To bookmark:

Login or Sign Up

The Birthing Experience: An Interview of Four Mothers

Experiential Wisdom

Birthing is one of those phenomena that just goes beyond words. It is an incredible accomplishment of female anatomy and spirit. It is an incredible mystery to male health practitioners like myself. There exists a certain quality of these experiences; one that I only catch a glimpse of as a chiropractor peering in from the outside. In short, the pregnant women I provide care for fascinate me to no end! 

All I have is my perception of birth, as a man, looking from the outside-in. I have not nor will I ever give physical birth to another human being. 

I have actually never even been in a room while a woman is giving birth (unless you count my own birth into the world). Sure, I understand the anatomical, neurological, and even aspects of the emotional processes involved, but my direct experience with this remarkable phenomena of nature is limited. 

So, since I have never experienced birth, I have thus come to one simple and yet utterly profound conclusion: I know nothing about the birthing experience. And I know I’m not the only chiropractor who feels or has felt this way. 

Everything is seemingly amplified when that formerly pregnant mother comes back in for her postpartum care. It’s as if her life has gotten bigger in some way. It makes me incredibly curious.

All I know is what I see, sense, feel, and hear from those mothers that I serve. Something has inevitably and indisputably changed in these women who move through the birthing experience. Often there is a warm, lightness that exists and a sense of relief. Other times there is a joyful sense of empowerment. Still others, there is a heaviness of the emotions from the experience and a deep processing that is underway. Of course in the transformational months of postpartum, these perceptions, feelings, and energies mix and vary. Each mother processes their birthing experience in their own way. 

Yet, that thing that they are processing remains a mystery to me! All I know is that everything is seemingly amplified when that formerly pregnant mother comes back in for her postpartum care. It’s as if her life has gotten bigger in some way. It makes me incredibly curious.

As such, I have decided to make it my mission to carry the voice of my remarkable pregnant mothers; these incredible clients that my wife and I have served who agreed to a brief phone interview with me. 

In The Birthing Experience interview, I asked four mothers a series of questions regarding: Pregnancy, Webster Technique Chiropractic care, and the Birthing Experience itself. These mothers are incredible, and over the rapid timespan of a little over a month, I got to watch each of them go through their unique birthing process. What a gift it has been to serve them and hear their honest insights! 

*Note to Reader: These interviews are largely paraphrased and edited to capture the essence of an organic conversation. There are some relevant details filled in with parentheses and some aspects shown in direct quotes. These expressions and edits have been approved by all participating women. 

The Birthing Experience Interview 

Question #1: What was your favorite part about being pregnant? 

Abigail: “Having a kid. That was about the only bright side.” 

Lucy: Experiencing new things that my body was capable of and seeing it function in a way it hadn’t before. “The strength that emerged.” Learning how to care for my body with a new purpose. 

Emily: “My body transforming and seeing how much it could do.” This transformation showed how strong my body is. 

Christine: “I ate a lot and gained a little weight and it was not a big deal.” Breastfeeding to lose weight afterwards.

Question #2: How did you feel in your body as you progressed through your pregnancy? 

Abigail: I didn’t know I was pregnant until about two months in. In the beginning, I felt moody but physically fine (first trimester). Then I felt physically exhausted and lightheaded (second trimester). By the end, I felt physically depleted and diminished (third trimester). “I felt like my body was working harder to grow this second baby than the first.” 

Lucy: It felt like an introduction to a loss of autonomy (she exclaimed while laughing). It was a realization that I was sharing my body with a growing baby. Then realizing that everything I am taking into me is being shared. “Sometimes this was hard and sometimes it doubled the joy.” It depends on the day. The pregnancy was surprisingly comfortable (physically). 

Emily: Physically strong (first trimester). There was an emotional roller coaster at the end of the second trimester (linked with sciatic and pelvis pain). As a whole, it was a massive personal growth journey with journaling and yoga. I read about birth, listened to many positive birth stories, and took various pregnancy courses to prepare (Becoming a Parent while Pregnant). 

Christine: I had so many feelings throughout. In the middle of pregnancy was the honeymoon phase (second trimester). Near the end, I was very tired and ready to have it soon (third trimester). 

Question #3: What did you notice change inside of your body with the Webster Technique Chiropractic care

Abigail: I received consistent care starting early in my second trimester. The biggest difference I noticed was that my body hurt much less after the adjustments. With time, I felt like my body was starting to function better. It felt like it wasn’t working so hard. Toward the end, moving was painful (9 lb baby) and breathing was labored, but after adjustment things were back where they needed to be. “I could breathe better, move better, and was not totally shot sitting in the car putting the seatbelt on.” 

Receiving chiropractic care felt like optimizing the body further as I was carrying more weight as the baby grew. “It felt like chiropractic care helped my physical body process through emotions and their manifestations.”

Lucy: “Thanks to chiropractic, physical therapy and exercise, I thankfully felt strong, comfortable, and present inside of my body.” It was really interesting to have it a regular part of my schedule and routine, noticing how and where I had tendencies for tightness and misalignments. These felt easier to release with more adjustments. “I felt comforted knowing the chiropractor was doing things to keep things aligned and open for birth.” We have been on top of this the whole way and my body was prepared for delivery. The care felt comfortable and the constant communication helped. “Experiencing the whole mind-body connection in a new context was beneficial and interesting.”

Emily: Receiving chiropractic care felt like optimizing the body further as I was carrying more weight as the baby grew. “It felt like chiropractic care helped my physical body process through emotions and their manifestations.”

Christine: I felt more aligned. With the increased body weight and hormonal changes, I left adjustments feeling more balanced physically. “I was able to sleep better with the chiropractic care whereas previously I had discomfort sleeping and insomnia.”

Question #4: How was your birthing experience? 

4A: What was your time frame with pre-labor and active labor (pushing)? 

Abigail: I slept most of pre-labor. Contractions started around 2 a.m. at 5-7 minutes apart and were not painful at all. We got to the hospital at 7:30 a.m., where my cervix was dilated to 4 cm, and I was still having 5-7 minute contractions. Around 12 p.m., contractions began getting intense. Around 2 p.m. I was at 6.5 cm dilation and then considered by hospital staff to be in active labor. I received an epidural around 3:30 p.m. He went “sunny side up” at the last minute and progression was slower. My baby boy was born at 8:11 a.m. the next morning (18 hours total, vaginal birth, second baby). 

Lucy: First contractions began at 7 p.m. Actual pushing began around noon the following day. I spent 1.5 hours pushing, and the baby was delivered at 2 p.m. (19 hours total, vaginal birth, first baby). 

Emily: Early labor began around 3:30 p.m. It was very manageable, and I was able to maintain my usual routine. Contractions became more significant at 9:30 p.m. Around 2 a.m., we were still at home, laboring and waiting on waters to break when contractions shifted and I felt the urge to push. We drove (in quite a rush) to the birthing center and I arrived at 10cm dilated. Our baby was born at 4:21 a.m. (13 hours total, vaginal birth, first baby). 

Christine: Pre-labor lasted about 12 hours. It was not too terribly bad. It progressed at a normal, gradual rate. Active labor was 6 hours of pushing. I took no pain medications or drugs (18 hours total, vaginal birth, first baby). 

4B: Were there any challenging factors? Emotions that arose? 

Abigail: There was a lot of emotional drama with my family that had me distracted and distressed. Mentally could not handle pain and process it and because of this I had to do an epidural. I did not feel ready for it. The hospital brought in the emergency C-section staff member, and I had to stand my ground. I knew I had done it before when it didn’t look like it was possible. “I had the motivation of my firstborn child to pick up and hold when I was back home and knew I wouldn’t be able to do that for a few days if I received a C-section. I could tell my body knew what to do.” 

Lucy: The timing of it all was challenging because we had not slept for over 24 hours. We had to make some decisions and the epidural made it more possible to get through the vaginal birth. It was mentally helpful to have reserved strength for pushing at the end. I was pleasantly surprised with how strong and present I was  by the end of it. I felt, “I can do this and I am doing it and my body is totally capable.” 

Emily: “I felt really prepared and was surprised by how manageable physiological birth was. I felt like I knew what was happening inside of my body because I had educated myself.” I was afraid of a negative birth experience having an affect on postpartum, so I wanted to be sure I had all the tools. 

Christine: There was a delay in progression at one point. We applied castor oil, which made me ill, but I still persevered. I was committed to not going to the hospital. The birthing still progressed and hours later I had my son. “Emotionally, I had times of calm but also times where I needed to draw from inner strength and also look to my husband who reminded me of this strength.”

4C: Did you have a supportive environment and people? 

Abigail: There were 12 people in my room during the time of active pushing due to a hospital shift change. This felt very vulnerable. I couldn’t cover up. Everyone is so used to it but I was not. They had found a cyst in my baby’s brain via ultrasound and thus had the NICU staff there as well. Since there were extra hands, at the same time I felt that I was taken care of very well. Whereas the first birth I had was very intimate and sweet, this second felt rushed, overwhelming, and disappointing in a way. I was disappointed when the nurse announced the sex of the baby when we had wanted it to be a surprise we could see for ourselves. I wanted to be able to express to staff what our expectations were and be heard more fully. My husband was more educated this time, and I was able to lean on him emotionally. 

Lucy: I had a hugely supportive experience with my husband. Our doula was incredible. The staff at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, were awesome. The gynecologist was great. “It was a very encouraging environment and everyone was great!” 

Emily: I felt supported at the Lilac Health Asheville birth center. “It was a low-key experience with my husband, our doula, the center’s birth attendant, and midwife.” There were five people present as I was clear about privacy being important to me. I stayed home as long as I could and went to the birth center when I felt active labor occurring.” 

Christine:My husband’s presence helped so much, encouraging me and motivating me. My midwife team was great and our doula stayed there the whole time —which was beyond expectations seeing how long the birth was.” There were four or five midwives that traded in and out with a consistent care team of about five at Lilac Health Asheville birth center. They had a very knowledgeable staff and I felt comfortable as a client there. They made my husband feel included and made me feel confident in my body and abilities. 

4D: What was the biggest help? 

Abigail: My husband was not as stressed this second time and was able to be more supportive and present. He understood more and was less scared. 

Having prepared with a lot of education, I was able to navigate the options presented. “I was physically active and the chiropractic helped to where I never felt like my body was failing.”

Lucy: Having prepared with a lot of education, I was able to navigate the options presented. “I was physically active and the chiropractic helped to where I never felt like my body was failing.” There was a combination of encouraging people. I had all the resources I felt like I needed. The doula helped with mental-emotional support. My husband and I took a class together with the doula which, was very helpful and very comfortable. “Our doula was very present, aware and responsive to what I needed.” 

Emily: Understanding what was happening helped the most. 

Christine: (See prior question) The trained nurse midwives in the birth center. They were completely professional. It was a safe and comfortable environment. So much is the mind and emotional state. My baby son was very spiritual and cognizant.

4E: What wisdom and spiritual takeaways do you feel you gained from the birthing experience? 

All the information I absorbed about birth while pregnant and seeking out preventative care set me up to become someone’s parent.

Abigail: “I feel like I am just now fully starting to process everything. He was born not the way I imagined it” (statement made three weeks and day after birth). His birth was disappointing emotionally. I had to sweep it under the rug emotionally because thinking about birth was disappointing in that it went down the way it did. Just now I am starting to feel the excitement and joy when picking him up. My baby was taken away after birth and that first contact golden hour didn’t happen. “I don’t love him any less but I have had to work so much harder to emotionally connect with him than my firstborn.” 

Lucy: “Trusting that my body knows what to do is huge and being able to listen and respond.” Tuning in; practicing during pregnancy was important. Educating myself as much as possible ahead of time was extremely helpful in my ability to respond calmly in the moment. This education enabled me not to react out of fear. Having a support team and asking for help, leaning on people who are experts in different arenas of it. “Let yourself be supported by as many people as are supportive to you.” Using the body to care for another and also receiving care from others; pouring out and pouring in. Would have liked more postpartum education (schedule logistics, breastfeeding, etc). 

Emily: All the information I absorbed about birth while pregnant and seeking out preventative care set me up to become someone’s parent. “Becoming your own advocate and doing your own research and realizing you can’t always just go with the flow and do what others say you should.” I gained a solid trust in myself, my body, and my baby. My advice would be to prepare for taking care of a newborn and all that goes with that (educate on postpartum). 

Christine: “I have experienced relief and the greatest joy and love I’ve ever known with birth. I am proud that my son’s introduction into the world was without drugs. I felt like an empowered Goddess!” I accomplished one of the most difficult things, and the results were incredible. A perfect baby with no issues and is hitting developmental milestones as expected. My husband and I feel more connected as a couple and it is so incredible seeing my husband connecting with our son. “This is probably the closest I have ever felt to God.” With so many ugly stories out there, no woman should be ashamed of having a baby, as it’s the most beautiful, natural thing. We need stories that are positive and empowering to be communicated.