I’ve been contemplating useful ways to prepare for labor and parenting— which is one of THE most important things that you’ll do with your life as a mom-to-be.
You know how in life a lot of times you make your best choices, do your best work, are your best self without THINKING about it?? Or for instance, when you’re driving (always with the driving metaphors in LA), you are constantly shifting the steering wheel a little to the left and a little to the right to keep straight.
And you do this totally by feel! You don’t have to think about it, because you’ve done it enough, you’re in a zone.
It seems to be the same thing with birthing and parenting. You’re constantly navigating, and most times thinking about it doesn’t work. In fact, too much thinking may invite unpleasant things like anxiety and suffering. Things go best when you’re using intelligence that’s not just thinking thoughts with your mind. Rather when you’re able to quiet the mind and listen to your senses, your body, your feelings, your heart, your intuition, your gut, your spirit–then you have access to a whole bunch of wisdom that the mind can’t understand.
And consider that when you’re talking about birthing and parenting, it’s like you each have one hand on the wheel and you have to drive the bus TOGETHER!
Well, it’s hard enough to get hold of your personal power, let alone activate your wonder couple powers.
So we practice. No matter how much reading and talking about this stuff y’all do together (which you should do of course!), you’re still functioning with your mind.
Ana Paula Markel talks about how she noticed a pattern in laboring women, that they generally start upright, then begin to lean, then to crawl, then squat, then lie down…lower and lower. She mentioned this to an anthropologist who confirmed that a woman in labor is basically just reverting back to her quadrupedal state, getting closer and closer to the earth.
That’s what we practice. Not everyone is immediately comfortable thinking of themselves as a quadruped. So before the baby gets hold of you and brings you directly to your knees, we gradually work on regressing to a most irrational, primal, animal state! Since we do a bit of that in yoga, it seems to be a good way in.
And when you practice moving and breathing enough, this way of being, and being together, is not weird; it’s actually quite peaceful.
It helps you feel connected to your intuition. It’s even empowering.
If I were to say one thing to do on your own together, it would be this: don’t do anything. Practice sitting together, particularly on the floor, doing nothing. And breathe.