Tag Archives: Labour

Labouring naturally: nature’s gift

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.


It is the journey, not the destination that matters. Here I describe the most beautiful, spiritual aspect of my labour, the first stages along a bumpy road to giving birth. My firstborn child, a son, was born in June 2010. Ewan’s birth was far from the ‘perfect’, natural birth I had envisaged, prepared for and naively believed I would have. Instead, I gave birth by emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic. Lying unconscious, I missed the first three hours of my son’s life, and then spent the next few days too ill to care for my son, recovering in hospital.

My suffering, the pain, trauma and long period of postnatal recovery were far outweighed by the child standing before me. My son was born a very healthy little boy, who nursed like a dream. Our first meeting was indescribable, as I instantly felt overwhelmingly attached to my son, an outpouring of unconditional love which knew no bounds.

Now, almost two years on, I can reflect on and celebrate this profound experience, cherishing the joy of labouring naturally, even though I could not in the end birth naturally. In this post I share the period before the second stage of labour, holding these hours up with strength, pride and happiness for all to see.

Continue reading Labouring naturally: nature’s gift

Mothering Through Breastfeeding: Part One, birth to ten months

This article was first published in La Leche League GB  ‘Breastfeeding Matters’ magazine, number 185, September/October 2011.

When I was pregnant I was asked whether I would breast or bottle-feeding. This puzzled me because there was never a question, to me breastfeeding is simply how you feed your baby. Luckily, I come from a family who support breastfeeding, including my Nanna who fed twins at a time it was ‘normal’ to bottle-feed, my Aunty who fed her children until they naturally weaned, and my mother who breastfed me and my brothers. I therefore felt supported in embarking on feeding my own baby.
Continue reading Mothering Through Breastfeeding: Part One, birth to ten months

Part Two: Labouring in the zone and the approach of fear

Contractions are like labour, at first calm, then a few ripples, before gathering in strength and size, then reaching a crescendo, ending in the calm again, just like the waves on this beach in Fetlar, which we experienced in all of natures offerings!

Labouring in the zone and the approach of fear

Sheila Kitzinger talks of indigenous women labouring alone in a private but familiar place, whilst the midwife waits at a safe distance, ready if she is needed. In a high-tech hospital I too turned inwards to this place, just like other mammals do and pregnant woman have done for millennia. Hours passed. Labour advanced slowly. I remained focused and calm. I hummed a Buddhist chant continuously for hours, varying the tones as the contractions came and went like waves. My late Nanna had described contractions this way, an appropriate analogy in that the pain starts slowly, worsens, reaches its crescendo, before subsiding; then the whole process repeats itself.

I made sounds from deep within me I never knew existed, instinctive sound vibrations which moved and worked with the contractions. My husband massaged my lower back with aromatherapy oils continuously for countless hours; in my own zone his touch was an indication I wasn’t alone. I remained totally in control by focusing on the deep humming sounds my voice made as my body moved in unison to the sounds. My eyes remained closed almost continuously for five hours.  I sought a quiet, non-verbal, private plate in which to labour, away from sights, sounds and lights. It was me and my baby, in our own space together. I knew my husband and the midwife were close by, so I could call them, if I needed to. I trusted and read my own body.

This special zone was rudely interrupted as I heard one of the midwives suddenly exclaim directly to me;

‘You’re being very musical aren’t you!’

Almost violently this human voice pulled me back into that other world I had laboured hard to mentally retreat from. I could have hit her. Although unintentional she had broken the spell, the peaceful zone shattered.

Back to the machines, bright lights and human conversation. And with it the pain.

Rediscovering Birth by Sheila Kitzinger