≡ Menu

Top Four Yogini States of Mind for Your ‘Old School’ Birthing Experience

in In Class, YD News

'Pure Joy' photo: Jane McCrae, midwife. via National Geographic

By Toni Nagy

I am not a big fan of the term “natural childbirth.” It implies that other births are what? Not natural? Synthetic? Artificial? I think the term needs a re-branding so it doesn’t have that tinge of moral superiority. How about Old School birth? It’s fresh… it’s hip hop… the kids these days will love it. And just think, you don’t have to go “natural” in a yurt while your midwife does a pagan ceremonial moon dance as she adorns you with eagle feathers and journey-seed crystals to have one.

If you want to go “Old School” your yoga practice will likely be one of the most helpful tools besides a vice.  After having gone through it myself, I highly suggest you give yoga a try so you can have the ancient human experience, yurt unnecessary, and you can feel morally superior, too.

There are many yoga poses that will help you open your root chakra and prepare your hips for birthing, the most attractive being goddess.

(I suggest you do this one in front of strangers as often as possible.)

Yet, it was the mental aspect of yoga that I found to be most helpful for my birthing experience.  Naturally, your body knows what to do and is going through instinctual preparations to eventually expel that baby. It is your mind you have to contend with during the labor process.  Your yoga practice takes commitment, understanding, being present in the now, and trusting your body.  All these psychological exercises you have been doing on your mat will be the most supportive places for you to come home to in your mind while a human head erupts from your being. Leading us to the…

Top Four Yogini States of Mind for Your ‘Old School’ Birthing Experience

Commitment: You have to be really committed. If you’re going for it, I suggest bringing a birth plan that outlines no one offer any drugs or pain medication. During my birth, if someone had asked me if I wanted to take the pain away, I would have told them to “Forget the needle and pack that epidural into a crack pipe. In fact, why don’t you bunny over to the street corner and score me some black tar heroine to inject into my eyeball.” Start writing it now, and forewarn partners, care providers, doulas, innocent bystanders, etc.

Understanding: It is important to educate yourself so you don’t feel at the mercy of the medical institution. The more you know, the more empowered you will feel.  Although you will feel pain, it is not the type of pain that is indicating something is wrong. The more you understand how your brain works to create the necessary endorphins to manage this pain, the more you will feel like you can sustain the discomfort, and less likely to accept interventions which often have the domino effect (pitocin+increased contractions and pain=epidural+loss of connection, birthing hormones=lapsed time+possible complications+panic=c-section+birth plan out the window). Of course, there are circumstances where you would naturally prioritize the health of your baby and you by taking a different route, but the more you understand, the more comfortable you will be with the decisions you make.

Now: Giving birth “Old School” is the one time in life where you have no choice but to be fully present and living in the now. Like the enlightening experience of meditation, you are not distracted by your inner monologue. For once in your life you are free of the excess baggage of mental disruption. Just think, yogis spend a lifetime in search of this type of clarity, and now you can experience it in full effect. After birthing your baby it is nearly impossible to maintain this total immersion in the now. I guarantee after the initial bliss wears off you will be text messaging while breast feeding, or checking facebook while preparing a bottle. Point is, birth is a moment in life that is so intense and requires so much concentration, that your mind not need be thinking whether or not you switched the laundry load.

Trust: Trust is probably the most important element for an Old School birth experience. Trusting that your baby is going to come out. Trusting that your body knows what to do. Trusting that the baby knows what to do. Trusting that you are partners in this birth with the same magnificent agenda; to finally meet each other.

Even though you will hit many walls during the labor, you will break through all of them. Just when you think you can’t go any further, you can, and you will. And when your baby is born, you will both be awake and alert. This way you can stare into their eyes and assert your authority. Or rather, you both can experience the natural high of birth, which is by far the most intense, magical high of your life. So there you have it. Commitment, Understanding, Now and Trust. I am sure that is an acronym you can remember.

Toni Nagy writes for the blog tonibologna.com, an amazing blog about Toni Nagy and her baby. It was not easy for Toni to get the job writing for Toni, and rumor has it she slept her way to the top.  Toni has written many text messages, and has been published by Huffington Post and Salon.com.



26 comments… add one
  • This is great. Love it!

  • Brilliant! and so true. Recently, I heard that some people consider a natural birth a vaginal delivery with an epidural so I think this term does need some clarification. Calling it old school should get some fun conversations started.

  • David

    Disclaimer: I am not a woman. I have been present for the births of our two children – first one was technologically enhanced, the second was old school. Women can have pretty much any experience a man can have (okay, maybe not any) but a man can’t even get close to the direct experience of childbirth. Please try to be patient with us on those many occasions when we are so clueless. Thank you.

  • See I wanted to cry. I also appreciate the good things to share them. What can I share it.

  • Emily

    My only comment here is that rigidity (i.e.- birthing plans, which, like promises, are made to be broken) is the enemy of childbirth. If you get too locked into any notion of how your “perfect” experience goes, you’re in for disappointment. Have a plan, but expect the unexpected! And, breathe.

  • Love it and love the acronym. I had an old school birth, in our cabin in Vermont, and actually didn’t experience pain. Just some REALLY INTENSE sensations- like the most intense 5 hour yoga pose ever. Baby slipped out before midwife arrived. My advice to mamas to be is to practice yoga every day and squat whenever possible, throughout pregnancy.

  • Emma

    I wholeheartedly agree with Emily.

  • Loving this post! The term “old school” refers to what we in the field call physiologic birth… birth that is not interfered.

    To Emily’s comment – yes! Rigidity can cause a traumatic birth experience. I’ve seen it far to often in my line of work.

    Sat Nam.

  • Leigh Biearman

    Love this!! So true!!

  • loved this post! being 100% present in the moment is so true. you don’t have time to think about anything else except what is happening with your body. while i know i felt every.single.contraction without an epidural, somehow that time flew by. thanks for sharing.

  • Love it! I loved the birth process and wish I could do it again. Thanks for a the giggle too!

  • Debbie

    Having had 8 old school childbirth experiences I affirm that.
    yoga helps birth helps yoga

  • Holy moly I love this. I’ve just started this epic journey into motherhood and have definitely been having some dreams about labor that wake me up in a cold sweat. I have had a few vague notions, hopes, ideas that all I’ve learned in yoga was going to come in pretty handy during this whole experience. Now I have an unforgettable acronym to help. Yeah!

Leave a Comment