Be grateful for every pain because it brings joy afterward

I am currently training in a weekly intense course to become an active birth teacher with the amazing Janet Balaskas herself and the wholehearted team she has surrounded herself with (I fell in love with every single one of them at first sight, Dominique, Jill, Lola ❤️).

Whilst studying the amazing power that nature programs into a natural birth, I have been wanting to call my mum today and ask her more specific questions around my own birth with a totally new curiosity and open mind.

We have always had a difficult relationship but I was just starting to remember how many times I heard her telling me how horrible the midwives had been to her, how lost and exhausted she felt after such a rushed delivery (by the doctors) where her body did not have the time to make the slow work of opening up to giving birth.

When I spoke to her today, she explained to me how in northern Italy in the early 80es, babies were not allowed to stay with their mothers: after a short encounter with their mothers following birth, they were only brought to them at feeding time (mainly formula in a bottle) and how they had to stay together amongst other crying babies the rest of the time in a so called ‘nursery’.

How inhuman is that, I question myself today with my gained knowledge? A mother working so hard to deliver her bundle of joy in a medicalised environment, full of procedures totally contrary to nature at the time, making birth the horrible experience it does not need to be, and after all of this not even being allowed to stay with their babies uninterruptedly?

And what does the start of my life says about me? My mother had to stay in hospital for 6 days after birth as she had had a serious ematoma and bleeding to recover from. So I had 6 days of (as she described me so well) crying at the top of my lungs, red and upset until I would be with my mum for a quick feed and then start again when being taken away from her…

For a long time in my personal journey I have been at first unhealthily blaming myself for my constant anger and more lately (with recent healing) questioning where does it come from. Why am I always so easily outbursting with my frustration demanding my needs to be met or my boundaries respected?

No surprise I react this way so easily, if this was the beginning of life as I have known it since being only a few hours old, being deprived of what was my right: the constant reassuring smell and the touch of the human being I had been living within until then.

I can only be grateful today for what happened to me then. I would not be the woman I am today, fighting for a fairer society, for every single right that is mine, even with the many defeats I encounter. And I am grateful for the delivery I lived with my daughter’s birth, following Active birth ideas and tools from a course I attended myself 4 years ago, just before she was born.

Tomorrow it’s her 4th birthday, she was born at home, in the safety of her parents arms, no external intrusion whatsoever and never even went to the hospital afterwards as the delivery had gone so well, there were no concerns to justifying leaving our home.

She is now the new generation who will expect the same treatment for her own delivery and baby. My mother and my own sufferance have empowered her to demand what is her right in life, around birth and anything else she wants, to be happy and successful.

Happy birth day to you my girl, to me your mother and to my mother, your grand mother, because the day you were born 4 years ago tomorrow morning, our generational chain of a nonsense inhuman start in life was broken.

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Short account of the night I became a mother

Today my son is turning 4. I just cannot believe he is a little man already, not a baby anymore! He will start primary school in September, he will become more independent every month, he will strike up life time friendships… And yet, I still see his big blue eyes looking at me lying on my breast, his big lips wide open in surprise of meeting his mum for the first time, very calm and chilled despite he had just been pulled out of me through Ventouse.

I have been thinking a lot about the night he was born and what I wanted to write about it. Shall I wrap it in words of hope for expecting new mothers as I usually do when I talk about my daughter’s arrival, to encourage them, to avoid any unnecessary fear? Shall I be honest and share my feelings of my body being torn and robbed by medical staff to let him out, as I gesture of honesty and empathy for so many other women that lived their delivery as such a dramatic experience? I guess honesty shared with a sensitive touch is always the best approach.

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‘On board’ diary

Have you ever felt really low to the point to wonder why you are alive? Have you ever had the impression, in a very difficult period of your life, to have lost your way and not to be sure where you are meant to head anymore?

Well who hasn’t… That is why I decided to write a pregnancy diary as soon as I found out that I would soon give birth to another human being. To put down in words the story of my baby from conception to birth. Just to give a meaning in their life for the days they would go through a storm and couldn’t quite find it anymore for themselves. To know that they were truly loved from the minute they became one unique cell and started multiplying themselves.

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Miracles happen (with a little help from yourself: to believe)

A year has passed since the amazing unplanned home delivery that gave life to my daughter and I struggle to believe that this fearless, brave, hard working woman that gave birth to her that way was actually me. I wish I would remember every day I am capable of showing such strength and determination. I usually feel insecure deep down and wonder if I am a good enough mother, a competent employee, a present wife, a loving friend… I always doubt about myself, I tend to self sabotage my actions. But if I look back at that night of labor completely relaxed on my own, I believe I probably managed for once in my life to finally tune into my body and listen to what was happening, not fighting the pain, not even letting the fear take me to the core, at the bottom of my stomach. That was probably the first time I learned to let go: I knew what was coming and accepted that contractions would get stronger and stronger and by doing so, funny enough, they felt less painful. I also know now that her safe arrival in such an empowering way was actually a miracle of the God of my understanding, one of the many he performs in my daily life, the one and only that looks after me so well. My higher power helped me by raising my determination to make things different in my life in general, and more specifically in my second delivery. In fact, after the birth of my son 3 years beforehand, I was extremely anxious at how things would go with the delivery of my second baby. I remember having panic attacks in the last few weeks that brought to her safe arrival, thinking of all the things that could have gone wrong, as first time around… A nightmare period of my life! Luckily I had booked myself in early April for a whole day workshop at Active Birth Centre with Alice Charlwood, which I strongly believe made the absolute difference, together with my determination not to repeat the past and my Higher power’s plans for me.

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Planning to get pregnant? Plan it well :-)

Just a few things to think about before you plan to have a baby ❤

Medical conditions. Check that your vaccinations are up to date with a pre pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to those disease that can cause unborn babies to have serious birth defects, such as Rubella or Toxoplasmosis (if you are the owner of a cat for instance), and make sure not to conceive until your immunity is confirmed once again by a new blood test after you vaccinate against them. Lately, you may be offered to also have a whooping cough vaccination during your pregnancy to protect your baby in their first few week’s life.You may want to have a screen for disorders such as Thalassaemia.

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What is a ‘Doula’?

You may be at your first pregnancy and despite you are over the moon about the idea of soon holding your little bundle of joy, you may as well be terrified of all the process your body will have to go through for the two of you to finally meet each other and you have no idea how you are going to react to it.

If like myself and many others, especially living in London, you have no family nearby or if you are simply unsure whether your mother, your sister or your best friend will be able to be present during such a crucial moment of your life or not, you may consider using the support of a doula.

The Wikipedia definition for such an emerging role is the following:

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