Giving birth is a natural and powerful process, evoking strong emotions – positive as well as negative. The Birth Without Fear Method makes it easier for you to handle any stress or fear as it arises, to approach your labour with the right focus together with the support of your partner and others, and to unlock your natural capacity to give birth.
Fear is the major contributing factor that can easily put the brake on the body’s amazing ability to give birth. Fear prevents the release of the calming hormone oxytocin. This hormone is also responsible for progressing labour by governing the contractions of the womb. So fear can block your natural physiological ability to labour and give birth. We can help you to avoid this from happening.
To feel stress and fear at the point of when the pain comes, or when the body starts to feel new and unusual sensations taking hold and thus behaves in new ways, is not in any way unusual. On the contrary, this reaction is a normal part of the natural birthing process.
However, if we enter into this process unprepared and without tools and support to help us, this same fear can easily take control of the whole experience. Giving birth in this state therefore risks becoming a negative experience, or at the very worst a trauma- regardless whether medically it was deemed to have a good outcome.
understanding – of how your physical body and your emotions are connected during childbirth
practical tools – to use when it feels challenging
to practice together – ensuring readiness and fostering a close sense of team work
The Birth Without Fear method includes all of this. It combines four tools and a carefully selected group of support principles that are simple and easy to use.
Aged 22, I was eight months pregnant and working as a theatre director. I stood on a jetty in the centre of Stockholm and thought, “I want to do something other than theatre. Help me find something where I can contribute, use my body and be creative.”
One month later I gave birth to Etienne. And I was one of the women…
…who started fighting what was happening to my body. I panicked. I had been so prepared and so positive and there I was thinking, “Wow, what is this? It HURTS! There’s no point to this!” My poor partner tried to help but I just got angry, increasingy tense and I was absolutely terrified.
I called my midwife. She was calm but firm on the other end of the line, “You have two choices: fight it or work with it.” She got me to change my breathing, making it soft and silent. Then she said, “Now you need to work WITH the pain because it means your baby is coming.” She guided me to go with the contractions. I told her she was mad. She told me to trust her. She kept repeating, “you are not alone, I am here.” I just listened and did as she said. After a while I started to surrender and let go.
It felt like being sucked out of the chaos and into the work of labour. Suddenly I felt as if my baby and I were meeting within my body. As the baby crowned, the primal noises came. I cried, said “yes”, and held my first child in my shaking arms.
As he lay there, it was as if a light was switched on and I was struck by a revelation. I knew that what I had just been through had changed me totally. I knew I wanted to work with birth.
As a newly qualified maternity support nurse, I saw woman after woman encounter the same stress and fear as I had and enter into the same battle. I also saw where they ended up. I saw the trauma it left behind in their bodies. I started to help them to find their power – in the same way that I had been helped – and it worked like magic. Every time. The more I practiced, I started to see patterns. Yet I couldn’t decipher exactly WHY it worked. Within the maternity care at the time there existed a lack in knowledge and appreciation of how the birthing process and women’s emotions were in fact intrinsically linked.
Instead, I discovered the answer by training as a physiotherapist. I continued to fine tune and define the techniques and started writing my book. When I started working with the method with this interdisciplinary approach, it quickly took off. Women started talking to each other. Midwives started to wonder what was happening in those rooms. They attended the ensuing courses and I developed the healthcare-specific model that is now used by several hospitals in Sweden and increasingly abroad thanks to Birth By Heart – our umbrella organization.
The need for an emotionally safe birth exists all over the world. Everywhere where that needs is found, our method needs to exist too. In women’s bodies and in their minds. We wish to create the conditions women need in order to give birth through the intuitive capacity they all carry within them.
Birth By Heart’s vision is a society that fully trusts this capacity. All parents and babies deserve to experience a safe and loving birth which by proxy will support, inform and influence the rest of their lives by providing a fundamentally stronger foundation and more confidence in each other and the world.
Whether the birth was easy or difficult is not the central issue:
“I did it. We did it together.”