K and I attended a Calm Birth class this weekend and it was fantastic. At first I was a little worried about sitting in a classroom, 9.30am – 6pm for two days. The thought of sitting still for that long seemed painful, but they had lovely rocking chairs with foot stools, fit balls, pillows, blankets, everything to make sure you were very comfortable. The weekend also went very fast so it wasn’t painful at all.
We both got so much out of the course and are now feeling a lot more confident for a calm birth even if plan A doesn’t work.
Calm Birth is taught to empower parents to discover the joy of birth. The techniques they teach include breathing techniques, massage, visualisation, meditation, and using the power of beliefs thoughts and emotions. The course was incredibly powerful, not only in techniques to get you through childbirth, but also to get you through life.
On our arrival on Saturday morning we met a lovely midwife Karen who was to be taking the course (her father is the creator of Calm Birth). Being the only same-sex couple in the course of 12 couples she made a point of saying that she’d like to apologise upfront for referring to partners as ‘fathers’ and that she’d do what she could to make it gender-neutral. We were fine with this and are quite used to the reference to ‘fathers’ in this new world we find ourselves in and it really doesn’t bother us at all. We know we are the minority. So throughout the course, Karen would say things like, “…now fathers…[small pause]…and K”. It got to the point that every time she said it I had to try very hard to not fall into fits of laughter. She really was trying hard, and she was lovely and sweet and a fantastic presenter for the course, but the “…now fathers…[small pause]…and K”, was just too funny, and we weren’t the only ones who thought so!
The course did bring up some issues for me, one in particular is what they call conscious parenting, which emphasises the importance of early bonding with your child, in particular before the child is born. It also includes the importance of immediate skin to skin contact after the birth of the child, that first hour is important, the first 6 months are important. This is all stuff I missed out on as a child. My biological mother was 14 when she “accidentally” got pregnant and I know it was a horrendous pregnancy filled with shame and guilt. When I was born I was quickly taken away from my biological mother before she could even see me. I then spent the next 2 months alone in a nursery being cared for by nurses. I never had any skin to skin contact or bonding and was left to cry alone for so long that I learnt very early on that nobody will be there to console you or love you when you need it most. By the time I was living with my adopted parents I had learned that crying did nothing and was apparently a very quiet baby and toddler. I apparently never even had a tantrum as a toddler. It left an imprint on my life that can never be erased and the course reminded me of this and why I’ve had so many issues over the years.
On a positive note, we’ve come away from the course with a bunch of skills that if we practice them over the next few weeks, should get us through labour calmly rather than full of anxiety and fear. We will be communicating with Sticky as much as possible and treating him/her as if he/she is already here. If anyone starts telling us horror birth stories, our response will be “please stop, our baby is listening!”