Information Frenzy vs. Awareness Moment

By Pam England

Are you wondering what "birthing from within" means? Or how does a mother "give birth from within"? In a word: awareness. Rather than acting from conditioning (primarily arising from fear, avoiding blame or conflict, and believing experts know more), a woman can prepare by being pregnant in-awareness. Each day she can bring attention to what she is telling herself and to what she is feeling in her physical and emotional body when she receives information, advice, or has an impulse to act or to avoid.It would seem at first glance that a mother who gathers lots of information during pregnancy is motivated and headed in the "right direction." However, a more important detail of her preparation is her being aware of what is motivating her to become so well-informed. What does the drive for information-gathering feel like in her body? How does she know in her bones and gut how to use the information? And to what degree is she is aware of any of this?

Pregnant woman We certainly want our health-care practitioners (doctors, midwives, and nurses) to be well-informed about physiology, diagnosis, a variety of treatments, and pharmacology. Hunting for and assimilating new information is part of their chosen professions, and they should be passionate and diligent about it. However, a pregnant woman, with only months or weeks before giving birth, does not have time to gather, learn, and assimilate all the information out there. Many women are conditioned to believe that if they have lots of information, then they will "pass the test" or be able to control their birth outcome. Gathering birth information, statistics, and "options" sometimes becomes a kind of addiction; parents can feel the adrenaline and endorphin surges as they learn, learn, learn by surfing the web, reading, and generally looking to the "experts out there" for facts and advice. There is often an extra surge of energy when their eyes are glued to birth reality TV shows or intense documentaries.

If a pregnant woman is not listening to the subtle messages in her body, in her breath, in her dreams, or in the patterns in her thoughts and emotions, then she is acting from her conditioning and habit-- not from awareness. From the outside, no one may be able to tell the difference, but on the inside, she will feel the difference.

Here is a practice for pregnant women (and their partners):

The first step in birthing (and living) in-awareness is to turn your attention inward each day. One of the important tasks of pregnancy is to consciously tune in to, develop, and trust your own new maternal intuition. While you are growing a baby in your belly, it's a good time to grow awareness  and pay attention to "gut instinct."

In the same way you take a prenatal vitamin every day, take an "Awareness Moment" everyday. 

Choose a time of day in your busy life when you can find ten minutes to spare. Commit to enjoying your ten minute Awareness Moment during this time. Doing it at the same time each day adds rhythm and grounding to your life; it also makes the practice more potent, more quickly. Focus and concentration actually increase relaxation and awareness of your body, mind, breath, and life. Doing this practice right when you wake up is ideal, because your mind is not racing. If it means you wake up ten minutes earlier, then do it. (You're going to be getting up "earlier" in a few months anyway!)

Your Awareness Moment

Sit up straight. Sit outside, if weather permits, or near a window. Open your chest, open your legs, and straighten your back. Be in your body. If you can get into a body position that encourages optimal fetal positioning, that would be ideal. Don't slouch, as that sends a negative message to your body-mind.

Begin by practicing Breath Awareness (described in our books, classes, and CD), which will bring you into Quiet Mind. Day by day, the more you practice, the more quickly and deeply you will enter Quiet Mind.

When you are in Quiet Mind, your brain waves slow down. Your blood pressure acandlesnd heart rate drop, then you begin to breathe more deeply and naturally. The muscles in your jaw, neck, shoulders, and pelvis began to loosen and have more spaciousness. You move from your conscious thinking (which is not very deep) and into your Quiet Mind and your wise deeper well of knowing.

Sometimes you will have a question buzzing around in your mind. A question you've been trying to answer with research and by asking others what they think. Take that question into your Awareness Moment practice.

As your mind becomes quieter and quieter, ask:
"What do I really want and need to know about this?"
Then Listen Within.

Continue breathing quietly, and feel the answer. Don't "think" the answer. Just wait for the answer to come to you. Feel the answer in your body. It may come as image, a single word, a story, or a feeling.

If you have access to a labyrinth (either one you can walk, or a drawing or handheld one you can trace), you can incorporate your Awareness Moment into the rhythmic experience of the labyrinth. Each step, each breath, bringing you into this moment, and away from the frenzied gathering and doing of daily life

Some people (mistakenly) think that Birthing From Within® is narrowly focused on achieving a natural birth, that is, a labor without drugs or interventions, or even without pain; however, "birthing from within" has nothing to do with birthing "normally," naturally, or quietly, or without pain or interventions. A mother could have every intervention in the book and still be birthing in-awareness. When she is attentive to what she is feeling emotionally and physically, and she is self-aware, then she is gentle with herself and those who are working with her. She is acting and speaking from that deeper knowing. When she can't change what is happening "out there," she brings attention to what is happening within her. She does not abandon herself, her "inner-Child" or her spiritual practice.

This is the challenge, power, and beauty of "birthing from within."

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