In September 2005 I conceived my first child, by November I needed no pregnancy test to tell me I was with child: I can remember opening the curtains one morning, standing still and once again clocking this deep vibration, a fluttering pulse within my body that was strangely unfamiliar yet at the same quite natural, I knew. Turning to my partner, I told him we were having a baby.
I felt amazed and blessed by the power of this bodily communication I was offered by my unborn child – an inner hum that emanated through my every cell, I felt deeply humbled and radiant.
I adored my pregnancy, caring for and appreciating this magical connection and contentedness within my body.
Being my first baby, I was offered much advice by doctors, midwives, family and friends. My sister at the time was training to be a Doula (birth companion and post-birth supporter) and my sister-in-law was a midwife – so I had plentiful support.
However, on reflection I see how I allowed myself to get caught up in the multitude of advice and images.
I felt the expectations and pressures there are for pregnant women to know exactly how to care for their child: the image that I should be the one in charge, the primary carer. These complications and expectations left a tension in my body that interfered with the natural bond I had with my baby and made it harder for me to feel the soundness and simplicity offered by our unified pulse, a constant confirmation that there was nothing I needed to be or do other than connect and walk this journey together.
My son was born in the early morning of June 15th 2006. There are no words that can do justice to the love and wonderment of meeting Eric. The ancient wisdom and still presence this tiny being brought through was extraordinarily powerful. My husband and I were in awe: this was no vulnerable fleshy baby. Eric was magnificent.
Still attached by the umbilical cord, I lay down and the midwife placed Eric on my chest – a moment of joyous repose for us both after hours of surrendering to the movements that would bring him out into the world.
With the advice of the midwife I placed him near my breast so he could latch on. In this moment I felt unsure and began searching for a picture, an image of what this could be. In this I opened the door to an influx of advice and information I had previously read and heard about breast-feeding. I had allowed the expectations to creep in, and I felt my body tense up with this feeling that I SHOULD know what to do.
However what then unfolded is the miraculous part that no one tells you……Eric showed me exactly what to do. In a few small movements he snuffled onto my breast, opened his mouth and began to suck, triggering my body to release the colostrum milk he knew he was to find.
How did he know how to do this?
My expectations led me to believe that it was all my job, that I needed to be in control: nobody told me he would be my teacher, that this ancient all-knowing being would show me the way. That it was he who would give me permission to let go and feel the simple power of our connection, to draw from the interactivity that we had been living together for the past nine months. The same unified pulse in utero that would bring all the innate wisdom that was required, my baby showed me that I need not look outside for the answers but know that they are already within.
By Lucinda Bathurst, Somerset, UK
* Published with permission of Eric and Otto Bathurst.
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