We love to hear from our teachers as their Calm Birth journey unfolds. Amy Lee Czadzeck, a bodyworker in Upstate New York, shared with us about her own experience of pregnancy and birth, and how Calm Birth may have been a welcome tool. Her deep insights into each practice will surely guide her clients to use these meditations for the long run! We're so pleased to have Amy in our community. Check out her beautiful website for her company, To the Moon and Back Care... and make sure to look her up if you're in Upstate NY!
I spent my second pregnancy with severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum. My six year-old son stood nightly at the toilet rubbing my back as I filled up the toilet bowl. I was in bed sick most of those months and was worried sick that I would have an unhealthy baby because of the illness. There were a few things to get me through that pregnancy: the love and connection I had for this being growing within, the love and connection I felt for my husband and other child, and Netflix binge-watching the whole series of Cheers.
I wanted to name this baby Sam Malone. Instead, we named him Milo, which means soldier. It felt like he fought hard along with me to come to this world. And we are so glad he is here. If I had known and practiced any bit of the Calm Birth method, I surely would have added that to my list of things that got me through.
The birth of my child was beautiful and quick and what I had hoped for, despite my challenges. I had intuitive trust in my body, and I, as a bodyworker and former dancer, knew I had breath and movement available for the ready through labor. Plus, the hands of my husband on my sacrum surely helped, and the supportive nurses were welcomed as they helped me get into water and held the space for my movement. The pain of birth with the reward of a healthy baby on the other end truly felt like nothing to the agony of those months nauseous and vomiting.
Empowered birth is a great tagline for Calm Birth because it is truly what it offers. The intake of information these days is heightened by social media outlets, 24-hour news, and well-meaning, but perhaps too open, person in the grocery store line, who shares horror stories about when their sisters’ friends’ cousin had this pregnancy and this is what happened during birth. Violent images and traumatic stories are being shown daily from dentist office tv screens to our own news feeds on our phone. Because of this bombardment, I wonder where enters any peace for any of us. And so, the value of Calm Birth enters.
How often do we consciously breathe? How often do we take time to understand what mind feels like and what awareness is? Do we seek to acknowledge present sensations in our body? How do we check in to the center of our being? Isn’t it essential to connect self to others? How can we permeate our mind-body-spirit system and create healing for ourselves, our births, our children? Calm Birth meets those questions, not with dogma, not with answers, but with experiences touched by practice of breath and awareness.
Calm Birth is based on centuries of ancient healing and evidence based research in the mind-body medicine field. The fact that I could bring that information to a client is great but it is not what sustains my or my client’s practice. Every meditation done with each client is not about proving it to be effective, or that these wise other cultures knew “the way” and so should we. It is immensely about the intention to connect to their own experience of their modern day, present-time pregnancy. To connect to themselves, and to their child.
Showing up and sitting in our power is the way we begin each class. To sit with an upright spine, with hands resting soft, with tongue in a relaxed manner is simply how we start. The message that we are giving to our body systems is profound, even at this point.
The Practice of Opening is a progressive relaxation process and is a welcoming entry point for any growing pregnant body with its aches and pains. This is where I imagine the immune system, hormones, and nervous system slowing down and getting in sync. Womb Breathing is breathing oxygen AND life giving energy. Each client has unique ideas about what it feels like for them. I myself enjoy doing this the most, and spontaneously doing it. I think spontaneity is the gift of it because it offers the acknowledgement that we are all capable and resilient to do something in a given situation to connect to something deep within and throughout the space of our world. Giving and Receiving is about loving kindness and finding your own inner healer. For some this may feel different at first to turn pain into light, but I find it is completely satisfying in a world that tries to fix things, instead of being with things, and is a worthy offering. And it’s probably one of the best tools to have in your pocket as you become a new parent and aren’t getting much sleep.
I’m going to close with another story about my first child. He is now 10 and writes like a pro. I’ll forever be grateful for him standing by my side during the pregnancy. He was writing today about he feels like there is so many options and choices we make without knowing. He wrote about how he is beginning to try to remind himself to pay attention. He wrote about it in the way of what food he picks to eat. He wrote about how sometimes he feels what his guts wants and yet sometimes he goes against his gut. I’m comparing his words to birth but I think they correlate with growing through life. There are so many options nowadays: choices we make in labor because of fear or pain, choices we make on the support we get, the healthful things we do or don’t do. Sometimes we understand our gut feelings and compassion/attachment to ourselves and children, and sometimes we go against our gut feelings and resent or regret some aspects of our experiences. Whatever birth one has, I believe it is crucial that the birther feel empowered in their choices and enlightened in simplicity of these moments growing a child, which is a miracle. I believe Calm Birth is most helpful with clearing the way for each of us who practice it. With Calm Birth, we can stabilize this uncertain and overwhelming space of pregnancy, birth, and beyond, with a nature of ease and strength. I hope to continually support those who come in my doors to savor their breath with awareness free of mind.