my own understanding of what is natural. I do not in fact see "a natural birth" as some absolute value but rather as an aspiration, a direction, a path of potential fulfilment, rather than any goal in itself or any set of parameters to be satisfied. I actually prefer to teach "how to birth more naturally" rather than how to have "a natural birth" - a subtle difference, but one which can make every woman a winner beforehand, on the day, and afterwards. It is my conviction that any woman can head towards a more natural birthing experience and can achieve a more natural birth than otherwise would have been, no matter what her health, no matter where she gives birth, and no matter whatever her needs for medical assistance may be on the day. In the end, it is your satisfaction which matters, rather than any definition of what is natural or the attainment of any goal.
My personal appreciation of natural childbirth is not limited solely to the stages of labour or interventions which may occur, nor is it dependent on the venue, but also includes the models of pre-natal care, early labour, active birthing and placental delivery as well as the important time of post-natal care. One's aspirations towards a more natural birth should pervade the whole of the journey from conception, through gestation, childbirth and beyond - into the baby's formative years. I don't believe that natural birthing can be some tack-on event to a basically unnatural life, nor that one should mentally set up a dividing line of good things and bad things to happen during the birth, where on one side you pass and on the other you fail. This is a sure-fire recipe for anxiety and disappointment.
Neither do I see natural birthing simply as a badge to earn on a particular day. It is a lifestyle thing - just a small part of natural mothering. That's why this book is so huge! It is all so connected. Each aspect of our mothering is so much a part of everything before it and after it. To separate a mother's birthing experiences from the rest of her life is nonsensical.
As mentioned many times previously, mother-ing does not start with a new babe in arms. Naturalness in childbirth should spring from a naturalness in womanhood and comes down to a woman discovering in herself and being able to manifest in any required event, her inner motherhood resources which nature has instilled in her from (her own) birth. In this way a natural birth depends far more on what has gone before the day, than what actually happens on it.
So we see that birthing naturally is really a very simple concept. It is just something you aspire towards and something you look for in yourself. But like many things that start off seeming simple, in reality they are found to be quite hard. Over time however, they do become easier, such that when you look back, you see what a simple thing it really is after all! Getting natural can be like that, particularly if you start off far from natural in the first place.
If it were only as simple as saying that all a woman needs to give birth is herself and her nest, that would be great. But unfortunately most modern women must be taught how to be natural, or more exactly, how to un-learn being un-natural.
As I have mentioned many times previously, the actual event of birthing naturally depends so much on the lead-up, that is your preparedness. Birthing naturally depends so much on one's gestating naturally approach. All these lead-in factors have been well covered before now, so in this section we will be focussing on the actual day.
In considering the elements which birthing naturally encompasses the list would include the following:
• one’s philosophy, perspective and spiritual understanding of birth
• one’s relationship with nature
• one’s attitudes and abilities to surrender control of oneself to something far greater
• one’s sense of there being an appropriate place and time for giving birth
• one’s need for support from other people, and who those people should be
• one’s understanding of one’s body, feelings and thoughts
• one’s understanding and control of one’s energy – be it physical, emotional, intellectual or psychic
• one’s desires and needs for unbridled self expression
• one’s attitudes to drugs and interventions
• one’s relationship with the inner being of the baby
• one’s commitment to self sufficiency
• one’s dependency on outer factors as opposed to inner ones
• one’s understanding of the purpose of birthing pain.
For every woman all these variables will affect how much of a natural birth she might aim for, and how much of that goal she might eventually achieve. I hope there might be no misunderstand-ing by any reader that there is some "perfect birth" or some "perfectly natural birth". I do not mean anywhere in the book to recomm-