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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Barth

Labour & Delivery: A Yogis Experience

Our little man is finally here… the Grove Tribe has grown by one happy bundle of joy.

As many of you may have known, labour was one of the scariest things to me - and that’s prior to going through it. So, how did my labour go, and what was the plan?

My plan was to labour and birth at home. A bold choice, I know, for a first timer. I was surrounded by my loving husband, a birthing doula or support, and two midwives. I chose home because hospitals make me nervous - and I’ve read that, that alone can stall a labour. Home has less bacteria and better health outcomes, with less medical interventions.

I truly believed that I would follow in my moms footsteps, 6 hours from first contraction to the birth of the child. - and I can tell you that, that’s not what happened for me.

From the very first contraction to the birth of my son was 32 hours. Contractions lasting 60-90 seconds and me caught in the middle of a ride that would change my life.

Labour really isn’t just a journey to childbirth… it’s a spiritual experience. It can be primal in nature, and along the way you are reborn. Not just as a mother, but as a whole being. You see yourself, and have to be okay with the experience. It’s letting go of belief and accepting what is.

My labour, as many go, felt intense. Long contractions managed by breath or pranayama, massage, counter pressure, tens machine and the birthing pool. Every time you move into a new position the following contraction would intensify. By 24 hours in… I reached the all too familiar breaking point. For no reason I started to cry. I doubted that I could do anything. And I felt like I really couldn’t press on. They say that’s a good sign in labour, and on one’s spiritual path. The reality was - I had to keep going. I wasn’t allowed to stop.

There’s this moment when you want to change your whole plan - like me.. I wanted to get to a hospital and have an epidural… but that was a good sign. Instead I was told I was 7cm dilated and couldn’t go. The doula said, “remember this is all part of it. Think about your dream birth here.” She was absolutely right. It was a moment of weakness. A moment to take the easy way out for something so magical and natural. I came out believing that my body and mind were meant for this, that my son knew what he was doing.

I learned that I am so much stronger than I let myself believe, and that loving support can make a huge difference. That when we are supported by those around us, we can flourish and make the biggest changes.

How did Yoga & Meditation help me in Labour?

I can honestly say that it made a huge difference. Big enough for my midwives and doula to even comment on it - as they’ve never seen someone handle things well with mostly breath alone.

Breathing can make a huge difference in your life altogether, but in Labour it can help you to stay grounded and to help you ride the waves of contractions and delivery. It gives your mind a place to focus, and can even help you to soften through the next wave.

Focusing on what feels good is important for progress on the mat and in labour. I would count all the things that felt good in my body during a contraction. It helped give my mind something else to focus on. Where your attention goes, energy flows. It makes each contraction feel manageable.

Mantras or affirmations are used to Centre the mind on something you can do. “I can do anything for 60 seconds” really helped me to navigate things when it got intense.

My birthing team says that they’ve never seen someone able to just focus on their breath through a long labour like that. But it made a huge difference. And I know it’s partly because I was hearing your voices saying “just breathe.”

Another great technique is making sounds of low vibration - which I encourage in classes and my own practice. This can help shake off the sensations and redirect you.

After 32, long, hours… my son Luke was born… at home in a tub where I felt safe and just like I planned. There’s something magical in that fact and experience. There’s wisdom, strength, and the ability to just listen to your body.

I’m looking forward to getting back on my mat soon and to helping you believe in your own wisdom, strength and ability to do anything you set out to do.

Namaste beautiful beings.


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