Birthowl’s natural childbirth

Turning Fear and Pain into Relaxed Focus for Birthing

When my wife became pregnant with out first daughter, we did a lot of research into my wife’s family birthing experiences and other cultures. We found that her grandmother gave birth in a Hawaiian sugar plantation by herself.

Two children were born to her in this manner. There was no pain or distress. Labor was a matter of minutes once her waters had broken, she took a day off work, and resumed work the next day with her baby strapped to her back.

To her such an outcome was unremarkable. A later birth in the local hospital was another matter. She reported that as very painful and the labor took 10 hours. She found the whole experience very unpleasant, and demeaning in how she was treated.

We found several cultures where birthing is gentle, quiet, relatively painfree, and labor is measured in minutes once the water bag has broken. (This is not to say that conditions are ideal in many other areas in these cultures. They are not.)

We decided after comparing home birth with hospital birth to have our baby at home. We found a very supportive and kind midwife and ignored the warnings of disaster and threats of prosecution for manslaughter if anything happened to either mother or child!


When her waters broke her contractions were strong and regular and birth seemed imminent. Then as soon as the midwife and two friends arrived everything stopped. My wife was displaying symptoms of fight or flight. So I sent everyone out of the room to make tea, and as flight was impossible I got her very angry and for quite a while she pounded the pillows and mattress and shrieked her rage as loud as she could.

Once she had discharged her rage her contractions restarted and her cervix dilated, and she had a very easy birth. This experience gave me a new perspective on birth and how the birth process can be effected. From then on whenever I was called upon to attend a birth I began to suggest and apply some techniques that I had developed for mitigating or resolving chronic pain.

For a while I was quite puzzled as to why so many birthing mothers went into fight or flight when midwives, Doulas family or friends arrived or they went to a hospital. Particularly as so many these days have undergone extensive preparation for the birth with relaxation classes. Then I realised that the adrenalin rush is a primitive response designed for survival and we have probably underestimated it’s power, and while conscious training will help under some conditions, if a birthing mother unconsciously senses danger, birthing will cease until either the threat has left or the adrenalin has been discharged with violent exercise, and no amount of training will inhibit it.

We are almost certainly the only species that allows relative strangers into the birthing environment. The cultures that appear to have benign births are those where the birthing mother is attended by people who she has known all her life, or she is encouraged to give birth by herself. Even then, if the wise woman or midwife of the tribe senses a family member present who stimulates tension for the birthing mother she is asked to leave. Which brings me to a very important aspect which can have disastrous consequences for the neonate. It is to do with that we are also the only species which allows strangers into the nurturing environment before maturity.

Happy birthing and nurturing.
Rayner Garner <> 

Photo by Madaisa


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Yes, it is amazing the power the mind has over the body! In my second birth, I had had false labor a few days before and called the midwife and her assistant unnecessarily (a 2-hour drive!), so was waiting to make sure it was “the real thing.” And my husband was out of town for the day, and I wanted him to get home. So my labor took 24 hours (in comparison to my first 9-hour labor). It was quite painful, but the ctx were only about 7 minutes apart–and some of the time they were even further apart. I was angry, too–angry that I was in labor *that* day instead of when my false labor was (Memorial Day weekend’s Friday); angry that my husband was gone (even though I told him to go); and angry that my ctx were so far apart, because I was afraid to call the midwife in case of another false labor just stopping; and angry that labor was taking so long! I do remember crying in frustration, and it was probably soon after that that my water broke, and in about an hour I birthed my baby. The midwife didn’t make it, and my sister caught him. 🙂


Comment by womantowomancbe

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