“Too Fit” is Not the Problem
Recently, I was attending a birth as a doula. You should know that at this point in my career, I only take on doula clients that do the work and choose to be “birth fit”. This means preparing mind, body, and soul for this monumental transition and planning for the postpartum.
I had been in communication with this client and her partner for the entire pregnancy. She had done the BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar, utilized the online prenatal programming, and taken the BIRTHFIT Prenatal Series. We had done a handful of sessions together working through birth desires and fears, different birth scenarios, and an immediate postpartum plan.
This client had been having prodromal labor for a few days and finally active labor began! We arrived at the birth center and the midwife checked my client. She was around 7 cm of dilation and 90% effacement. Even though the environment had changed and more people were now involved, we stayed the course of what we had been doing: laboring, moving, and breathing. The mom to be was a beautiful sight with a perfect ponytail, laboring in and out of the tub and trying different positions. However, I did not feel like she was truly in it yet. Often during births I keep my mouth shut, relying on my observation skills and intuition to influence my action and touch.
Three hours had passed and the client decided to be checked again. So, when the midwife said that not much had changed I was not that surprised. The team agreed that we should step out and give mom and partner some intimate space.
There were four of us that gathered – myself, the midwife, and two assistants/apprentices. It is not uncommon for a legendary midwife to have assistants or apprentices. (I mean, how else are they going to pass on their artistic skills?) It also not that uncommon for people to still be influenced by big ass misconceptions, even midwives.
“She’s too fit. Her pelvic floor is too tight.”
The words in my head, “What the f***? No!”
Yet, my response was a wee bit different, more polite and constructive, it took into account all the preparation, practice, and research this client had done. Also, I knew that her strength and conditioning training was tailored not only for her, but each trimester and was even adjusted as she progressed through weeks 35, 36, 37, and so on. My response took into account my experience, research, and intuition.
I said, “I would have to firmly disagree, I’ve worked with this woman from day one.” Emphasizing that BIRTHFIT is intentional, and an intuitive strength and conditioning program for the motherhood transition, otherwise just smart f*****g training for prenatal and postpartum.
I suggested that the answer to the question of, “why she hasn’t progressed in the past few hours?”, may not be “her pelvic floor is too tight” – it just seemed like the easy way out.
Looking at this woman as a whole we know that this is her first pregnancy and baby. She wears many hats such as wife, coach, doula, educator, athlete, friend, sister, daughter, lover, leader, mkm etc. She is conservative and has been independent much of her life, exuding confidence, discipline, and integrity. She is an overachiever and someone you always want on your team. My assumption is she puts an unrealistic amount of expectations and responsibilities on herself, much more than anyone else would place upon her.
It was time for her to truly surrender to the process of birth. It was time for her to get out of her thinking brain and fully embrace her feminine energy and primal brain. This is challenging for anyone in today’s society as we are dominated by a masculine energy with rules, regulations, and numbers. This is a wonderful energy for getting shit done but not so wonderful for bringing life earth side.
At BIRTHFIT, we create birth mission statements and desires because frankly birth plans are horse shit and create unreal expectations. Birth is a big fat mystery with a unique journey for each woman and her partner. As a doula, I am present to offer tools, a deep trust in the process, and continuous support. I will be there holding your hand but you have to go to that place that only you are called to.
As a team, we decided that it was the lead midwife that needed to have a surrender chat with the client. As the quarterback of the team, authoritative figure, and healthcare provider, she would have a private conversation with my client telling her and her partner that it’s time to let go and welcome the contractions. It’s time to welcome the uncomfortableness and purposeful pain. It was time for her to let her hair down and get raw.
About an hour later, three of the four of us entered back into the birth suite. The energy was entirely different. The client had the messiest top knot and was now nude. She did not seem to notice any of us and was letting out the most primal of sounds. She did not give a F***.
The baby arrived less than two hours later.
Lindsey Mathews, CEO BIRTHFIT@lindsey_k_mathews