece finally called. She took her time, busting a hole in the amniotic sac first, and giving us almost a full day to assemble ourselves before kicking off some contractions. All in all, it was a safe, healthy, un-medicated birth which brought my newest niece into the world. Yay!
But even the easiest birth is unbelievably intense. From the outside observer’s point of view, it looks like a commuter train entering and exiting a crowded station at rush-hour, again and again… back and forth… only this time the station is the female body.
My sister wanted me at the birth because I teach HypnoBirthing, a set of techniques that help the mom-to-be remain as relaxed as possible, while keeping her head in the right place. By taking her deeper and deeper into relaxation–during and between contractions–my sister avoided tensing up and wasting energy. When the body is so relaxed, the birthing muscles work more efficiently and there is less discomfort. By relaxing her mind, she could focus on the task at hand, instead of panicking. And by keeping her mind on a somewhat short hypnotic leash, it remained her friend. You see, we don’t tend to remember sensations as much as we remember what our mind thought about those sensations. "Holy crap!" "This sucks" and "Get me out of here" aren’t exactly helpful thoughts, no matter what we’re doing. Keep the mind focused, calm and pleasantly occupied, and the physical experience just comes and goes beneath it. Comes and goes. Ask the body to go into profound relaxation after periods of intensity, and it will drop all tension (and potential trauma) happily. Even when extreme sensations occurred, my sister would dip herself in the river of relaxation right afterwards, letting everything drop, and she landed in the moment–clean and present–one more time.
So we dipped into the river of relaxation again and again, for about 9 hours, and little Ava ended up in my sister’s arms. I would post a picture of her, but I think it’s weird for a 2-week old to go public. Call me old school.
Another birth occurred this week. The Kind Diet, which I co-wrote with Alicia Silverstone, arrived on bookshelves across America. It’s great for anyone who has wanted to dip their toes into veganism or macrobiotics and has felt intimidated… it even contains a diet plan called "Flirting". The book is full of strong, scientifically-backed arguments against the Nasty foods (meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods) not only based on the damage they do to the human body, but in the ways they impact the planet. The recipes are FABULOUS and the photographs really, really beautiful. I’m extremely proud to be a part of this project. Check it out.