Lessons of the Labor Skill Drill (1)

I am currently at work on long series of posts all centered around the various lessons a Yoga-Based Labor Skill Drill can teach and the lessons are many so I hope you can find time to read all the way through.

I always thought I would be able to trim this content down into a manageable class but I have since come to realize this was born to be blog fodder and is rich in content for many such posts. We will do the skill drills in Prenatal Yoga Class and you can read the many reasons why here. 

So here goes...

A good way to get a sense of the power of adding Yoga-Based birth skills to your birth experience comes from experiencing a Labor Skill Drill passively.

Passive drills are different and they will teach you several lessons. I ask you do to nothing other than squat, or hold your arms out, or pinch yourself with a clothespin or hold an ice cube for a couple of minutes.

One reason we do it passively is to mimic the experience that comes from the moment a woman in labor morphs from being mistress of her own domain to that of a patient, placing her care into the hands of others, and is the subject of this post.

Another reason is so that you can step back and look at your reaction to pain and the reality of your experience while in a safe, controllable, relatively pain-free environment.

Both are valuable lessons and will directly determine your birth experience be it at home, in a hospital or at the birth center, with a midwife, a doctor, or in the company of a doula and your birth partner.

Your choices will directly determine your experience. Most women in Pittsburgh, PA give birth in hospitals, and is home to The Yoga Whole studio, so it will be the most useful example.

For example: As a hospital patient on admission, a women gets placed on her back in bed, strapped to fetal monitors, a blood pressure cuff, administered an IV, given an internal exam, and asked a million questions, most of which she as already answered numerous times, etc. —all in the midst of having contractions.

She is instructed to lie still, maybe do some quiet breathing—is told that “someone will be back in 20 minutes to check on her monitors” actively steered toward medical intervention—can we get the epidural started… no need to be a hero.  Not the patient, but the equipment, the numbers, the drugs.”

In other words, YOU!! Perhaps in triage?

On your road to being managed into a quiet and cooperative patient. Maybe my language is a little extreme but no matter how nice/skilled your triage staff may turn out to be, you no longer feel in control of your birth.

You feel the discomfort of being managed— physically and mentally.

You quickly want to give up, your mind rebels and you are left feeling overwhelmed, dispirited and defeated. You start to think, maybe I’m wrong and about maybe saying yes to interventions. All the sudden it hurts, so much worse.

This moment demands a choice and it demands right knowledge, as will other such moments encountered during your birth experience.

Could your circumstances genuinely benefit from outside assistance by the medical staff?

Then by all means please get the help that you need for you and your baby. Be thankful that you live in the 21st century and have an abundance of options at your disposal, and pick the one that will be of most benefit to the two of you. Leave guilt shaming to trolls on the internet.

Could instead your circumstances be such that you are able to switch gears, work with what you’ve got going on, in this new location?

This approach will probably mean that you have to dig a little deeper, summon inner resources to find this new set of actions, ones that will help you continue coping with your birth experience. For example: The implementation of a Yoga-Based Birth Skill. Or maybe a Doula with lots of tools of the trade in her bag.

Maybe you can and maybe you can’t, either way take appropriate action. Once again, leave guilt shaming to the trolls.

When faced with such choices during birth— Yoga can be of genuine service, regardless of whether you are finding yourself accepting a hospital intervention or continuing on with different non-invasive coping strategies.

Both sets of decisions take courage and strength, there is most definitely no one right answer.

Look at your reality…assess with right knowledge…take immediate and appropriate action…don’t look back.

Knowledge replaced my fear and my suffering diminished. The Simple Truth of Yoga.

Your true choice, the real answer will depend on your own DIRECT EXPERIENCE and that can vary greatly from one woman to the next, from one pregnancy to the next.

The choice that ends suffering is the choice that needs to be made. A calm positive birth experience no matter the circumstance.

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