Birth Yoga i-D
Birth Yoga i-D is a collective of classes on offer, that represent the 3 stages of life- 'Bha' Creation 'Ra' Sustenance 'Va' Destruction, to support women, children and families entering in to birthing and caring for new life and life changes.
Through a practice of Yoga and wellbeing, these classes encourage women and parents to create a ritual of good health in body, mind and spirit that liberates and radicalises their experience naturally.
“Bhairava is the one who creates, sustains and dissolves the three stages of life, fearlessly.”
Birth Yoga i-D CLASSES
Birthing Yoga for all stages of Pregnancy
This class is focused on the 'creation' of a baby and teaches Hatha Yoga Fusion including breath work, sound, asana and relaxation to enhance feelings of wellbeing during all 3 stages of pregnancy.
Classes BIRTH YOGA i- D 6 week Pregnancy Course - Starting 06 November 2018 / Tues 2- 3.30PM / at Yogasara, Bristol.
BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL - contact Lucy to secure your place now. Flyer below.
Birth Yoga i-D offers Birth Prep workshops for expectant mothers and birthing partners - do ask for details of up-coming workshops.
Raising Yoga for Mum & Baby
This class focuses on 'sustaining' optimum health and wellbeing for mother and baby in the early stages of life and the adjustments to living that occurs. It builds a invaluable community of likeminded mothers that can meet, become friends and support each other at the varying stages.
Expect Yoga talking, breathing, asana tailored to your mothering needs (as well as postures that can be done with your baby), deep relaxation and space to breastfeed, for babies to be held as well as a well deserved offering of revitalising tea and sweet treats to nourish your body, mind and spirit.
Classes coming soon.
Victory Parent Yoga (open to mums and dads) with child
Victory Parent Yoga is a class to 'dissolve' current states of life and to come enjoy and be playful with yourself and your children. to bring a Vibrant and victorious quality to your day, as you exit daily life, move and enjoy being in the present moment with yourself and your child.
Expect Yogic sharing, movement, breathing, music, storytelling and some treats.
Classes coming soon.
Lucy is a BWY Pregnancy Yoga Teacher and a Mother of two children, whom understands the lessons and blessings of pregnancy, birth, and caring for little ones. She is now living as a single mother and navigates the ever-changing flux of needs, desires, emotions and love of her family and of herself. Yoga continues to be her way to support life at every stage and she is offering that wisdom to you.
Lucys work with women, partners and children, intends to support all beings, no matter what their circumstances, differences or limitations are. She continues to be inspired by Reproductive Justice and Social Activist Birth Communities, working to offer practices of Yoga and connection that returns the experience of birthing to a naturally empowering experience. One of trust, commitment and an openness to however it transforms itself.
Read Lucy’s ‘Birthing Stories’ here:
Xizi Omega: 27. 12. 2010 Homerton Hospital, London.
I was a young and ambitious creative, living the London life, in a shared artists warehouse community with my partner Drew, a freelance Film-maker. We had recently returned from a few months trip exploring Japanese Culture, identity and its homelessness, through photo documenting the experience. Whilst away, I had reawakened in myself the desire to head more towards my Yoga becoming my priority and focus again, away from my creative pursuits. i had become fatigued by working for companies and agencies, striving in the music and fashion industry and all its ego centric ways of relating. I had written from Japan to a Bethnal Green, London Yoga Studio called Yoga Place and offered myself as a Volunteer upon my return. As a way to support myself financially, I launched myself as a Freelance Video Producer and Stylist, working on Commercials and Music Videos mostly. On one of my first job’s styling since becoming Freelance, and whilst at the studio now helping to run the day to day classes, teachers and opening of the space, that week I had felt beyond tired. I thought that it could not possibly just be the change in lifestyle and juggling working and volunteering. This feeling continued on and my appetite grew very plain and that was unusual for me, as I had always enjoyed a variety of fruits, veg and good food throughout the day. I had noticed that my figure was becoming fuller, especially my breasts. All the while, I continued on. I began to immerse in more volunteer work, now helping to also set up a Yoga Festival called Yoga Groove, with some Senior London based Yoga Teachers and a Student Teacher friend of mine named Bridget. You see, for the past several years, i hadn’t been having regular periods. They had returned only since being in a relationship with my partner over the last 2 years, but prior to that I had several years of none at all. This was likely to be due to my hectic lifestyle, where my BMI (body mass index) was very low. You could say that as a young adult I was conscious of my weight and with a strong disciplined yoga practice, alongside a strict food intake at the time, I didnt give myself much opportunity for it to increase, I didnt want it to. When I fell in love, became less militant about my practices and softened, my body softened and my cycle returned. It was a pretty primal experience in fact, as my partner also got chest hair and we would laugh about this. However, due to the irregularity of my periods and also carelessness then about protection, we didn’t make much of an effort to be cautious whilst having sex. One day, I awoke and looked in the mirror at my breasts again and I said to my partner “is it me, or are my breast getting bigger?”. He didnt seem to have noticed but offered a glance look to signal ‘yes’. So using my basic intelligence, I went in to the bathroom, dug out a dusty pregnancy test from a pack of two which I had opened and used one of, many moons ago, and I peed on it. I brushed my teeth, got myself dressed, late and in a rush to meet with the yoga festival crew in Hampstead, I gazed over at the stick as i was putting my bag on my shoulders and my eyes widened, my breath stopped and my belly sank. It was positive! “Sh*t”, I thought. “Holy crap, what are we going to do! I am not ready to become a mother”. I walked out of the bathroom, lent over the bed to my sleeping partner and shock him awake and said “I am pregnant”. “Eh?!” he replied, blurry eyed and half asleep. He attempted to engage in this comment, but with no time to now waste rushing to my meeting, I flew towards the door and said “Don’t worry, it was an old test, it could be wrong, I’ll buy some more later and do more tests tonight, see you.” And I left. That evening, I peed on 6 more sticks, to be sure (no kidding) and they all said “positive”.
The realisation that we were having a child, was pretty shocking and mixed for us both. On the one hand, I felt totally not ready to have a child for many reasons being that our living situation was shared, our jobs were not secure, we had very little money, our relationship was challenging at times, we were living in london, a city, which I never imagined raising kids in, we had a community but they were all wild and free and I had no friends that were really having children yet and I had finally taken the leap of faith to go at a freelance career and immerse more in my yoga as work, I wanted to earn money, train and travel to India, i wanted to create and live a lifestyle of freedom. Yet, on the other hand, I always felt like an earth mother. I am a taurus after all and the thought of a baby, was also not something that I was striving for, but definitely something that i imagined having one day. I had become tired of the London way of life and I was, with my butterfly wings on, looking for a way out and to surrender myself to more stillness and grounding. And here, the universe was presenting me with the ultimate act of surrender, other than death. To become a mother to a child and to dedicate my life to something beyond my self. My partner needed much more time to work it all out, so I retreated back to Somerset to visit my family Doctor and get some well needed advice. Because of my erratic mensual cycle, the doctor suggested that I go for an early scan and find out where I was at in gestation. They confirmed I was pregnant and also spoke to me about my options to keep the baby or not. The moment that this was presented to me as an option, I knew in my heart that it was not one. I was keeping this baby, regardless of if my partner was able to support me in that decision. I knew that this baby was a gift and it had already embedded itself in my womb, in this world, ready to be born and offer me the teachings that I needed, beyond what yoga could ever aid me to awaken to. That same day, whilst in a park with my sister, mother and nephew, my partner called and having spoken to his family too, he had decided that he was wanting to become a father, that he was terrified, that he loved me, but that he wanted to do this in a way that didnt affect all the things that we loved in our lives already, that this baby would be welcomed in to our world and that we would not change our world for the baby.
So that last sentence above, became a very poignant one. As any parent now will know, so much of becoming a parent isn’t about having a choice in what happens, but its about building resilience towards the challenges, it’s about finding a rhythm in the changing flux of life and it’s about coming together, connecting, communicating and allowing change, whilst ensuring that you as parents keep returning to findng or creating the space to stay connected with you, yourself and each other. This is where the practice of yoga is a gift that can serve as a reminder to this very necessary basic rule, to stay awake to the inseparability of all things and to allow for the deconstruction of you and life as you know it, whilst maintaining your centre, your strength and your ability to soften and find the clarity needed to maintain good relations and wellbeing.
So, we made some basic changes in our living situation, staying in the same warehouse, we welcomed a new friend to join us, his name was James and we attempted to provide ourselves with an additional income, by clearing out our large openplan living space and offering it out to rent as a Photographic Space and Yoga Studio, to my dear friend Bridget to practice her teaching. I continued to also work as much as I could, taking on styling jobs for TV Commercials and TV series doing Costume and Continuity. I continued on volunteering, accumulating hours I could then use to practice yoga for free. Within this studio, I became close with the founder Lisa, whom became my Pregnancy Yoga Teacher and mentor. I loved that she was non- conventional, heavily in to heavy metal music and wore all black All Saints clothes, offered a very straight forward and black and white approach to the practice and generally kept it real. My partner continued on with his filming, photography and art, building himself up as best he could.
At the first scan, we were told that we were 8 weeks pregnant. The scan picture looked like a peanut and so there came the babys womb name “Peanut”. My pregnancy was straight forward, I had no major complications. At my first midwife apt however, i was asked to create a birth Plan and was told about the option to have intervention and drugs and so on. When I said “no thnakyou, id like to have the baby naturally if I can safely”. The midwife gave me a look of “are you kididing?” Glanced over her glasses and said “This your first baby? Yes? So we shall see.” and refused to write down my preference to birth naturally. I was outraged and from that day onwards, made it my mission to read up on all the women out there that had managed, with intention and intuition, to birth naturally, even if in order to get the baby out they had needed support in the end, but that were aiming for a birthing experience where they trusted they were born to birth. I dived in to Ina May’s ‘A Guide to Childbirth’ book, that helped me to navigate all the queries and questions I had, as well as those that arise during midwife appointments when you have no idea whether or not certain procedures are necessary or are medically supposed. I didnt have any of the initial tests done during pregnancy for downs etc, even though my partners sister was born with various conditions, I was certain that it did not matter to me how my baby arrived, it would be perfect just as it was and that I was prepared to care for it and meet all its needs, however they came.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. My partner had a dependancy on skunk, that was becoming more and more evident as the pressure of parenting grew closer on the horizon. He was introverted at times, deep in his work and I often felt alone. I prayed, wished and hoped that he would get the need to smoke out of his system during the 9 months that I was growing our baby inside, as I knew that he was committed to being there and doing his best, but he was young, ambitious, creative, had a dark side of curiousity and liked to immerse in art, film and expressing himself through the creative mediums and it all came part and parcel to that and at the expense of our relationship at times. We had a great network of friends, many of which were really in ore of us taking this adventure and staying in our London existence to do it. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I worked on a TV series which required me to be in work at 5am and finish beyond 10pm, I stayed on my feet all day, dressing actors and rallying costumes between locations of filming. I had a wonderful team of much older crew, that too were wonderfully supportive. Looking back, I still think what a level of high endurance I must have had to carry on til just 1 week before I was due to pop, in this way and at that pace, but within us there is this unbelievable resource of energy, that is often so much about how much self belief you apply. I am also fully aware that by keeping up a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, with Yoga as my commitment to wellbeing within that, I build up this strength from within that kept me fit and well throughout my pregnancy both physically and mentally. It came to 9 months and I slumped, watching films and stying tucked up in the warmth, as I waited for the babies winter arrival.
One weekend daytime, I had us booked on to a Yoga Birthing workshop with Lisa at the studio, for women and their partners to attend to learn some simple postures and supportive ways to find strength, comfort and energy to sustain labour together. On the day, my partner refused to come. I was very sad and begged him, but he didnt see the point. To me, that felt like he didn’t care, I felt unsupported and rejected in my wishes for him to engage with me, during this scary and unknown time that was very near. A time I was expected to birth a baby, without ever having done it before and I didn’t want to feel scared and alone in that. I walked to the station by myself, crying all the way. As the train was about to arrive, he appeared and came along reluctantly. I was glad, even though I knew he was struggling to take part, that at least he had been there to hear Lisa’s words, to have had to connect with me and to have done it, so he could see how I wished to birth our baby.
It was Xmas Day 2010 and the baby was still in my tummy, past the due date. My parents drove up from Somerset with all that was needed to make a big roast dinner. We prepared it, popped it in the oven and then headed to the park for a snowy walk, basketball in hand. My partner used to play semi-professionally and my parents bought him a ball again, as an incentive to get back in to sport, out of smoking and develop a hobby for himself that could become nourishing and something he could do out of the house and feel good doing. We all played. I think it was the jumping on the pitch, as well as a soft deep glass of red wine that I finally allowed myself to sip with my big lunch on that day, that set me in to a very rested place that evening to go to bed. I woke at around 3am with contractions. It felt like short cramping type pains and I lyed there in my bed, in the dark and quiet of the night, partner by my side asleep and kept my eye on the clock, timing the distance inbetween. As somewhere along the line, I must have read that this is what you did. They finally became stronger and a few mins apart, when I decided to wake my partner. He got up and assured me to be patient. He focused on gathering his camera equipment, as opposed to the labour itself and let me ride it through for a while. He intended to film our experience. Not knowing what active labour really was, we reached a point where it felt the time we should start to exit towards the Homerton Hospital Birthing Unit. The drive was uncomfortable, but not long. We awkwardly found a place to park, snow on the ground outside, and made our way in to the warmth of the hospital. Arriving in a sterile waiting room, we were made to wait, until finally being taken to a little bed with a curtain drawn around for an initial assessment. I was 3cm dilated. At the time, I didn’t even register that I wouldn’t be ready for a while longer, I was reminded that 10cm was the normal dilation needed to get the baby out. So disheartened a little, I realised that I had a while to go. I still had energy sustaining me, so feeling motivated to apply my Yoga practice and all that I had been taught during the Birth Prep Workshop, I put it in to action what I could. I remembered the story she recalled of a women out on Hampstead Heath, once walking her dog realised she was in labour, so had walked her way home doing the ‘camel walk’ (a dynamic posture of stepping and raising your leg, one by one, up and out to the side, to open the pelvis and sink in to a dropping walking motion) and by the time she was home, she was fully dilated. So now wearing a revealing hospital gown, my partner and I walked the halls to try and dilate more. The baby, true to nature now, decided actually to slow down and not rush the process til it was ready. My labour came to a very slow halt. I was led on a bed and told that a trainee midwife was going to try and break my waters to speed things up. As you do as a first time pregnant lady, I just nodded and let it happen, trusting their wisdom. After being prodded several times, with no avail, and witnessing the lack of confidence in this midwifes approach, I began to feel protective over my experience and that maybe I would need to become assertive in questioning what was being done. She admitted that she was uncertain if she had managed to make them break or not, and that maybe it was best that I returned home, where I may be more relaxed. We didnt feel cool about this at all, but had no choice but to leave the hospital and return back to our warehouse. Walking through the door, I felt uneasy and disappointed to be home, as well as shattered and slightly glad. I was still contracting, but it was manageable. My partner suggested that I get in to the bath and I agreed. Towards the end of my pregnancy especially, the bath had become a place of retreat, a place where the baby made movements and I could engage in the peace of lying still and making a connection to it, whilst warm, home and safe.
Slipping in to the water, I gazed and observed the movements in my tummy, closed my eyes to rest and felt baby tracking down inside me, the cramps continued on and I rode it like a wave. My partner sat on the floor, and as time went by, slumped down to a lying position, his hand still holding mine on the baths edge, and fell asleep face down on the bathroom floor. I heard the flat door open and the footsteps of our flatmate James, returned home from xmas time with his partners family. I heard him enter his room, next to our bathroom, where he unaware of us being home, went on to ramp up his sound system listening to Drum and Bass music whilst packing to go on a snowboard holiday that night. The hours went by, the bath got cold, music went off, James left and my contractions had become uncomfortable once more, that eventually I woke my partner and got his assistance to help lift me out of the bath, get dressed and take me back to hospital. This time I knew it was different, as sitting to travel in the car was not easy, struggling to find a comfortable way to be cramped up whilst in full blown labour contractions felt never-ending. The reaction from the midwifes, as we arrived the time, were much more urgent, as we got taken to the Birthing Unit and told I was around 6cm now. 4 more to go!
In my birth plan, I had requested a preference to birth in the birthing pool and to not have any interventions or drugs, so the midwife began filling the pool. I also requested upon my return that I did not want any trainee midwifes now involved. There are parts of this period that are blurry. I remember being asked if I wanted some hot food, a cooked meal! I was horrified and said that maybe my partner did, but definitely not me. He wasn’t allowed, much to his annoyance, it was late in the day and we hadn’t eaten a thing. I’d remembered to grab the tiny bite sized homemade minced pies that my friend Chloe had given us on Xmas Eve, in a brown paper bag, so he and I nibbled on bits of those at a certain stage. My partners smell, to me, was so comforting, that I spent a lot of this time leaning on his shoulder, with my arms around his neck. His trousers were always worn so low, that he would struggle to pull them up constantly, revealing his backside no doubt as the weight of me contracting pulled them down. Suddenly my sensitivity to light, sound and smell grew so strong that even the sound of the water hitting the base of the pool felt like a digger drilling the earth, that we abandoned the pool idea, as I couldnt tolerate the sound long enough for it to become full of water. I kept my eyes closed and my head down a lot to manage the discomfort and could hear but could not open my eyes, to see more than one midwife in the room. They had allowed the trainees in to observe and I was pretty furious and told them to leave. This felt disrespectful and made me feel bad, having to state my request again. At this stage, I also began loosing a lot of blood so was transferred to another part of the hospital where there was the full array of equipment to monitor me and the babys wellbeing.
This is where I had to use my strength, willpower and wisdom to ward off the pressures that arose. I was told that I was needing to lie down, the midwifes were changing shifts a lot and so each one would keep offering intervention in the form of drips and epidurals. I firmly pronounced “no”! My partner was also suggesting it to stop the pain, but I refused. By this point, he was aware that his brother and sister in law had arrived to the hospital and were long waiting outside for babys arrival. He exited to see them and to have a smoke. I was left alone with the midwife coming in and out. After a dramatic trip to the toilet, as the sensation of needing to poo became so alarming that I locked myself in the toilet and refused to come out until I did (not realising or being reassured that this sensation was normal) I found my power through being alone, feeling alone and doing it alone.
I recall, getting off the bed, hearing my yoga teacher in my mind saying to me how to stand on your feet is a great way to encourage the baby to travel down the birth canal and to ground yourself in getting the baby out, to find your roots and connection to a process that requires mother and baby tuning in to one another and coming together in this journey of life. So I stood up, to the midwifes horror. She said I couldn’t because they had me hooked up to heart monitors etc, but I pulled them off and said “I AM!”. I began to rock from side to side, back and forth, making circles and loud, tribal like, chanting sounds and my entire focus, direction and presence turned inwards. I felt my partner after a while, walk back in to the room and I remember glancing up through glazed vision and seeing his bewildered expression as he observed the total shft that had occurred in the labour. He probably attempted to assist, but I carried on, in my own way. I remembered also watching footage of 1970’s men and women using sensuality and touch on the breasts of the labouring woman, as a way to encourage the shift of hormones needed, but by this point I felt like i was on some kind of hippie drug, psychedelic, mental euphoria that I didn’t action the same practice. I was then asked to get back on the bed, as I insisted after only a short while of total immersion, that I was ready to push. The midwife was certain in her self that I was not ready and insisted on another inspection of my vagina. She was surprised to see that it had worked, I was ready! She told me to “push”, and I did. The pushing felt like the best relief I had ever felt in my entire life. It was ecstasy. My partner announced, with tears in his eyes, “It’s a boy!” and the now African midwife casually said “Look a bit lower…”, “Oh it’s a girl!”, he said (having mistaken the umbilical cord for a penis). Our new born baby was put straight up on to my chest and I kissed her wet head. She had arrived. She was safe. She was well. She was perfect, just as she was. Xizi Omega was born. She was cuddled a lot by me and then by my partner, as he removed his shirt and applied skin to skin contact with her. The midwife invited him to take her to the little table to clean her off, and dress her in something warm. We were shown how to swaddle her and did this with a little white hospital blanket. She calmed and rested. I washed myself clean of a lot of dried blood, although continuing to bleed a lot I wore big thick pads and dressed in my own nighty, easy to breast feed in. We embraced her some more, before being moved to the ward for rest. My partner was told to go home to get sleep and return in several hours with a car seat to take us home, after Xizi had doctor check ups and all was well. It was the early hours of the 27th December 2010. The ward was quiet, with the sounds of some unsettled babies or the shoes of the nurses wondering around from bed to bed. One asked me if I was hungry and I said yes, beyond hunger. She returned with a white bread, jam sandwich, a sugary cup of builders tea and a jug of filtered water. It was the best thing I had ever tasted and drank! I would have never have even had this at home, but the sugar and its texture made my taste buds set alight. I was shown how to breast feed and Xizi latched on well. i ensured to ask the midwife to help and guide me, until I felt confident and sure she was feeding well. She and I slept and fed on and off for several hours. I texted some dear friends the news and felt passively elated. I had a girl. I was a mother. It had begun.
In the afternoon, my partner arrived dressed smarter than I had ever seen him dress, wearing no hat (he always wore a hat no matter what) and some black framed specs. He was ready to embrace fatherhood and was showing to make a clear effort to begin and welcome this new beginning. We stayed at home together for the next 3 weeks, with friends and family coming to visit us one by one and meet our angel. My milk came in, I developed a day and nighttime rhythm after a period of feeding on demand, Xizi was growing well, only needing a little coconut oil for dry skin and we welcomed her in to our world.
Raidens Flo: 04. 02. 2014 / Cosham Birthing Centre, Bristol & Southmead Hospital Midwife Led Unit.
I dropped Xizi to her Steiner Kindergarten and stopped off at Sonnies newsagents to buy myself a mid-morning chocolate treat. I walked in the front door, made a cup of herbal tea, grabbed my laptop and pitched myself on the sofa ready to spend the morning watching a film, alone, with my treat. My partner had exited to his studio, an abandoned school in South Bristol, which he spent a lot of time in editing music video and documentary footage. We were now living in Bristol. Life had been a challenge to date. Xizi was incredible, she gave us no concerns and was well and healthy. Our relationship however was on the rocks. We had struggled to manage financially in London and my partner had become locked in to a lifestyle that I became desperate to break for us as a family to survive. In the hope that moving to a more affordable city, I thought the drugs might disappear and we could finally find a home that could be ours and start to live as a family. But in the trying times, we fell pregnant again. This time, it wasn’t straight forward as to if we could become parents, we were parents, our doubt was if having another child was going to break us as a couple, in our finances and add more stress. We went to the Abortion Clinic. We sat there and we were taken through the process of termination. Tears flowed like a river streaming down a mountain, and the power behind this flow was not the wish not to bring a gift of life in to the world, but the sadness that this life was being brought in to a world of unhappiness between to lovers lost in the pressures of life. We didnt go through with it. We couldn’t. I knew deep down in my heart, that this baby was going to be a miracle, that it was already a miracle considering that my partner and I were no longer intimate and had one night come together.
I found my pregnancy very challenging in the sense that I felt alone in it. My daughter was a 2 year old, going on 3 and we had left both her and I’s baby friends that we had made during those first 2 years in London. We had a mini tribe there of 2 particular friends named Jahlia and Gretel that we met at Mum and Baby Yoga when our girls were just weeks old. We bonded over them both having extraordinary cheeks and I equally loved Jahlia and her effortless style and natural way of life. She was a Californian girl, grown up in a hippie lifestyle with Steiner parents and a career in change-making film. All us girls were inseparable in those years and we missed them a lot. However, it was one friend named Amy here, that I owe my openness and trust to, for her devotional friendship since weeks of landing in Bristol and meeting her. We realised just 7 weeks in, that we were both pregnant with our second baby, one week apart. We spent most days together, chatting and comparing our experiences with our connections to our partners, our hormones, our aches and pains, our exhaustions for already having to run around after one child and our work commitments that we sustained. I had begun attempting to bring money in, without now being able to freelance much anymore without having to head to London, I worked in shops and helped the Science Museum run events, I worked on another tV job but it was much tougher being away sleeping rough at friends houses and being away from Xizi. I had also begun my Yoga Foundation for Yoga Teacher Training with the BWY, fully underway, I was busy and I was surviving, just. My partner too was striving, but also not surviving well. The constant delegation and negotiation on looking after one child was exhausting and caused many heartaches. We had stopped supporting one another and there was a lack of respect for each others choices and values. It was very sad. I had finally the support of the government with childcare and found a wonderful French Childminder for Xizi named Celine, whom she could go to a few hours a week, so I could work. After her 3rd birthday, it was a relief that Xizi could now move from the Steiner parent and child group, that we had been a part of since we arrived and built our community from, to the Kindergarten, where she could learn to detach from me and make some friendships and adult relationships that could support her growth outside of the family home. This was just a few weeks before baby number 2 was due. We found out the sex this time to feel prepared and to help prepare Xizi.
These precious hours that Xizi was being cared for in kindergarten that day, let me rest. I felt very subdued and still. I chose to watch a film named Mother Durga. As I watched the film, I had these phenomenal parallels arrive and enlightening insights in to some of the narratives that really resonated with me and my beliefs in there being something hghre than the self and I felt grateful that day to have watched this film, that gave me back some self beliefs in preparation for my next birthing experience. I had been doing a yoga practice throughout pregnancy with a local teacher in my community centre, named Marinella. I didn’t, this time, do a workshop with my partner and just held on to Lisa’s teachings and my direct experience from my previous birthing, as my assurances to support myself this time. I intuitively felt that this birthing was going to be more of a solo one.
I remember my partner returning home, just as I was to go and collect xizi from kindergarten and laughing at my insights as I shared with him the story of the film, bantering with me that I was Mother Durga. With Xizi collected, I headed to the park and ran around with her on the roundabout, still fully active but carrying this baby in a much wider and heavier way than I had done with Xizi. So much so that I had periods of pelvic pain towards the end of my pregnancy, that made certain yoga postures difficult and even walking and lifting I had to back off from, during these times. This gave me a great sense of how important it was to not always try and sustain being a superwoman, and to rest and restore when needed. Knowing when to ask for help and when to say no if things felt unmanageable. This was also, a great teaching that extended from the physical to the mental and emotional states to come.
That evening I put Xizi to bed, and headed out to her kindergarten Parents Evening, leaving her to sleep with my partner working from home. It was a joyous evening, a group parents evening painting pictures for our children and having group discussions of best ways of parenting from a steiner perspective. My friend Tortie, a Doula and fellow parent, asked me if I was drunk, as I was giggling and uber relaxed in my seat, slumped and bleary eyed. I laughed it off and said that it was funny she had asked because I felt drunk but kept feeling some twinges, that I has been keeping quiet throughout the evening. The twinges became stronger and stronger, but less cramping like before and this time, more like a blunt dagger. I was ready to leave, but carried on til the end so not to miss the french song and dance we had planned to all do together, making bridges and linking arms we hopped around the hall. I drove myself home, which wasn’t far, but silly looking back. I was experiencing regular contractions by now but I was convinced that I had to prepare myself for a long labour, like before. I arrived home and asked my partner to call my mum and prep her to be ready to drive the hour from Somerset to Bristol to be in the house to care for Xixi, when labour may kick off fully, and to prep my bag, whilst I went for a lie down. Lying down on my low futon bed, lasted no more than 5 mins before I rolled on to my knees on the floor, forehead resting on the bed and burying myself on all fours to find movement and comfort in the ever growing stronger contractions that came thick and fast. I began making loud noises, shouting out ‘ha’ sounds and releasing the intensity I felt through the use of sound. My partner appeared in the room, and told me that I was being loud and to be careful not to wake Xizi. He hadn’t yet called my mum and I had to stress the urgency to him and convince him to scrap that idea as a possibility for my mum to arrive in time, and to get on the phone to Xizi’s childminder and ask her to come right away. The baby was coming and I was certain it wasn’t going to be long. My partner helped me down the stairs and the moment my feet hit the ground floor, my waters rapidly broke on to the hallway floor and we knew it was time. No time to gather camera equipment but just make our way outside…
I clambered on to the back seat of the car, still assuming an all fours position, pressing on the place in my eyebrow centre and making sounds. It become rapidly full blown labour and I felt ready to push, but kept holding back the need. Thankfully Celine saved the day with a 10 mins dash to our house and my mum followed suit shortly afterwards, we hit the road to Cosham Birth Centre. We entered, were offered a wheelchair and put in a lift. I couldn’t sit down on my bottom, stood up arm still attached to my forehead and walked myself in to the Birthing room where they could see I had filled my leggings with Meconium. I had no idea what that was, but was clearly told that the baby had pooed inside of me and that it was now crucial to get the baby out urgently because he would be ingesting it, by no longer being protected in water, it could cause an infection on the lungs. They called for an ambulance and told me that I would need to be transferred by ambulance to Southmead Hospital to deliver quickly. My fearlessness rose up like a lioness and after a midwife 2 minutes later, one of 3 including trainees, had carried out a swift vagina inspection, confirmed that I was fully dilated and invited me to just “push!” I braced myself and did just that. I pushed! The trainee was rallying me on with positive words and advised me to push as if I was pushing a big poo out, this was so ironic based on my fears before, this now became my motivation. I pushed now not from my throat but deep in to my bottom, which made the babys head appear and out it came. I delivered the baby with my head still firmly pressing against the bedhead and on all fours. It was a boy and he arrived safe, well and with no complications in less than 2 hours. As I raised my head finally, and made my way on to my back to hold Raiden Flo, the midwife said “o there you are , i didnt know what you looked like til now” and I too saw the people and the room for the first time. i kept mine and Raidens whole birthing experience contained within by unconsciously turning my gaze inwards, yet the sounds and my all fours continuous stance gave me such a sense of earthing and stability to rise to the challenge.
The birthing centre was beautiful, like a home from home, the midwifes were strong, kind and assuring. Unfortunately, due to paperwork insisting that I be still transferred for checks, after a couple of hours bonding, feeding and resting, we were placed in a non-urgent ambulance transfer to Southmead Hospital for checks based on the meconium. The midwifes there were also super. They straight away told me that the best way to check he was fine, was to stick him down my nighty and let him rest heart to heart, chest to chest, where he could connect with my breath and where I could connect with his. All was fine. We slept, we fell in love. My partner left, having been subject to simply observing this whilwind labour. He arrived home to my mum and Xizi making porridge and was told to rest by my mum, where she then drove Xizi to come meet her baby brother. It was a moment that I will never forget. Xizi fell in love immediately. I placed Raiden Flo straight in her arms and I had already known that was to be his name and so had prepared a little gift from him to her, that I offered her from him. It was a book called ‘Zazas Baby Brother” as we often called her Zaza and she was so happy. We returned home with Raiden the next day. Just before leaving, his breathing felt compromised and congested, as we dressed and unrested him to leave hospital, where the midwifes then put a suction in his mouth and cleared his mouth and chest of mucus. He was then fine, we rested at home for a few days, visitors came once again but as life returned to normal much quicker with the responsibilities of already having one child to care for, I was up and out much sooner. The joy was having Amy, having birthed Pipi a few days before, where we spent hours snuggled up talking and breast feeding side by side. Our children are now the best of friends and continue to share a womb like bond. She and I also know eachother inside out, like sisters.
My partner and I officially separated just after Raiden’s first birthday. It is challenging to this day to Co-parent in separate homes and to find the tools we need to communicate well at times. I vow to my yoga practice, my engagement in studies along with Buddhist teachings on acceptance and Love and Kindness and Non Violent communication, I use to support this ongoing challenge to raise our children in the best way that we can manage together. I carried on with my Yoga Teacher Training for a further 3 years, with Raiden on my mat just weeks old and have begun teaching and mentoring ever since.
I am grateful for all that life has thrown at me and for all that I have created to allow me to share practices that can be so supportive and nourishing through the ever changing moments we live and breathe in parenthood, and in life.
Thanks for reading and your respect to these words shared.