Sooo, if you have read my other posts you've probably learned by now that I have never been pregnant or given birth. You also might remember where I talked about how my whole life I have been a physical mess, super tight shoulders and neck, never able to stand up completely straight without being in pain. OH and you probably didn't know this, but I have always hated working out.
Wouldn't you know, I ended up falling in love with a man that loves to work out, so much so that he became a trainer for it! Where am I going with this? What does it have to do with birth or the other posts on this blog? Well, I am marrying this man, so of course all of these futuristic thoughts about our life have started going around in my head. Where we are going to live, our children, being pregnant... cuz being around all these pregnant mamas and getting baby snuggles doesn't help baby fever, let me tell ya! I also have decided to become a doula and in doing so I've studied all sorts of ways to stay loosey goosey during labor and have been writing about it and putting together my game plan for my clients. Putting these pieces together, the way women's brains do, I decided to try to put my money where my mouth is. I decided that since I'm getting married soon, and I didn't know when I would be getting pregnant, added with the fact that I'm going to be helping women get loosey goosey as a doula, that it might be wise to start working on my own body! I figured it would be easier than trying to stretch when my belly and everything else is already working on overdrive. I wouldn't say I felt scared, but I definitely felt unprepared physically when it comes to having a baby.
Just kidding, just kidding. It does hurt, but it's not torture. I enlisted my fiance to help with this endeavor and he has been absolutely amazing. I was even thinking that this was a sort of training for when I am actually pregnant and in labor! He was stretching and massaging me the other day and I said "You're doing so great and this is practice for when I'm pregnant and in labor!!" and he said "That's awesome, when do we get to start practicing for when I'M pregnant and in labor??"
One of the first things I have noticed is this, when I feel pain my first reaction is to STOP BREATHING. I literally just wrote a post about this, and I was already not doing what I had told everyone else to do. Now, you might be thinking that the pain I'm feeling is nothing compared to child birth. You're probably right, but, you also have to understand that for almost 22 years my body has been curled in and used to this one position, my lungs didn't even know how to act when I could actually take a full breath because I opened my chest fully! I actually almost passed out cuz my body was like "Whaaaaaat". If the top of your body is a jacked up mess, your lower body probably is too, and that's definitely the case for me, I've driven a stick shift for 5 years now. Let me just say... I have never been able to touch my toes and now it's ridiculous, but I barely lean forward and already feel the pain from the pull. How am I going to give birth to a baby if I can barely stretch my legs and it hurts just sitting indian style?
Why do I stop breathing when I feel pain? I think it comes from a subconscious place of control, especially if my fiance is pulling my arms to help me stretch, I can't control HIM but I can control the pain my own way. It didn't seem as bad if I held my breath, at least, for a second. It almost suspends whatever progress you're making. When I breathed out, I felt the stretch that was happening, I felt it loosen the muscles and almost felt them "give" as they stretched. I felt my body straighten and lengthen as I was laying there on my back stretcher with my arms above my head. Breathing out almost gave me an extra inch that I needed to allow him to pull my arms in the attempt to touch my toes, that I wouldn't have had, if I held my breath.
Honestly, the pain that I was feeling was a little ridiculous, it shouldn't have hurt as bad as it did for me to do such normal things like sit up straight without having a chair at my back. What was funny to me is that I was having tons of lower back pain due to my pelvis being out of alignment so it really felt like an advance lesson in what labor would be like. It did however help me learn some things. Like, breathing is not over rated, it truly helps. Pain can be scary, but it doesn't have to be. Having my fiance there to help me, was such a blessing. I was able to just look him in the eyes the whole time as he held me up, pushed me a little more than I was willing to myself, reminded me to breathe when I wanted control. It also showed me that we are a wonderful team, and I know that being in a laboring situation, he is going to be absolutely wonderful!
I'm trying to put my money where my mouth is. To get my body used to being loosey goosey, to breathe in the midst of pain. To embrace my fiance and his help. If I can't stretch my legs now how will it be when I'm in labor? If I start training my body now maybe it'll be a bit easier.
Doulas can help you when you are in that place where you just need another inch, you just need to go for a minute longer, they can help to gently push you when you think you have nothing left. We can also train your partner to do these things with you. A strong support person is so important and can change your birth space in powerful ways. If just looking into my future husbands eyes helped with stretching, how much more powerful and centering will it be when I give birth one day?
Stretching and doing soft workouts during pregnancy can benefit you as well, I encourage you to look into those and see for yourself what works for you and your body, to see where it is before your birth to help you start out Loosey Goosey! Seeing a Chiropractor frequently during pregnancy is also wonderful, you'd be surprised how it can effect your entire body, being out of alignment.