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How a Midwife in a Home Birth Setting Helps ease Fear during Childbearing
The Intimate Moments just after Birth
Midwives and Home Birth Ease Childbearing Fear
My first and only child so far was born in a hospital under the care of a nurse midwife and 4 or 5 nurses. I was terrified, and I didn't even know why. I do know why now; I was there with people I will never see again in my life, I had no privacy for this intimate process I was going through. I am reading a book by Susanne Arms, Immaculate Deception II, A Fresh Look at Childbirth. She brings up animals and their need for privacy during birth, which made me think, "Everyone needs to know about this!". Birth affects each and every one of us. I am a student midwife, so, and for good reason, my point of view on where the best place to give birth is a bit biased. My view is, by the way, backed up by science and reality that the general public doesn't hear about. Susanne brings up fear's role in childbirth on page 164. " In one enlightened film of a wild red deer in the process of giving birth, we see just how an animal's fear of imminent danger creates tension in her body and completely stops her uterine contractions. Her body's need to prepare for immediate flight halts all progress, even though labor was active and birth imminent. Her body cannot do two contradictory things at once: be on guard and let go." Labor is started and stopped by hormonal changes. That is why fear causes labor to stall for the red dear. Fear causes a spike of adrenaline/noradrenaline in the body, which halts labor in order for the mother to get to a safe place. The same things happens to birthing women. Fear halts labor in order for the mother to get to a safe place for her and her infant. It is SO important to be comfortable in your surroundings while your body is working for a new human to be born into this world.
Susanne Arms bring up another important point on page 166, " most of the pathology that we hear so much about in modern childbirth is created by hospital environments and physician intervention...he wrote, ""In text books it is written that contractions, when regular, frighten women. Women then become anxious. This is not true. It is the other way around. Even if the woman herself is convinced of the importance of being in a hospital, the changing surroundings may influence her inner biological rhythms."" (he being a professor who did a short film series on animal birth, including the red deer birth mentioned in the above paragraph). No matter how convinced you are that the hospital is the safest place for a healthy woman to have her baby consider the hospital setting. A nurse will wheelchair you through unfamiliar hallways into a room you have never seen before. Here you will wait for different people to come in and examine you maybe with your husband, maybe not, but remember he is scared too. There are all kinds of scary things in a hospital, machines, needles, doctors, drugs, and a bunch of different people. There is no need for this during one of the most intimate times of life and your body knows it. A midwife does too. It is really easy to say that those types of things don't bother you, however, pregnancy and especially birth are special experiences. On page 142 Susanne reminds us, "It's the primitive, nonverbal part of the brain that is most active during childbirth, and data doesn't affect that area of the brain, whereas emotions do. The primitive brain is calmed by touch and music and poetry, not numbers or logical thought." Pregnant and birthing women are especially sensitive. The right midwife will make pregnancy and birth feel safe, comfortable and filled with love and joy.
Our bodies get the job done, just like our heart pumps and our lungs expand our uterus contracts and our pelvis expands. Just like our hormones start and stop labor. Fear, worry, tension, or someone who is making the situation uncomfortable for you all cause labor inhibiting hormones to run through your body. Labor can flow much easier if your surrounds permit. A familiar space with only people who know you well and love you, and an expert midwife can ease the fear of childbearing. Midwives know this and support normal birth. They are not scared, they believe in your bodies ability to open up to let life out. I want you to know that when I say midwife I am talking about a lay midwife who specializes in birth outside of the hospital and has been trained holistically.
The right Home Birth Midwife can make your birth way better than anything you can imagine to happen in a hospital. You spend time with your midwife throughout pregnancy to get to know your her and that she gets to know you. She is your helper! She is your birth partner, there for you to feel safe, encouraging you to laugh or cry or do whatever you need to ease the fears you feel, allowing your body to let go, and give life. You two study your fears together so that she will understand what kind of things surrounding labor and motherhood are are fearful for you. This helps her understand how she can help you through the entire process of pregnancy and birth and into motherhood. She is the person that is there for you supporting and guiding you through the changes your body and your life are undergoing. She informs you of how to cope with the changes. Midwives see and cope with pregnancy very holistically; as a process that involves a woman emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. It is a hugely powerful life experience to birth a child and become a mother. Midwives are supporters of the whole process. A midwife's presence in a home birth setting gives you the highest chance of having the most beautiful birth experience.