When pregnant women are induced routinely before 42 weeks of pregnancy, babies learn they have to dance to someone else’s tune and not follow their own music and time of arrival. Their own biological impulse to seek movement and direction is thwarted. The lesson learnt early in life is that spontaneous movement is directed by another force.
When newborn babies are conditioned to adapt to an adult’s feeding pattern, such as scheduled 4 hourly feeding, they learn to suppress their needs for frequent feeding. They learn that their own rhythms are not acceptable. When babies are ignored or abandoned, even for a short time, they learn not to cry in order to survive. They learn their needs are superceded by an outside dominant entity that/who exerts force and power over their bodies. They learn that their rhythms dont matter.
These prohibitions continue throughout childhood when the need to explore the environment is strong. “No, dont touch…”, “No don’t go there…”, “No, you cant do this or that….”. Children eventually learn to suppress their frustration.
So by the time a girl child becomes a woman she has many many layers of self controls that make it acceptable for her to be in society. Woman are taught to acquiesce. And then we are pregnant, and everything we have learnt is strong in us. We dream of doing it better perhaps, of creating a life for this child in more love and more freedom. Yet we carry our trauma in every cell of our being. We may be afraid and want to ‘fit in’ to the medical system, which, though it may appear to provide safety, is designed to deprive women of their autonomy and power in birth.
And here is the rub. We are locked in to the patriarchal system. We are locked in to our trauma and our pain. Perhaps we are not aware of how much we have learned to hold ourselves together, to behave, to be clean and tidy, to not mess, to not shout nor challenge, to not take our clothes off, neither to be physical. We have forgotten the rhythm our bodies. We have forgotten how to follow our own direction. We have forgotten that we are strong and vital.
There is a way to unlock our grief, to rediscover our lost selves and rescript our paths.
When I was pregnant with my middle son, I broke down. I knew I was not OK. I cried daily as the trauma I had hidden from my childhood started surfacing and I had flashbacks of traumatic events. I sought help from a therapist friend. I cried, raged, wept, and rocked myself in fetal positions non-stop for three weeks. I was concerned that my crying would hurt my unborn baby. Afterwards, I felt cleansed and connected and went on to give birth fiercely, unnassisted and at home, to my baby son. My baby is now 34 years old and a wonderfully sane, funny and compassionate person. I had to unlearn my prejudices, and let go of the constraints I carried in my body to really connect with myself, my birth and my baby.
Pregnancy, labour and birth opens the portal to relive and release your grief and to reclaim your direction and life force as a woman.
To give birth, a woman has to unlearn what she has learnt.