our work, pregnancy, reflections

Mentoring from the Heart

Supriya and I are now three weeks into a year long journey that will lead to us becoming certified childbirth educators with Birthing from Within and although we have already dived in deep, I feel I am still just scratching the surface.

Rather than using the term educator, which could imply an old-school paradigm of teacher and student, we are encouraged to use the word mentor, which describes a person with experience and understanding who guides others to find their own wisdom and direction.

As you may know, if you’ve read some of read my previous posts, such as this one, Pam England’s (founder of BfW) work has been a great source of inspiration for our work with pregnant women and their partners.

What I love about the BfW approach is that it takes a completely different angle than conventional childbirth education, using a variety of creative and experiential tools to enable parents to access their inner knowing as well of making sense of the various information, opinions and decisions they may encounter through the childbearing year.

As someone who holds creativity and spirituality deep in the core of my daily life, I resonate with the use of art, archetype, story and metaphor that makes this practice so unique.

What is more, the course is causing me to explore and question my own stories and assumptions about birth which is a challenging but necessary process.

I look forward to the unfolding of inspiration and insights over the coming months as we add depth and richness to this rewarding work.

birth, labour, reflections

Leave the clock behind

As a pregnant woman, surrounded by a birth culture that is obsessed with monitoring the progress of labour, it is hard not to focus on how long labour has lasted and how long and frequent your contractions are.

Yet it appears to me that the habit of ‘watching the clock’ from the first rhythmic twinges of early labour can make the process seem long, drawn out and eventually exhausting.

timing-contractions

Every woman’s labour is different to the next and the effacement and dilation of the cervix can happen in fits and starts rather than along a predictable curve, so even if you are closely timing your labour it doesn’t mean you know how far you’ve come or how far you have to go, which is ultimately what all women long to know.

In the world of birth, you hear a lot about long labours, fatigue and lack of progress, which then lead to interventions such as the use of synthetic oxytocin to speed up the labour or epidural anasthesia to enable a mother, who has been labouring for many hours, to rest .

But what if our image and expectations of labour were different? What if, instead of watching the clock or the smartphone app to time contractions, a woman in the early stirrings of labour set her mind on some other absorbing task? Continue reading “Leave the clock behind”

groups, our work, pregnancy

Pregnancy Circle

gaiagoddess

We have been blessed with the opportunity to work with a circle of beautiful pregnant mamas right in the heart of our rural community.

You know what it’s like when you set an intention for a new project and then the universe seems to send opportunities flowing in the direction you want to go? Well it has felt a bit like that for me and Supriya.

Having been dreaming and scheming about coming together to work with birth and pregnancy in central Portugal, a few months ago, we committed to this exciting collaborative process.

No sooner had we sealed this agreement, doors started opening to allow us to engage with this rewarding work.

The fortnightly pregnancy circle is one of those doors.

The meetings are held in a cozy home setting and include some or all of the following elements:

~ Sharing circle – checking in, how we are feeling and what is happening in our lives

~ Yoga / Movement, led by Supriya, who trained with Birthlight

~ Birth Stories – a chance to share and process previous birth experiences in a supportive environment

~ Creative exercises – we use simple art and writing exercises, inspired by Birthing from Within, to access unconscious beliefs and fears around pregnancy, birth and parenthood

~ Deep relaxation – each session ends with a guided relaxation to allow for integration and rest

Currently, we are running this group in the Coja area of Arganil. If you’d like to know more about what we offer, you can read about our birth doula service or our birth preparation courses. Or if you are interested in joining the pregnancy circle or setting up a similar group in your area, get in touch.