a meditation for my childbirth
As I arrange myself in a comfortable position, I focus on lengthening my spine, pulling the base of my neck away from my tailbone. I am sending rooting energy down into the earth, and stretching my neck, long, long, long into the sky.
I am sitting crosslegged, or lying still on my side. I begin to breathe long, gentle breaths. I inhale, taking in energy and peace from the air around me, expanding my abdomen. I pause, and exhale completely, sending out fear, and impatience, and inhibitions.
Again, I inhale, breathing deeply until my breath fills my belly, my intestines, my ribs, my shoulders with its calm, cooling power. Again, I exhale, pressing my belly button toward my spine, sending out distractions, and tension, and pain.
Each breath fills me with confidence, with the knowledge that I am surrounded by an ever-expanding aura of pride, and happiness, and certainty, and peace. As my blood pumps slowly through my veins, it sends its healthiness to my baby, his own heart beating loudly in his ears, sending blood coursing through his small body, and with each rapid heartbeat he is encoursed with my love, and health, and power. He is so strong, and yet I am strength for both of us.
As a contraction starts, it fills the bottom of my uterus with expanding pressure first, then radiates with its yawning spidery fingers all around my baby, sending warmth and an explosion of power around to the top, pressing into my ribs. I open my lungs, inhale deeply, feel the energy of my breath expanding my ribcage and spreading my shoulders wide. My jaw is relaxed, my lips are slightly parted, and every cell of my being is focused on the slow, gentle, easing open of the mouth of my cervix.
Like warm, viscous liquid, my cervix melts into a wider and wider passageway for my baby. As my uterus relaxes, my baby begins to move again, secure in his knowledge that he is safe and his journey will be brief. My cervix becomes soft, soft, ever softer, its warmth and width increasing ever so gradually until it is the most simple thing in the world for my baby to slide gently down its length.
As I rest between contractions, again I feel my breath, expanding my belly, sending its cool, powerful glow throughout my body. I focus on a sound, the buh-bump, buh-bump, buh-bump of my baby's heart, the calming voices of the doula, nurses, doctors, friends and family around me. I hear these things, I smell the perfume of flowers brought to welcome the birth, of the shampoo in my hair, of all the good things surrounding me. And with each exhale, I send out worries, fear, impatience.
With each contraction, I feel stronger, more in tune with my body, more patient, more confident. And I can feel my cervix effacing and dilating, spreading wide so that it can carry its tiny passenger on the most important journey of his short life. He has been growing inside me for more than 200 days, each moment from the instant of conception to now, cells multiplying furiously, creating the baby that will soon take his first breath. Each minute of his life thus far, a miracle has occurred to make him a whole and perfect human.
Together, we move inexorably toward birth, each breath I take breathing life into his passageway, into him, each contraction preparing the way for him. My body is loose and liquid and soft, yet stronger than at any time before in my life. Every muscle is tuned to its goal. Every heartbeat sending twice its normal volume of blood through my veins.
I am strong for my baby, and he is strong for me. We grow closer together as we move towards the moment when we will separate, no longer two beings in one body, but two distinct beings, each with our own breath. Today I see for him, move for him, eat for him, pump blood for him, take each long breath of air for him. Soon, so soon, he will breath on his own, suck milk on his own, use his eyes to see his first lights.
Our rhythm becomes stronger, more in tune, he feels what I feel. The pressure of each contraction squeezes his body as it squeezes my lungs. It is discomfort, but for a lofty goal. Life, his life, is about to launch a separate course from mine.
As I prepare for the moment of birth, the quickening of contractions and the heightening of pain, I feel the strength of millions of women who have come before me, who are laboring with me, who are to come. Throughout millenia women like me and very much unlike me have struggled to conceive, have communed with their babies, have suffered pain and hope and joy and have come to this moment. To this moment of birth. And they have laughed, they have sung, they have grunted and screamed and sighed and moaned, through the birth of their children. They have cried, all the tears flowing down their cheeks, to dissipate into the atmosphere, coalescing into clouds, raining down on my head, into the water I drink, coursing back into my body, to renew themselves as my tears. Everywhere around me, the air is charged with the energy of these women who have given birth generation after generation, of their sons' and daughters' first lusty cries, their life fuels my life, their energy fuses with my energy. I can hear their thoughts, their fears and hopes and dreams, pounding in my brain with an ever-increasing frenetic energy.
They are all pulling for me, for my birth, for my baby, and as I hear them in my mind their voices become quiet, a whisper, a low chant almost like a moan, a moan that continues in the background of my brain. And I hear the voices of those close to me, my friends and family and all those who love me, telling me that I am strong, I am beautiful, and in birth I am protected.
And I pray, that God will keep me and the baby safe, and I imagine the moment of birth. The urge to push my baby down my birth canal, I can feel that it is possible, more than possible, easy. He wants to be born, he wants to feel that cool air on his face, and more than that he is wanted. His desire to be born is unequaled by our desire to hold him, to shower him with love and kisses and a lifetime of mutual learning. We will teach him how to eat, how to hug, how to tie his shoes, and he will teach us how to love more deeply, how to wonder at life.
And I feel the strength and power of my uterus, my cervix, and I push. With every breath, with every urge that overtakes my body, I gather up the strength around me, in the air, in my blood, the low chant of millions of women pounding in my belly, and I push.