When I fell pregnant with my first in 2014 I knew that birth would be easy for me. My Yoga practise had taught me to trust, to listen to, and to care for my body. To me, pregnancy and birth weren't a medical matter to be dealt with in a hospital, it was what my body was designed to do. I knew that there was nothing to be scared of.
I was shocked to come against so much negativity in my belief that I would birth easily at home and with no pain, even my Yoga teacher was dubious and suggested that I listen to how other mothers had dealt with the pain. Most films and TV shows depict birth as loud, painful and undignified, rather the gentle and relaxed. Many people felt the need to tell me that birth was painful, and how distressing they had found it. Despite all of the negativity around birth I came up against, I was sure that it would be awesome.
Humans had been giving birth for centuries before it became hospitalised, animals generally give birth quietly and easily, why couldn't I? For me, attending any antenatal classes would have hindered my positivity and the trust I had in my body. I felt that there was no need to know the intricacies of birth, I wanted to let go of my mind and let my body do what it needed to do without my mind adding any stress.
Throughout my pregnancy I continued to practise and teach Yoga. My body was my guide, I listened to what it needed. Somedays it was tired so did a more restorative practise, other days it was full of energy. I found an excellent pregnancy Yoga class taught by Rachael Moore, where I learnt several breathing techniques and postures to aid the birth.
At the 41 week mark, my midwife asked about the possibility of induction. I was still happy being pregnant, I didn't ache, I felt no rush to 'get the baby out of me'. I decided to decline, and undergo regular checks to ensure that there would be no harm to my son.
At 42 weeks, 7.30pm I had my first contraction. They were immediately 5 minutes apart, so my husband and I decided to have a barbecue!! My husband set up the birthing pool (an arduous task), and made sure my chosen music was ready. By 10.30pm they were 3 minutes apart so I called the midwife, but as I wasn't experiencing pain it was assumed that I wasn't close to birthing my son.
I'd assumed that I'd want to labour walking around, or on all fours, however my body told me different! Using my body as my guide I lay on the sofa, on my side. I didn't set foot in the birth pool, and had no interest in the music I'd wanted playing. My mind stayed quiet, my body stayed relaxed, I needed no special breathing techniques or position, the body is an infinite pool of wisdom should we take the time to listen to it. At 2am the midwives finally agreed to come, however a journey that usually takes 15 minutes somehow took them an hour. They finally arrived at 3am, just 16 minutes before my son peacefully made his way into the world. He shed not a single tear, unlike myself, he layed relaxed and happy on my chest.
I can honestly say that my birth was awesome and easy. I felt no pain, experienced no fear or distress, and had a simple home birth with no complications. I may be incredibly lucky, it may have been genetic, but I owe a lot to Yoga, to the innate wisdom that my body has when I trust it.
*This is written purely from my experience, I am not a medical professional, and I'm not giving any medical advice on pregnancy or birth.