Alexander Technique was a huge contributor to my labour and birthing process. The birth of my third child was a wonderful, empowering, climactic experience. I found I could be in my body, my breath and my mind and be with the pain of contractions in a very different way to my other two birth experiences. I used the thought: there is so much room for the contractions, the baby and for me. This feeling of pain is not everything; it is not all of me. Taking my time to stop and breathe as a contraction arrived early on without fear meant I was setting up a context for pausing and waiting and trusting as the labour pains grew and grew. Realising I wanted to go to the hospital I remember walking to the car a contraction coming and me waiting standing at the car – not getting into the car – feeling the moment come and go, not forcing a rhythm but letting my breathing be the rhythm. Such a small thing but a practiced example for me of inhibition and how empowering it felt. Staying with space – refusing fixity – letting the contractions come and using my body in a coordinated way so I could stay with the process of things coming and going.
The peaceful, inherent trust I am building in my body from my work in the Alexander technique is allowing me to know that it’s all good – I am able – I am built for all the tasks life requires of us – I can move and perform without strain and pain. From the labour and birth to the healing process to the intense mothering of a baby and two other rambunctious boys – I am enough. I am strong and soft. I can recover. It takes conscious noticing and directing but the ever growing awareness is so enjoyable and is becoming more and more refined.
There is so much opportunity for noticing and thinking in activity. Activities that are simple everyday exercises that are repeated over and over again. Sitting and standing. Picking up and putting the baby down. Sitting and holding and feeding the baby. Getting in and out of bed. All these things can be effortless or holding patterns for extra tension and micro fixing. Add crying and tiredness into the mix and it is a tough thing to remember I have choices and the mental and physical tension can be responded to in different ways. Hearing my baby crying generates worry, adrenaline, frustration. I am working on not letting these states be contagious and grow. He is so small but such a powerful force, a vortex that can suck all the space and energy in the house. He is unreasonable. I can easily be swept up into his maelstrom but I keep coming back to myself as a safe island of strength and resilience; an island for myself to land as well as the other people in my home. So I am giving permission many times a day for release; asking for my co-ordination.