In Portugal is becoming more common for women wanting to have doula support during their pregnancy and birth. Less of these couples are aware of the relevance of also planning their postpartum, and this will also be the topic of the next articles.
I am a professional Portuguese photographer besides being a doula, and if there’s something all photographers have as a skill that can be more or less developed, it’s the ability to be present and observe the environment they are in, especially the ones that work in a more photojournalistic or even documentary way.
Being a Birth photographer and doula I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about that space and time that I call “in Between” which is the period between labor and the birth of a baby – a transition phase for the mother, for the baby, and for the father.
Yes, it is for sure, also a delicate process for the father of the baby that is about to be born, but In this article, I wanna go deep and explore with you what is happening with mother and baby during labor that our eyes can’t see.
Birth as a Whole Being Experience
As everything in our bodies, also in labor, nothing works separately and every area or dimension of our human being impacts the whole.
The whole is the physical, biological, emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual aspects of life.
So there’s no such thing as a woman being in labor, and hormones being released and contractions being effective without the mental, emotional, and spiritual side of herself being untouched.
Every aspect of her being is moved and they all interact and influence each other, so the miracle can be the miracle.
Naturally, some women will want to run away from it or even disguise it, and I do believe that can be one of the reasons why some births run less smoothly which is used as an argument for the abuse of interventions.
Evidence shows that the environment that surrounds women during labor and birth also influences their behavior and their overall experience as feeling supported or unsupported, coping or not coping with the process, in trust or not, satisfied or frustrated…
If we consider Birth as a lifetime event with percussions on women’s and newborns’ health and well-being, we need to start looking at these 3 aspects:
1. Birth is much more than just a physiologic event, birth is also a spiritual journey;
2. We all, as women, partners, and professionals dealing with maternity need to understand pregnancy, birth, and postpartum as an ongoing process of transformations as a whole, if we wanna offer quality of care to women and couples during this period of life;
3. The great majority of us need to recognize that our culture neglects spirituality as part of the experience of being human, but if we wanna live this period of life with the dignity it requires, we need to start looking at it or in my opinion our services won’t be sync with what reality requires.
I am lucky to have been present as a birth photographer/ doula at the birth of dozens of babies at home that were respected and embraced following the reality of their physiologic needs (some at hospitals).
As long as labor and birth are not disturbed by the medical obsolete rules and practices, the atmosphere of a birth scenario is uniquely catching, emotional and beautiful.
To give birth, whether at home or in a Hospital a woman is called to go deeper to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist and cooperate in this event.
Unfortunately, that place is not a place we are used to contacting within our ordinary occidental life and that’s why birth is scary for most women and for sure for their partners.
It´s a big lack of trust!
Trust in what?
Themselves! Their ability to do what is beyond the mind’s conception of being possible, tolerable, or even understood.
Fear as the opportunity
Maybe the 9 months of gestation are not just the time the fetus needs to develop and be ready for the earth side experience, but it is also a time for mothers to develop their relationship with their inner-self and the world of all possibilities – the world that puts us all in this planet and it is within every living form.
If a woman goes through their pregnancy just dealing with issues related to the world of form, she will be surprised and possibly will get scared at labor because labor in itself is this unavoidable meeting between these 2 worlds – the world of form and the world of spirit.
Pregnancy is an invitation to experience the miracle of life, so investing time in practical and simple moments in which you can go beyond the form will build trust and confidence in you – which is also in life.
Everything in life to be mastered needs practice and consistency – that´s why we need to decide on which areas of our lives we wanna focus our attention on, or we get lost with all the demands out there.
If you don´t have any practice or tool that can offer you the sweet feeling of being connected to the whole, know in your heart that there is an invisible intelligence in everything, and you and your baby are an example of that.
You can make contact with the divine within you if you wish to.
As a doula I truly enjoy giving the right guidance to help women connect with their inner selves, to (re)discover their strength and wisdom so they can go through pregnancy and childbirth with a deep sense of confidence and trust for decision-making along the process and have the birth experience they dream of.
Breath, movement, and touch are some of the tools I use and can be of great help during labor and birth
Somewhere, deep inside all of us, at a primal level, our cells, hormones, mind, and soul know this, so ask yourself if you are curious and wanna access that inner knowing and respect life as it is – SACRED.
(Doula, Massage, Maternity/ Birth photography & Film in Lisbon)