High Dives and Finding Center

"The next contraction came grinding down on me, but it felt different. A white-hot hole of knowledge opened in my pain. I saw that in my effort to get around or under the pain, I'd been avoiding that central point of intensity, staying on the bring of the primitive surrender that's required to get a stubborn baby out. I'd talked hundreds of women into taking that leap of faith, that shut-your-eyes-and-jump moment of bravery. Like a girl standing on the high dive, walking back and forth the length of the board, shivering, going to the brink again to stare down into the water so far below - and then she's off, airborne. Free.

With sudden clarity, I knew it would have to hurt more before it got better. I wouldn't be able to circumvent the pain. I had to go through it, enter willingly into the void, holding nothing back. I had to jump off the diving board."

- Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent.

I believe most every woman comes to this point in their labor.. this... "finding the center"... the place where you cannot go around, above, or below your labor. You cannot hide from it, hold back from it, or hold off from it - you need to give in and go through it!

As a support person, invited to the birthing time of a pregnant mother, it is a wonderfully key component to your support - this time of finding the center - and how to help her through it.

Often times, this occurs during transition. Sometimes, such as when a baby is not 'in the optimal position', a woman can experience two of these transition-like times. The good news is it tends to be the shortest part of labor and birth. The support person's helping a woman to succeed in giving over wholly is two part:
  • allowing the mom to work on her internal, non-spoken dialog without condemnation and without outside suggestion.
  • helping her to feel protected and safe in the environment she has chosen for birth.
The worst thing to do for a woman at this time is to suggest anything that is not what she originally wanted or intended for her birthing time (pain killers, an escape, etc...) because, the closer she gets to center, the more vulnerable she comes to suggestion from outside sources.

The second worst thing to do for a woman during this time is to NOT validate her feelings. She will, often times, blurt out fears. As a support person, it is your job to validate those emotions, fears, etc... and then help her work through them in her time and through her choices (i.e. I understand you are afraid of the next stage, I know, I have felt that too. No matter what the next step brings, I believe you are strong, beautiful, and able to let your body bring this baby forth!).

Some of the best support you can give a mom during this time is to wrap her in a hug, let her cry, and let her know you understand and she is not alone.

When a woman finally comes to that center point, the inhibitions fall off like cumbersome clothing and she literally transforms before your eyes! Strong, wild, purposeful, and able. And she births life!

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