Painless Childbirth

by Celeste B. Longacre

Painless childbirth? Am I kidding? Well, maybe I am exaggerating just a bit; I did feel one contraction in each of my three deliveries. At that point, I told myself that it was time to CONCENTRATE. I figured that my body knew what to do and it was up to me to get my brain out of the way. And, it worked. I literally felt nothing.

Let’s go back just a bit. Several years ago there were two women at my gym who were pregnant. I noticed some worried looks on their faces and finally overheard part of their conversation. It seemed that they were both pregnant for the second time and had had terrible labors the first. I mentioned to them that maybe they didn’t have to feel the contractions and looks of astonishment crossed their faces. I told them that I had only felt one contraction in each of my three deliveries and promised to think about exactly what I had done to accomplish this feat. I wasn’t quite sure at the time if I could thoroughly remember my technique (my youngest was 16), but I promised to try.

I had my first child many years ago. At that time, I couldn’t find a midwife (although I tried) and it wasn’t until my third child that I was able to have a home birth. Yet, all three births were totally natural; no drugs of any kind. I was not particularly versed in techniques such as
meditation (I had never heard of the “New Age”) and, though I sought a spiritual path, I had many more questions than answers.

But, here’s what I was thinking: Who has the hardest time in childbirth? Developed countries. I had heard that some third world mothers barely skipped a beat. It occurred to me that maybe us educated people just plain THINK TOO MUCH when we should trust that our bodies know what to do.

As I was examining what I had been thinking, I had an incredible revelation. It actually woke me up in the middle of the night and my excitement over its discovery wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. What are our bodies trying to do when we have children? They are trying to open up a space large enough for the baby (or babies) to come out. With all that we now know about the mind/body connection, don’t we do ourselves a huge disservice by constantly thinking about and hearing repeated the word contractions?

So, here is basically what I did: I think that it is critical to have some kind of training—such as Lamaze— in order to know ahead of time that an EXPANSION is coming. I then started the breathing technique that they use and literally squished all of my conscious attention into my brain. I began talking to myself really quickly, saying things like, “I am detached. I am breathing. I am leaving my body alone.” and filling my intellect up. I made sure that there were absolutely NO spaces between my thoughts. And, when the expansion was over, I relaxed.

I wasn’t quite sure that this technique could be taught, but I explained it as best I could to the two women at the gym. I emphasized that it is NOT like meditation (where you seek the spaces between the thoughts) and that it takes a tremendous amount of concentration to do. I wished them luck.

A week later, a happy Mom was showing off her newborn at the gym. She told me that the technique worked 100% for her and her second birth was a breeze after her first had been horrendous. She said that, at the end, her mantra had been “thank-you Celeste, thank-you Celeste, thank-you Celeste.” After the baby was born, her husband asked, “Who the heck is Celeste?” The second woman explained to me that the technique did help her and her second birth was easier, but she wasn’t able to do it completely and always feel nothing.

So, if you are pregnant now and want to give my technique a try, be my guest. Remember, it takes a lot of concentration, you need to begin doing it before the expansion actually starts and you must keep your brain and intellect busy, busy, busy. Just knowing that something is possible often helps a great deal, but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work for you. And, for heaven’s sake, cease and desist calling them contractions! Words are very powerful and we do ourselves a disservice by even thinking of these expansions that way. Good luck and happy mothering!

© 2001 Celeste Longacre

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Celeste Longacre, 32 Longacre Lane, Alstead, NH  03602    e-mail: