No Holding Back for Birth; Make some Noise!
Women’s behavior in every aspect our our lives has been judged and controlled throughout history. We are supposed to be ‘good girls’. We are sent messages, sometime clear, other times much more subtle that we are to do as we are told and not create problems for others.
Having worked in childbirth for over a decade now I have seen this message in the labor rooms as well. I’m not suggesting here that doctors, midwives or nurses are telling women to be a certain way. Instead I am talking about the way we control our own behavior because of cultural messages we have received and are now accepting in our birthing hours
Sarah was having her second child when she arrived on the birth unit. I had been called to meet her and by the sound of her voice I knew we were close. I sat just outside the elevator waiting for her to arrive when suddenly I could hear the loud low sounds of someone moaning. It was 2am and I knew exactly what was happening. Sarahs baby was close and she was making the noises her body needed to help her baby on his journey. When the elevator door opened the noise she was making got even louder. She put her arms around my shoulders, sunk into me, squatted just a little and began to cry as she rocked her hips back and forth. Her crying was even louder than her moaning. Someone in the waiting area gave Sarah a fearful look I noticed how she began to soften her sounds. Her body was a bit more rigid against me and I could tell she was worried about what other around her thought of her behavior. Once we were in the privacy of her birthing room I felt Sarah relax more. Her body became heavy against me and her sounds became louder again. As labor progressed she moaned, cried and even screamed a few times. Her baby was born just 22 minutes after her arrival on the birth unit.
Noise from chanting, humming, screaming, moaning and crying happen all the time in my line of work. There are some studies that even show a connection between our vocal chords and the release of muscles in the perineal area. Have you seen the woman who sings through her labor? If not it’s worth the few minutes to search and watch on You Tube.
Not all women make noise in birth. It’s important to note that some women prefer to go within focusing on their breath and remaining quiet and calm. What’s important when considering this is that each woman follow her bodies lead and do whatever she intuitively feels she needs during her birth.
If you feel the desire to stay calm and quiet then by all means breath and release. If your body wants to move then don’t be afraid to walk, dance, rock, or play with an imaginary hula hoop if you must. It’s all good. And last but not least if you feel the desire to get vocal in your birth, then go ahead and make some noise!