Cold. White. Warm. Pleasure. Connection. Nurturing. Sharing. Love… These are all words I feel this week co-teaching a doula workshop in Montreal with Rivka Cymbalist, author of The Birth Conspiracy and founder of the Montreal Birth Companions. Being in Montreal is filling me with many emotions since I attended McGill University there, was married there, and gave birth to my first son there. Each street corner brings a flood of memories. Montreal is where I entered the sacred gate of motherhood that led me onto my life journey of bringing information, wisdom and pleasure to all as they prepare for childbirth. While pregnant, I realized I had been blessed with confidence and knowledge from the grandmother’s before me.
In this video Debra shares about her first personal experience with birth, in Montreal.
Yet so many women seemed to have lost their connection to the birth stories and the knowledge held by all the women who have given birth before us. As I navigated the system to claim my power- to birth my son with trust, confidence and pleasure, I felt my body, fill with power and grace. I birthed myself into motherhood, into a strong woman that has now lead to my return to share this knowledge and the many stories from the 1000’s of women I have been blessed to meet and share their birth and/or stories with, who have reclaimed this sacred inner wisdom.
In our doula circle, Rivka asked: “How can a doula maintain a foundation of pleasure for women prenatally and in labor, birth and beyond?” Our group of doulas suggested the following ideas and questions to consider, which can all be used by a doula or partner:
1. Providing access to information, and facilitating informed decision-making. Would you like more information?
2. Women find pleasure when they feel calm and confident. What helps you feel calm?
3, With food, special foods you enjoy in your culture. What food nourishes you?
4. Touch and hugs. Do you like to be touched? How?
5. Are you happy? A smile can change our hormones and bring more pleasure.
“Prenatal is a time of hope, of looking forward, even if we have conceived in challenging circumstances, there is still an element of hope when pregnant.” Rivka smiles as her wisdom feels so natural and we each understand how a doula can nurture and help a woman prepare for a pleasurable childbirth.
6. Comfort measures in childbirth. I shared that I have a Mary Poppin’s bag full of pleasure tips for comfort in childbirth that I shared with the doulas so they can pass them along. What comfort options will help you move from pain to pleasure and find comfort in childbirth?
When is the last time you heard I love you? Share your love. Rivka says she tells women she loves them, she loves watching women in labor, women in labor are the most beautiful! I am reminded of Ina May Gaskin’s quote” If a women in labor does not look like a Goddess you are doing something wrong!”
8. “Don’t just do something, Sit there!” If the birth is going well, respect women for what she is doing. A laboring women will let you know what she needs if you listen.
9. Do not argue with anyone in the room. Maintain an environment of peace. Be respectful and loving to everyone in the room.
10. Support and respect the partner and the intimacy of the couple.
11. Music: Can create sensuous, intimate feelings and memories. What music or sounds brings you pleasure?
12. Adjust lighting that creates a safe, pleasurable feeling: What type of lighting creates safety and pleasure for you?
13. Breathing: What type of breathing helps you relax?
14. Listen to Women, honor her-story!
15. Support and provide breastfeeding information.
“Breastfeeding is a huge source of pleasure in a women’s life, whatever else is happening in her life, she will find pleasure in the special relationship and bonding that breastfeeding will bring.” – Rivka Cymbalist
16. “Postpartum stay naked in bed. Staying in bed, naked from the waist up with your baby helps restrict unnecessary visitors,” Rivka shares to help mothers to enjoy the sacred babymoon time while others can nurture you, cook for you and care for you and your family.
17. Tenderness: Be Tender to yourself and surround yourself with people who will be tender to you.
18. Next we had the pleasure of a talk from Julie Bonapace who taught us how the three endogenous mechanisms can relieve pain. Rather than try to capture all the great information she shared, look for her guest blog soon that will revolutionize the way you look at finding comfort in childbirth.
19. Birth is sexual! How can you incorporate and honor your sexuality in childbirth?
Wow, what a great doula list of tips to help every woman and her partner to find pleasure in childbirth and beyond. Please add your tips too, so that we can continue adding to our list of pleasurable birth tips!