Creation Until the First Cry
Last night I watched Le Premier Cri (The First Cry, 2007), a film about 10 women around the world who give birth in their culture within about 24 hours of a solar eclipse, which took place in March 2006. The compelling music composed by Armand Amar, coupled with the global images of mothers preparing and enduring labor, culminating with their little baby had me sobbing tears of joy and anticipation.
Today marks my due date according to the birth calculators online. However, in France, my due date is 12 December. The calculations are slightly different. My original post for today was meant to talk about creativity during the nine months of pregnancy and ways to express your creativity during creation. However, I think the recommendations tie neatly with the 10 moms in the film and their birth experience, which I’ve outlined here.
These final weeks are always reflective. As mentioned by a guide in the film, birth is like the sun rise. It will come. It will take the time it needs to rise. You must let go of control. Observe it. Feel it.
USA, home water birth, without specialized medical care
Let go: As this mother mentions, it brings together an important cycle when you give birth. Reflecting on it, there is the chance of death, both for baby and/or mother. But you embrace it, and let go. Trust in nature and you and baby. I’m working on my patience and letting go, as I anticipated baby’s arrival last week and he will come when it is time.
Tanzania, birth in a secluded hut
Be one with nature: Being in nature is always recommended. During pregnancy, it is even more empowering and beneficial, as you see the animals, trees and plants in a different light. All producing, surviving and living. This mother was part of a tribe that was nomadic and moved with their animals, searching for food in new places. The oneness with nature was already very extinctual and she thrived in her delivery inside the little hut. Take a stroll in the park, or along the seaside. Clear your mind and connect you to the ultimate momma, momma nature.
Japan, Yukiko, ancient birth in modern universe
Connect and build your community: This mom had a group of pregnant friends. They all shared a strong bond, shared food, conversation and reflections during their experience. I found and still find it useful to connect, especially with friends and family, to share and reflect during this period. Especially those who are can relate to your feelings and emotions.
Vietnam, Various moms at Le Tu Du Hospital (one of the biggest maternity wards in the world)
Flex your meditation muscles: This story was hectic and chaotic, multiple mommas, multiple babies, delivery following delivery. There were mothers on cots in the waiting hall, there were mothers in labor, there were mothers nestled with their newborns. In my head: Impossible, I couldn’t do that! Yet, seeing the moms, and viewing more carefully, the mothers were in the moment, embracing their experience, breathing and feeling the present moment, with themselves and their baby, despite the flurry of ‘hostpitalness’ around them. Meditation, in whatever form suits you, is something I’ve benefited from, and recommend. It goes together with visuals. My last labor visual was swaying in a netted hammock, rocking with my baby, on a deserted exotic beach, taking in the gentle waves of the water, the sea breeze wafting around me. It really helped.
France, city hospital birth
Move it, shake it, stretch it: This dancer mommy continued dancing and performing until almost the end of her pregnancy. Do what works for you. Although I’m not a big yogi, my first time around I practiced simple yoga and stretches. Now, every time I dip into a downward dog, my son comes and either sits under or on top of me, so we do more hip-hop dancing (believe it or not, he is better than me, so he just busts a move and gets in the zone, while I swing my hips and clap along).
The first time around I visited an osteopath, who also did me a body check, resulting in some recommendations for stretches to help for the birth.
Russia (Siberia), Elisabeth, minus 50 degree temps outside, birth in small warm clinic
Go with it. This momma was living in some extreme weather conditions. After her final check up with the doc, it was determined she would have a cesarean. Luckily the surgery went smoothly, there were plenty of blankets and baby and momma helicoptered back to their small town shortly afterwards. I know many of us have our ‘birth plan’ or strong feelings on how it will all go down. In the end, be in the moment, and go with the flow. With my first, I was adamant, no meds, no hormones. Due to some final circumstances at the end, at full dilation and no baby, I was given a small dose of oxytocin. I was almost in tears at the proposition, but instead of dwelling on it, I just went with the flow and baby arrived almost immediately afterwards.
Mexico, pool birth and also with dolphins
Music to my ears & belly: These mommas worked with a specialist who had dolphins, that connected sonar vibes to mama and baby. Most of us may not have access to dolphins, so alternatively you can, sing, play music and create musical vibes. In Rome, I took a vocal course, which focused mainly on breathing, opening up the lungs and finding the voice within. I sang a lot during labor. Ok, it was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, not Phantom of the Opera, but it was very beneficial. We also played soft music during the entire labor. It helped create a relaxing ambiance.
Note to self: Play music mix of Armand Amar, musical composure of Le Premier Cri, during birth. Ever-so peaceful.
Brazil, Majtonré, birth in the Amazon
Feel cover girl beautiful: This momma knew baby was coming and had someone paint her belly and face, so that she would be ready and beautiful for the arrival of her baby. Whether you go for a manicure, want to take some pics, nurture your true beauty, inner and/or outer. In the West, it can be daunting to see the drastic body changes, but remember the gift you’ve been given and maximize the beautiful feeling of creation.
Niger, desert birth
Self-love: This momma struggled a bit, to the point an animal was sacrificed to help alleviate the suffering. Trust yourself and baby, you are a team. Creating a human and carrying it for nine months can feel like a big responsibility. As noted before, it’s important to give yourself love and credit for the feat you are undertaking because baby will benefit too.
India, untouchable birth in the poverty-stricken city neighborhood
Massage: This momma was hesitant to deliver in a hospital as she had been told that she needed a cesarean, and didn’t have a dime to pay for it. As an alternative option, she sought out a community “midwife” who helped her with her delivery. After baby was born, he was given a vigorous massage and tossed in the air. To the Western eye, a pizza is less “man-handled”, but culturally, this baby was attended to with love and affection. Many Ayurvedic practices during pregnancy (for mom) and post-natal (for mom and baby) involve oiled massages to stimulate the system and ensure good health and vitality. Not everyone can dip out to a monthly pre-natal massage, but simple self-massaging can help alleviate tensions, especially towards the end. Several weeks post-natal, I followed an Ayurvedic self-massaging regime which helped my body feel invigorated and aided recovery.
What activities did you do during pregnancy? Did you feel creative? What special traditions or rituals did you and your family do, or do you plan to do? Share your experiences.