My two minute conversation with Ina May Gaskin
So if you're in the birth world, you'll know who Ina May is but if you're not and you'd like some point of reference, Ina May is to birth what Beyoncé is to pop music, legendary.
Ina May is a midwife, author and positive birth advocate who has written such inspirational books as 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth' and 'Spiritual Midwifery'. She has attended over 1200 births herself and is the founder and director of The Farm Midwifery Centre in Tennessee. She lectures all over the world and if anyone knows about birth and what can help a labouring woman have a great experience, it is her.
So at the Doula U.K. Conference last year I was lucky enough to meet her, thank you DUK! Ina May came to give a talk at the conference, she also ran a workshop Q & A and hung out with the doulas who were in the hotel the night before, what a woman. I am a total idiot when meeting people I admire so there was no chance of me being brave in the hotel bar, despite the prosecco. In my TV days I always had my trusty bestie by my side at some green room wrap party and she'd push me into saying hello, thank goodness! (I love Juliette Lewis), however this time I had to go it alone.
I had to have a good old talk with myself. It would have been soooo easy to bottle it but I KNEW I would always regret it. So I went and bought her recent book 'Birth Matters' from the Pinter and Martin stall for a bit of cover and I lined up. It was lunchtime so there were only a couple of people around her...luckily the gorgeous Laura from Affinity Birthing was there to support and pap me. I was waiting in the queue thinking I can't be tongue tied, I can't just say oh I love your books, what could I ask this birth guru...so I decided in the queue I would ask 'what one phrase do you use with women in labour?' I'm all about language in the birth room and in life.
It's funny I kind of knew what she'd say 'well that depends on the woman'...of course it does! However being the amazing intuitive being she is, could tell I wanted something to satisfy our interaction so she said 'ok, how about this,
'Change your expectation for appreciation, well that will change the world'
Now that completely blew me away. In a way, it's kind of simple right? All the best ideas always are. And when a birthing heroine says it to you, up close and personal, it just sinks in and sticks.
That phrase has been in my head ever since. And do you know what it works...for EVERYTHING. It's especially great with my hubby. If I'm feeling frustrated about something he's done, in comes the new inner mantra, and now I have a different perspective, instead I'm GRATEFUL in that moment for what he tried to do, rather than seeing the annoying stuff he did do! (Love you Ruthers.)
This is especially important with birth...we can plan and plan and plan but we just can't know... and not knowing needs to be part of the plan too. Finding a way to be ok with that is important. Antenatal prep should be more about finding your voice to speak up when your intuition is giving off warning signals, helping you let go so you can ride the waves of motherhood and grounding yourself into a calm space so you can handle the overwhelm.
Since I brought in a daily gratitude practice into my life, I'm so much happier. I'm constantly focusing on what I have, not what I don't. And you can do this with birth too. Birth doesn't always go to plan and that can be really hard to deal with (I've been there) but if you can accept it and release it and then look to all the good that happened, you too can change the world.