I’ve been wanting to write this blog for ages and I’m so glad I’ve finally got around to it!
The vast majority of my work around birth appeals to the masses. It’s not particularly hippy. It’s grounded in evidence. But the truth is, I am a bit of a hippy at heart.
The spiritual nature of birth is often so overlooked in system that’s happier when everything can be measured within an inch of it’s life. When everything can be quantified and recorded meticulously the system is happy. But measuring and recording may not always be in the best interests of the mother. It may sometimes be for fear of reprisal in a culture petrified of litigation. It’s a system where technology may be given more credence than feelings.
To embrace spirituality into our pregnancy and birth preparation is something largely forgotten in our society.
So this article will embrace the Western Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water and how can we use the teachings of these elements to inform our birth preparations.
Let’ start with Earth.
The element of Earth reminds us of the need to be connected and grounded. During pregnancy, we may feel uncharacteristically scatty; our memories shot. The classic baby brain!
To ground ourselves, we can take ourselves back to mother earth. We may sit or walk on the earth. Notice how she supports us. We can take ourselves out to the countryside if we don’t live there already or even take time out to go in our imagination; to a beautiful place where mother nature reigns supreme.
Give thanks for what she gives us; our food, our clothes, our water to drink and bathe in. Feel ultimate gratitude for gaia, Mother Earth. Feel your vibration raising and notice as those ripples come back to you. Those little miracles. Notice them everyday.
Ask Mother Nature for help, ask her to walk by your side when you need it. And when you feel strong, know you’re as strong as the great tree standing in the ancient forests. Feel her power and know she will be with you when you birth your baby. We can stand firmly on the earth and with mother nature to balance ourselves.
The element of Air reminds us of the need to breathe. Breathing slowly and mindfully and calmly is so important when it comes to birthing your baby. It’s the kind of breathe we take when we give birth without fear. It allows the most amount of oxygen in the blood to allow all your muscles and your mind to work at their best. When we scared, breathing becomes shallower and quicker and muscles become less effective. Our uterus is a muscle that surrounds our baby and helps them to exit. Breathing effectively, calmly and softly helps them to exit with greater ease.
Positive qualities also associated with air include optimism and clarity; essential for creating the perseverance necessary to continue to breathe even if the going gets tough. The element of air requires us to trust. It values independency; the knowledge we must strive for ourselves to make the best of the situation.
We can build breathing into our daily practice so by the time the birth comes or any other situation where staying calm is vital, we’ve already been there and that breathing is so much easier to access.
Fire represents our desires; our passion and intention. It’s about our enthusiasm and power of creativity. What do we want? When we have a clear vision of what we want to experience it helps us to be focused; to manifest our intentions. It’s one of the many skills learnt in Hypnobirthing as we get clear on what we want to happen using positive statements and affirmations.
I’m pretty sure it’s this fiery energy that made me ask my husband to paint our living room yellow and red just before I had my second baby! And it’s not just yellow and red. It’s YELLOW and RED! It was at my request. I must’ve been all fired up with strength and intention!
To be honest, it’s a bit ‘much’ now and I would LOVE for it to be a different calmer colour but it definitely felt right at the time! But with two little ones to care for now it’s not so high on our list of priorities!
And finally water.
Water is so important during pregnancy and birth. Water soothes us, hydrates us, it makes things clean. Our clean water supply and knowledge of hygiene is one of the key reasons birth is much safer than it has been during previous eras. We can labour and birth it in should we choose to.
We can choose to be like water. When water comes up against obstacles it flows round. It’s one of the key principles of Taoist Philosophy and if birth takes a twist or turn we hadn’t planned on, we can use our own strengths to help our healing if required, asking ourselves questions like ‘what works?’, ‘What’s worked in the past?’, ‘Who can support us?’
Stay hydrated during pregnancy and birth. It’s so important to keep up your energy.
The buoyancy of the water in a birthing pool, should you choose to use one, helps us to get into the positions needed for your baby to wriggle down and get into the best position for birth.
We can imagine a beautiful waterfall as we breathe out, using our intentions to breathe our baby’s down. More about this later.
Whether you believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience or not; nurturing ourselves using the teachings of these elements can only be a good thing, right?
If you’d like to find out more about how you can nurture your spirit and empower yourself through pregnancy and birth, I teach Hypnobirthing and Birth Empowerment in Manchester, Cheshire and Stockport. The next group classes start on June 17th at The Yard Studio, Alderley Edge and June 18th at The Wonder Inn, Shudehill, Manchester City Centre. 1:1’s sessions also available. Do get in touch if this calls to you. With Love, Kati x