Everything we see and feel and do is about movement and flow. We watch daily the movement of the sun from one horizon to the opposite horizon, we feel the wind tug at our bodies as we walk outside, see the flight of birds from one point in the blue sky to another. Each night the milky way of stars makes its rotation, or is it ours.
We lie down in our beds at night, arise in the morning and move towards our tasks. Red blood speeds along our arteries and veins, the delicate filament forms a tapestry woven within us. It intertwines with nerves, transporting and releasing chemicals and hormones, sustaining organs and the passage of nutrients. A heart continually throbs, contracting and expanding simultaneously, a sea of internal waves, ebbing and flowing.
Scientists call it Fluid Dynamics and it provides ways of studying the evolution of stars, ocean currents, weather patterns, plate tectonics and even blood circulation. Flow can be steady and smooth or turbulent and chaotic depending on internal or external pressures. Inertia is produced by resistance to a change of motion.
A pregnant woman innately experiences changes in flow the minute she is pregnant. The flow of internal resources is directed to the growing baby and homeostasis or balance is reached when her body supplies just the right flow towards and from the baby as well as maintaining the flow of meeting her own needs. When a pregnant mother moves her body often, she stimulates ‘flow’ both for herself and the baby. This enables the baby to grow and settle in a right position for birth. Harmonious flow in a woman’s life in her relationships, her work, her goals and expressions create meaning and satisfaction.
How do we support the flow? It means choosing food to eat that is as free of chemicals as possible, drinking clean water, wearing clothes next to the skin that allow it to breathe, breathing clean air. It means finding a place for regular exercise, a way to express the energy in one’s body through dancing and flowing within universal flow and our own solar system. Finding Happiness. These are essentials that all women and their unborn children everywhere need. When the flow of these resources towards the mother is blocked or interrupted, disharmony results.
A peak of homeostasis is reached towards the end of pregnancy and the unborn baby is fully grown. Chemical releases and body dynamics signal to mother and baby that the direction of flow must change. The labour process begins and freedom of movement is an imperative whether it is a state of rest and steadiness, like resting on a soft mattress, or a state of restlessness and a need to be upright and mobile. To interrupt either of these states of a mother in labour is to run the risk of impeding or altering the flow. Prolonged interference blocks flow.
For instance, a wild animal, such as a lion, trapped in a cage will attempt to break free. His freedom to move and flow within his environment is impeded. It drives him to behave and act in desperate ways, even to self harm. Finally the wild animal may reach exhaustion or despair and appear submissive. To be trapped is anathema to life. A woman in labour needs to be in an environment that does not detract from the changes in direction, from the steadiness of early labour to the turbulence of transition to the motions of final expulsion. A mother strapped to a table on her back attached to an electronic monitor is a woman whose flow is impeded and blocked. In this state physiological labour and birth are much altered and this in turn affects the natural movement of the baby through the birth canal. Unborn babies are thwarted when their natural impetus towards moving in an expulsive direction is blocked. This can create stress and internal frustration, and eventually deplete both the mother and the baby’s internal homeostasis and flow. The results of this may be lack of attunement to each other after birth.
A midwife tunes in to the dynamics of flow in a mother in labour and giving birth. Sometimes a mother expresses turbulence when it may serve the mother better if the energy were conserved. Slowing down the speed of the movement by darkness, a soft warm bed, a hand on the back, a slow breathing technique can steady the flow of labour. And allow the internal forces and pressure to be better tolerated, such as those sensations of bearing down just before they become definite.
It is helpful to try to ensure that the uterine wall, lining and vessels are in perfect balance prior to conception and that the flow during pregnancy is supported by pristine environmental resources, organic food, herbs, and supplements where needed. The body is then able to cease the flow to the placenta and expedite expulsion of the placenta once it has stopped functioning. After the birth the flow of urine and milk become important. The mutual movements of the mother and baby towards each other must not be thwarted by external interference so that communicative flow between them can be established and attuned.
I am blessed to be able to witness the flow of birth with women in the homebirth setting and I attach some beautiful pictures of four women and their babies who surrendered to the changes in direction and gave birth in response to the Flow of Life.