I've been talking a lot about "an undisturbed birth" lately.
The language that we use in labour is so potent. I'm uncomfortable with many descriptive terms surrounding birth, such as "I'd like a normal birth"...or "She had a natural birth" ...or "We did a pure birth." It sounds like all others are abnormal or unnatural or impure. Birth just should be.
So, it came to me, recently, when I realized that so many of my clients have what I describe as "she just went into labour and then had the baby" births...they had all been undisturbed in labour. My role is to keep her private space protected and undisturbed, to help her feel free to move undisturbed, to be the guardian of her cave. She remains hidden, unobserved, in a safe space.
Even if I'm with her, I cast my eyes down in respect, until I am addressed. Often, I am just a hand, or a whisper, or even a silent presence beyond the curtain. Her partner sits still, a great gift, close by.
The photo shows it all. She is safe, alone in the shower. Her partner, and I, and her midwife, watch the rippling reflections on the floor, listen to the rhythmic pulsing of the shower, become transported, lost in time.
Our job is to help her remain undisturbed.
But...Oh, no! Here's the night nurse, who I usually adore. But she walks in at 7pm, saying loudly..."Och, it's HOT in here!" We all put our fingers to our lips...hope the woman dancing in the water doesn't hear... Later, the woman says her body tensed up at that moment, and she thought, "Oh, no, she's loud and Scottish!" and it took a while for her to get back into her undisturbed rhythm (and she later came to love the accent).
An undisturbed birth is a challenge to achieve, but its effects are immeasurable.
- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula
Jacquie Munro, founder of the "Slow Birth" movement, is an experienced doula and childbirth educator and is well-known for her individualized, intuitive approach to supporting families in the childbearing year and beyond. Since 1987, she has provided support at over one thousand births, at home and in hospital, and taught thousands of expectant parents. At home, Jacquie lives only a bike ride away from four generations of her family. You can usually find her at the park or beach, playing beside her twin grandsons who call her "Deecy".