Nature is a very good teacher. I’ve learned a lot about birth from observing the weather. There are many parallels. After close observation on this particular summer day I now pay closer attention when nature speaks.
Nature and Birth- My Observation
It was a hot summer day and at 1:30 in the afternoon there was a big blue sky with fluffy white clouds. I enjoyed the light breeze and perched myself in a tree house my husband built. Thunder rumbled across the sky giving warning of what was to come. Similarly a woman’s body gives warnings of an impending delivery. Perhaps it’s a mucus plug, an increase in Braxton Hicks contractions, or the need to “nest” and clean and organize your home for the coming arrival.
Within 20 minutes the sky had darkened and thunder continued more frequently. The land became hushed as if it were walking into a room with a sleeping baby. Lightning flashed in the distance as the storm continued to head towards me. The wind picked up in intensity. The storm was progressing quickly. A woman will often find a quiet, darkened place to labor as her contractions pick up in intensity and her labor progresses.
The wind fascinated me. It would blow something fierce then be almost completely still. Ocean waves do the same thing. We love to head to the beach and I’m always amazed at the power behind each wave as it hits me with such force. Contractions come and go the same way and gratefully mothers have a moment to collect themselves and rest before another one comes. Like the waves and the wind, their bodies are so powerful.
At 2:00 I noticed the wind was cooler and I felt the first drops of rain peppering my skin. The thunder was louder now. The leaves and trees swayed with the wind. It reminded me of the way a mother will sway in labor. Either on a birth ball or standing, the back and forth motion helps her baby move down into position.
By 2:07 I decided I’d better get back to the house lest I be completely drenched. The temperature had only dropped by a few degrees and I noticed the rain had stopped. It was like a woman catching her breath right before the pushing stage. The thunder continued. The wind continued its pattern of calm and intense, calm and intense.
At 2:13 it suddenly got much darker and the rain began again, this time in big drops. Thunder pounded and lightning cracked against the sky like a force to be reckoned with.
By 2:19 the sky had completely opened up and the grass and trees embraced the moisture turning greener as if they smiled their thanks. A mother smiles similarly when her work is done and she embraces her new arrival.
As a birth doula I have learned to pay closer attention to the weather. Pressure changes and gravitational forces of the full moon can cause shifts in pregnancy. As I’ve learned to pay closer attention to the weather I’ve also learned to pay closer attention to a laboring woman. Things like the energy in the room, the temperature, her movements, words, and expressions can tell me a lot about what she is thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Subtle awareness can be the difference between a good doula and a great doula.