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
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
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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