It’s common knowledge that a major factor in realizing a healthy outcome for yourself and your baby is determined by something quite simple: what you eat. When the time is right, a well-nourished body has the power to bring new, strong life into the world. What is much less recognized is the role a well-nourished mind and heart play in the birth process. I place all three aspects of nurturance on equal footing. When you have a clear, calm mind, it follows that your heart is clear too; you are able to love and it is love that gets a baby born. In the absence of fear, oxytocin and endorphins flood a woman’s body. They are called the “hormones of love” and without them, a spontaneous birth is impossible. With them, like the beating of your heart and the breathing of your body, your uterus pulses, contracting and opening in ever increasing rhythm, spiraling your baby through you, as your mind comes fully into your experience, neither concerned about the past, nor worried about the future. This is the natural meditation, the ecstatic state, life brings you into, when you give birth in circumstances that feel good. You are an embodiment of love, as is your baby, and in love, the two of you will flourish; having given birth, your milk flows and all is well. Two become one again.
Fear is junk food for your heart and soul and it is freely available. It withers your trust in yourself and poisons your mind. Fear tells you you know nothing and should therefore rely on others. Fear doubts life’s intelligence and says expecting the worst is rational and controlling the birth process will keep you safe. Fear is the darkness born out of generations of women who experienced giving birth as a profound separation from themselves and those they loved. Many of our grandmothers and great grandmothers gave birth while unconscious and alone, save for some strangers who thought that a woman was a hazard to her baby and so treated her as such. After birth, babies were kept away from their mothers as much as possible; formula feeding made this separation easy. The result was at least a few generations of women who really didn’t know much about their own inherent wisdom. They had experts instead.
As a society, we are still in the midst of healing our ignorance, and each of us has the task of deepening our intimacy with ourselves, embracing our fear in the larger arms of our faith. How many hours do we spend searching the Internet for what we’ll never find there? Immersing your mind in sensation, rather than information, will give you the vital knowledge you need to stand in your own ground as the source and force of life. I am part of a lineage of Yoga teachers, which knows this and has the practical tools to nourish relationships, beginning with your relationship to yourself. As a Doula, I use my skills of intimacy with the birthing women I work with. To know how your body feels, how it breathes, what it needs and desires, is to know your reality; then you can take intelligent action. Yoga is relationship and it is relationship that moves the life force, nothing else.
I’m so happy to have joined the team at the Integrative Health Institute because everyone here understands that nothing and no one is separate. Our body works as a whole, just as each of us is part of the whole of life. As a pregnant woman, the power of life is literally within you. True intelligence isn’t distinct from great love; the two are one. In a culture of fear, something simple you can trust.
Crescence Krueger has a deep understanding of what women need in order to give birth. Over the last twenty-one years, her work as a doula has brought her again and again into the heart of women’s authentic power, as they give birth not only to their babies, but also to themselves as mothers. Crescence practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Downtown Toronto.