Who can benefit from Birth Counseling?
For 20 years I attended births as a Midwife caring for over a thousand women. It became very clear to me that the fears, worry and traumas of our lives can have a deep impact on how we birth. Often they results in cesarean births or labor inductions. These too can cause trauma by themselves–even if their indication was not related to personal past trauma.
The good news is that while you may be challenged to let go and deliver vaginally or without medicated (if that is your goal), you are still very likely to have a healthy baby and to come through birth being healthy yourself. But it is possible to work on these issues, prior to birth, and to minimize their impact of them on your birth.
If loss, abandonment, trauma or abuse has touched your life then having a baby may be challenging for you. Letting go into the intensity of birth may be hard, and may lead to medical interventions and cesarean birth.
Having had difficult prior birth experiences: induction, cesarean birth, complication or a birth where your baby didn’t survive—all of these can have a impact on your subsequent labors. The how and why of that impact can be explored and worked through.
Some women have significant anxiety and fear surrounding their thoughts about labor and birth. Fear has a huge impact on your ability to relax and trust the birth process.
If your personal image of yourself has difficulty including “mother” you may have a hard time letting your body go to have the baby that will make you a mother.
Generally the impact caused by all these challenges is not good. I see women’s bodies shutting down, not going into labor. Labor stalling. The results are increased rates of induction, labor augmentation (Pitocin drips) and cesarean deliveries. The saddest impact is a women’s loss of the experience of the birth that she desires.
What is Birth Counseling?
Some women know they have a deep fear/anxiety around the whole concept of birth. Some are aware that events in their history will challenge their birth. I then explore with her: her past labor and her past history, the origins of her fears/anxieties. I am looking for issues that affect trust.
Acknowledgement is the first step: knowing that your history is challenging. Often I have seen women seeking help after a first birth that has not gone according to plan. She comes to me after a cesarean birth or induced labor wanting her next birth to have a spontaneous labor and/or a vaginal delivery.
Birth requires a letting go. A trust that if you let go of your vigilance, you will be safe.
Why? Birth is intense. For most women, it requires ALL of your self to let go, to give yourself over to the process. In order to do this, most of us have to let go of the part of ourselves that is making sure we are safe. We have to trust that if we let go and just be with the labor, then those we are with will be there, taking care of us—both ourselves and our baby.
What is vigilance?
Those who have lead a life of comfort and safety will perhaps not understand this. But when one has experienced events where your health (mental or physical) is at risk, where bad things happened to yourself or loved ones, then often we begin to deeply guard ourselves.
We see an extreme example of this phenomena with soldiers returning from combat. You may be familiar with the term “hyper-vigilant”. That is living in a state of constant awareness of one’s environment. Never letting your back be exposed, always facing the door, always looking around–scanning for danger. This is a response to living/working in a war zone where your life is in constant risk of ending.
Fortunately most of us have been spared this trauma. But smaller traumas: early loss of a parent through death or divorce or other separation, birth stories told (particularly your own birth) that include trauma or loss can have a lasting effect when it is our time to birth. Physical, emotional and particularly sexual abuse all leave scars and a deep need to protect oneself. Birth is deeply impacted by trauma. The pain of labor can reawaken past physical trauma with a resultant physical and/or emotional shutting down. The basic need to take down your defensive armor in a time of vulnerability can be very difficult, especially if you are not prepared for it.
Deep Healing is Possible
Looking at your past and letting go into the present. Letting yourself be cared for is one of the deepest healings we can have. Again and again I have helped women move through their past experiences. Whether you are wanting to heal from life related sadness, pain, anger, loss or feelings and difficulties from a prior birth, I can help you with this work.
Find your healing
I ask for a minimum of three 50 minute sessions, in person or skype. This is to give you the time to explore your issues and us to begin the work to help bring you into a new place.
To schedule your first session, you can go to my “contact me” page and email me, I will get back with you shortly. I answer emails during regular business hours.
Costs for a 50 minute session is $80. Your initial 3 session cost are thus $240. Payable via Paypal or credit card. If you are meeting me in my office, you are welcome to pay with cash, check or credit card on your first visit.