Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pregnant with New Ideas

Lately I've been reading books that I'm embarrassed for other people to see.  I don't want anyone, even strangers on the subway, getting the wrong impression.

No, no, it's not that!  It's...prenatal yoga books.

And NO, I'm NOT pregnant!!  That's exactly why I didn't want to tell anybody!  I'm studying prenatal yoga texts to expand my toolbox for working with pregnant yogis and teaching prenatal classes.

It's odd reading books to prepare you to work with students when the books are all adressed to 'you.'  'You' will have a harder time maintaining proper posture now that the weight of the baby is growing.  'You' may have many mixed emotions when you find out you are pregnant.  'You' will need to surrender to the powerful waves of contractions, allowing the base of your body to open up, so your baby can come out in to the world..
No, actually, I won't

I find pregnancy and childbirth absolutely fascinating, though. I just learned yesterday that the placenta and the baby each produce hormones that cause changes to happen in the woman's body.  The baby actually releases a hormone that starts labor when his or her lungs are ready to breathe air.  Crazy, right?  Makes the idea of inducing labor seem kind of barbaric, right?  Labor doesn't start when you know, your body gets around to it.  It happens when your baby is ready for it to happen.  Why would you rush it?

Taking childbirth and pregnancy from something that happened to women, that women had control over, to something that happens in a hospital, via largely male doctors, is a feminist issue.  Making new humans is an incredible thing, and all over the world, cultures have revered women for their ability to do it.  In a surprisingly few number of generations, we've managed to turn it into something

A.) disgusting and weird that 'ruins' your body

B.) that a woman can't handle on her own.  She had NO IDEA how to go about having a healthy pregnancy, let alone following the same instincts present in every other mammal that manages without pitocin or forceps to send the baby out into the world. 

A woman in labor at your average American hospital is strapped down (well, practically), drugged (literally), and taken completely out of control of her own body and the natural processes its going through.

The World Health Organization has stated that lying down to give birth is the WORST birthing position, and that it always makes for a more difficult experience for both mother and child.  Yet we lie down to give birth routinely.

You guys, this is messed up.  Not everyone's up for a homebirth in a whirlpool tub, and that's ok.  There are pregnancies where the risk is higher and such a situation wouldn't be recommended anyway.  Medical intervention is a blessing when it's necessary.  But we should ALL be informed, and make conscious choices about our birth experience, right?  We shouldn't all assume this is something we can't do, right?  You can learn a lot about this issue just by watching documentaries on netflix.  Check it out!

It's something to think about.  If you or someone you know is expecting a new addition, Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg offers a full schedule of prenatal classes, and if you're lucky, I might just be subbing.

Live Omily,
~em

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