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Birth, Bradley, and Brahms

Birth, Bradley, and Brahms: If animals don't scream or writhe in pain, why should we?

Center stage without the stage fright.  No pain, no drugs, just me, my coach, and Brahms.  No, I wasn't entering a concert hall stage about to perform with a concerto on my brain.  I was about to experience the birth of my child with the lesser known but highly successful Bradley method of birth.  Diaphragmatic breathing and concentration.  Natural and simple.  The same technique for breath control, relaxation and energy conservation used by musicians, singers, swimmers, and babies  - who have yet to learn the up-tight chest breathing style that most adults know so well.  There are other birthing methods but I have not known anyone who has used, for example, the artificial panting and blowing with complete no drug/no pain success.  Often hyperventilating takes over with that method and is followed by loss of control, hence fear and pain.  If you have had a no pain/no drug Lamaze birth, let me know.  I haven’t heard of any.   

There I was plugged into music through headphones, instead of being plugged into to a fetal monitor.  The music was my guide instead of the bleeps of an impersonal machine.  Beats instead of bleeps.  I was ready.  I could still hear the voice of my husband who was my coach and everyone around me, but I was in tune with my body, my baby, and Brahms.  I pictured the path my soon-to-be-born would take as the music accompanied us, it's rhythm, our steady magic.  I was the conductor, guiding the movement, the journey, as my daughter took on a life of her own.

I wasn't always playing this tune.  Years before, I had birth fright.  I believed the perpetuated myth in film in the media, and in the voices of those who suffered fear and agony, that there must be pain or drugs at birth.  Put me out for nine months and wake me when it's over, I used to anxiously, half-jokingly say.  But the day I decided it was time to have a child, I researched everything I could get my hands on that discounted the myth that labor must include pain.  True, birthing labor is the hardest work you'll ever do - besides being a Mom - but it doesn't have to be painful.  And, don't get me wrong, if there are complications, one should have medical professionals render necessary procedures.  That's what modern medicine is for.  Yet, I've learned that this as all natural, normal body functions were made to exist without pain.  Animals don't scream at birth time, why should we? 

What's the secret?  No secret!  Just this method named after Dr. Bradley, the author of Husband Coached Childbirth, who created this method based on what is natural for the human female form. (Anyone you choose can be your coach). There are registered Bradley classes all over the world, but in the U.S. they can be hard to find.  So look hard!

How does it work?  To sum it up, by losing your fear of birth, you create a physical, mental, and psychological climate for no pain.  When we are fearful our muscles tense, hence, muscle pain.  Two other books that highly support this concept of birth without drugs or pain are,  Immaculate Deception and Childbirth Without Fear.  All three books reassured me that I could take control of my body and the birthing experience.  Each book provides a list of unnecessary procedures that are often indicated unfairly as routine in the maternity ward.  Whether you give birth at home or in a hospital setting, you can be the maestro of your orchestration.  Many hospitals and doctors today have this understanding but others do not so find out ahead of time if you plan to take this natural path.   Today’s birthing world is also filled with midwives and doulas who can be there to help support your no drug/no pain birth plans.  

Now you know the simple truth behind birth as it was meant to be.  Still, if you are one of those people who are not interested in being present, awake and aware at this most unique and precious moment in your life, perhaps this info is not for you.  As a convert to natural birth, I have strong convictions on this method instead of those which are more convenient for the medical profession and more expensive for the mother, and tout unnatural alternatives.  Of course, everyone has to make their own choice for such an experience.  To paraphrase Thoreau, each has "...to step to the music which {she} hears." 

Back to the music. After a few hours of Bradley and Brahms in the background, there was a round of applause from those who assisted me in my daughter's birth. The concert was over but the harmonies and discords of mother and child were about to begin! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

TTH June 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Must be a slow news day!!
Mary Crescenzo June 04, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Not for a woman about to give birth at any moment! Thanks for reading my blog and posting your comment.
John Taggart June 04, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Good artical, the method of controlling pain, I think, can help with other pains, even cronic pain.
Lanning Taliaferro June 04, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Hi, TTH (and thanks, Mary) The 16,000+ folks who blog on Patch express many points of view on many issues that are important to them, their readers and our communities. It's great to blog on Patch, give it a try!

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