At the time I fell pregnant I had just embarked on a life changing decision, I had been managing a children’s Yoga franchise along with my husband using a business loan and the dream was not all it had promised to be. More money was coming out than coming in and not enough teachers could be found to help me share the work load.
I had just returned from a magical trip to Goa where I had my beautiful wedding following four intense weeks of Yoga and I found that I was ready to move out of the parental home and find my feet in the world shortly after landing back in England. It was at this time that some friends of ours were looking at renting so we decided to pull our resources together and go for a house share, unaware that the universe had different ideas. Plan A to move out never materialized and left my husband suggesting a dramatic plan B to sell up everything and go to sunny Australia on a working holiday visa to see what would await us there.
PREPARING FOR BIRTH
Weighed down by far too much luggage and fear, home with all it’s unfinished business and lose ends dragged us back again after 3 months at which time the baby bump was well and truly apparent.
During the early phases of pregnancy I mostly travelled around Australia and New Zealand so I armed myself with Tara Lee’s Pregnancy in Health DVD and practiced whenever I was not exploring and hiking through nature.
As I had only been practicing yoga for two years on an irregular basis I often found the full 70 minute routine too challenging to complete and furthermore all of the poses which satisfied my ego’s need to achieve such as inversions and binding poses were now disallowed, knocking my motivation even further. I did however, delight in the partner sessions which were a wonderful way to involve and connect my husband in to my pregnancy experience. I also regularly took part in the amazing visualization and restorative practice which always without fail left me feeling re-energized and re-vitalized.
MOVING THROUGH PREGNANCY
My pregnancy treated me well, or perhaps you could say that I treated pregnancy well, eating a vegetarian diet and keeping stretched and on the move I’m sure helped me avoid most common pregnancy ailments. Towards the final trimester I could thankfully still balance in tree on one leg and was as supple as ever. The only downside was having to get up and have my sleep disturbed every night to keep using the toilet… little did I know that this would prepare me well for the arrival of baby!
MY CHOICE OF BIRTH
At the beginning of my pregnancy I was debating on whether to tell close family my choice of birth. Having always been an alternative and non-conformist type I knew that others liked to question me and did not always understand my choices. I could never have for seen the amount of fear that my decision to have an unassisted home birth would create amongst so many people, perhaps because it questioned our culture of letting others take responsibility for our own actions and their consequences?
No amount of research or re-assurance that I understood my own body would convince those around me that I was sane and not endangering the life of myself and my child. It was difficult dealing with others negativity and lack of support for the choices I had made and I thank god for my amazing husband who was with me every step of the way, even to catch the baby as he arrived!
USING THE BREATH
It was at this stage of pregnancy where pranyama (breathing techniques to mange pain), mantras (using sound to control emotions) and positive visualizations came into their own. These are aspects of Yoga that many people who step on to their mats often forget about but which were a vital part of my successful active pregnancy and birth. The birth was approximately 12 hours long and was by no means easy although anything worth doing rarely is!
My son Ulysses was born at 2.25am weighing approximately 7lbs with no complications. He arrived on a very chilly Sunday 5th December 2010 in the bath tub in our small one bedroom flat in Brighton.
I had not undergone any scans or antenatal care only blood tests so had no idea what was coming my way. I had a trust in the ability of my body being able to perform exactly what it was designed to do.
We had the hospital number in case of emergency but did not wish to invite in any interference with midwives or anyone else who I did not trust in 100%.
CONNECTING WITH MY BODY
Yoga helped me to understand and connect with my body so well that it gave me the confidence to manage my own sensations and trust my own instincts about how the birth was progressing. The whole experience was the most intense and amazing time of my life and I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it.
Letting go has been a big aspect of my life since my pregnancy and birth. I’ve let go of material possessions, money, people, work and most importantly my fear… when you come face to face with the responsibility of bringing a new life in to the world without intervention or direct guidance it really is the closest a women can come to facing her own fear of death. I have learnt that the fear of birth and death go together hand in hand and it is at times like these when a spiritual practice such as yoga can be your best guide and source of support.
A LOTUS BIRTH
Furthermore, I chose to have a lotus birth and leave the umbilical cord to detach from the placenta naturally. I believed this would give the best physical and spiritual start for the baby. There were just two things I needed for my birthing experience, my supportive birth partner, my husband and my Yoga.