Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tuning into the moment

Tanya, my dental hygienist says of her recent birth experience to her 3-month-old baby boy, "I was fully present for the moments I wanted to be fully present for."  Of course I reflected on her statement and pondered, "What are the moments that we want to be fully present for?  For me, I wanted to be as fully present for the entire experience as I could because in my mind, it would bring me closer to my baby.  This may sound irrational, but I've long felt that love is not about what is rational but rather what one is willing to risk for the sake of truth, connection, and happiness.

Consider that in labor, unlike most of life's moments when our vision rules most of our perceptions, it will be what you hear that will help to heighten your awareness to the experience. 

Begin now, in your pregnancy.  Take a safe, comfortable seated or lying posture.  Bring your attention to your breathing and as you exhale, feel how the eyes so naturally want to close. Keep your attention focused lightly on your breathe, and let yourself be drawn to the gentle sound of the breathe moving out of your body.  Gradually, let the sound of your exhalations become louder, so that you begin to make a soft humming sound. With every exhalation, like a gentle flowing water fall, let your awareness be drawn to the sound inside.  What do you notice?  Can you feel how the sound of your breathing helps to quiet and sooth your mind?

How does your baby respond to your more audible breathe? Do you feel that your baby is more active or quieted by the sound? Consider that your baby is cushioned in approximately 2 quarts of fluid and that sound waves travel much quicker through fluid than that of air.
 I am reminded of a very endearing story about how qucickly sound travels through water.  The story teller was in our circle,  pregnant with her first child.  She said "when I was younger I'd go and visit my grandmother who lived on the lake. My grandmother warned me, don't share your secrets on the beach unless you want our neighbors across the lake to hear you."   So the gentle humming on your exhalations will certainly be subtely felt by your baby.  We can use our mindful, more audible sounds to help make a stronger connection in pregnancy.   For example, as you sound, direct the energy to the space that your baby holds in your body, or imagine him/her in your mind.

In labor, we can apply the same principles. The gentling humming, infused with thoughts of holding your baby in your arms, or usurps from your diary that bid farewell to a most cherish confinement  help to deepen our connections. 

The sound of birth.  When your baby slips out of your body, most likely it will not be what you will see that will tether your moment, but rather what you will hear.  Consider that the actual moment of birth is so intense for most women that they are unable to clearly see their babies.
Too, the release of rectal pressure often forces the spine into extension causing the head to be gently thrusted back so that your eyes initially will be directed up, towards the ceiling.  So for several seconds, it will be what you hear that keeps you more connected to the moment. The now empty, hollow space that once held the reassuring sounds of your baby's thumbing, beating heart beat will quickly acquise to the sounds of your baby's first gasps for new life, and your careproviders gleeful shares of joyful celebration.

Of course, your eyes will certainly devour the first sight of your newborn. But until then, practice stilling the mind with the sounds of your breathe to help yourself be fully present for these precious, short lived moments.

Let yourself make a strong connection between the sound of your breathe, your mind, and connection with your baby.  Who knows, you just may find yourself so mesmerized by what you hear in labor that you'll want to live more of your life tuned into every moment.

Together, forever, in our hearts,


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