How do we birth when the boy keeps crying wolf?

Photography: kadeklerk photography

By Claire Eccleston, Midwife, Spinning Babies ® approved trainer, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist. © 2020.

I am in my car driving. I have some music on. My little one is in the back telling me about his day. My teenager is next to me and we are making plans. Google maps is talking to me. A text comes through and the message plays (I’m a midwife, I need to listen to it). I hear the indicator ticking. I am watching the road, the pedestrians, I am aware of red lights and road rules. My phone rings. I see advertising signs. I’m thinking about what to make for dinner and if I remembered to hang the washing out.  

We get home… I feed the cat, the dog, hang the washing (I’d forgotten), make the dinner, sweep the floor. 15 emails have come through… My brain and space is stretched to capacity. Every sense is full. The incoming information is constant. 

The dance is like 90s’ electronica dance music except there is no ecstasy in this one.  

One day I had 15 emails about a shared lunch at my sons school, who was bringing what etc. It’s great that there is easy and quick communication; it’s just that there is so much of it. I switch off.

Except I cant switch off. I support my little one off to sleep, then spend some time creating some internal order in my being after the chaos of my day. Coming to a place of feeling semi-settled but not spaciousness.  

To survive my day, my brain and mind need to be ON, switched to staccato. The constant input is the boy is crying wolf all the time – i.e. my nervous system is jumpy – and my body thinks the wolf is coming all the time, flight or fight, eyes wide open, on alert. Cortisol driven, linear in my process. Adrenaline is driving the waka (boat) – oxytocin is well below decks. The pace of my body, the needs of my body slower than the demands of my external life.  

I birthed Nimai, my first son, 20 years ago. I had hyperemesis (severe morning sickness). There were no cells phones. We lived in the bush in Australia. I lay and breathed and vomited and breathed .

In and out, belly rise and fall. 

In and out, belly rise and fall. 

I birthed and mothered with spaciousness. I dropped into baby rhythm easily.

In and out, belly rise and fall. 







In and out, belly rise and fall.  

Michel Odent has written a lot about our capacity to keep reproducing a species. Questioning what is happening to our abilities to give birth and mother/parent with relative ease.

Birth and early mothering requires us to be in our bodies. To honour the pace of our bodies (which is often substantially slower than the staccato of the mind). Our bodies are big receptive listening devices, our breasts leak milk when our baby wakes to feed and we are at the supermarket. Yet how do we drop in and parent in these squishy receptive bodies when we receive and dance in continually humming chaos?

Love making (how the baby is made) also requires us to be in our bodies (if you want to really enjoy it). It’s really hard to relax into the moment if the kids are fighting outside the door and you’re worried about burning the pasta sauce.  

There is incredible power and intelligence in the pleasure of our bodies and in our bodies themselves.  

One of the advisors for Hitler counselled for keeping people separate from the pleasure of their bodies. His rationale was that those that don’t feel pleasure in their bodies are disconnected from their bodies – when people are disconnected from their bodies, they are less likely to trust themselves, therefore they are easier to control. The organised religions in the west have done a magnificent job of this over the last few hundred years, tampering with women’s relationships to their own bodies.  

The modern day disconnect is our pace and information overload. Our high adrenalised systems. It keeps us plugged in and numb.  

As a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, I listen to the rhythms in a client’s system. The flow of the cerebral spinal fluid, the rocking of the cranio bones and the sacrum, the movement of the liver and the heart. When a system is happy, all the systems are doing their own dance in alignment with each other, like a massive ballroom full of dancers all in rhythm to different dances.

Perhaps as much as we support birthing people to get ready for birth by providing information, discussing informed decision making and sharing information about self-care and the positions and exercise that might help, do we also need to address our disembodiment? Not only for the birthing person but for care providers. How do we tone down the calls for wolf and support our nervous systems?

In a culture that values mental intelligence over the intelligence of physiology, many birth givers have not yet learned to trust or have lost trust in the intelligence of their own bodies, yet in birthing, trusting one’s body is a crucial step in being able to yield into the sensations of labour.

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