Sitting in a chair, watching my kiddo jump over and over and over, AND OVER up and down with an imaginary jump rope, while watching a TV show was astonishing.
She does this. She moves. She can't sit still when she gets home from school. And it is a thing of beauty. She cartwheels to pick up a pencil. Then she realizes it's fun, so she drops it again just so she can do it over.
She skips from the stairs to the kitchen. She gallops up the stairs to her room. She melts on to the floor, and then springs into a cheerleader jump, and then twirls around.
And all this, because she had an impulse to do it, and it felt good.
It just feels good to move.
Kids are really good at figuring out where boundaries are. It's one of the things they are wired to do - push outward and see what pushes back, and what keeps giving way. It's how they learn the rules. It's how their brains work.
And if you have seen anything like the movements I mentioned above in real time, you know what I mean when I say, there is almost zero lag time before having the thought to move, and then moving. A child's body, when free to flow, is thought. Thought in glorious motion.
As we grow, learn more about "appropriate" behavior, and respect for authority, we also gain more self-control or impulse control. This control is one of the things that shows maturity.
But if there is one thing that I wish laboring people would throw out when they go into labor, it's the tightness to which they hold on to their impulses.
Yes, things like controlled breathing are a huge benefit to manage contractions and create rhythm. But what would happen if we opened ourselves up to allow our bodies the freedom to do what it wants to do when laboring?
Early, active, and transitional labor naturally takes a person deeper into their lizard brains as they get closer to birth. For unmedicated labor, accepting the journey to move inward is a great sign you are working with contractions and not against them.
Some common elements of birth that some have trouble expressing are making the guttural noises and fluid movements that a laboring body often wants to convey. Why is that? Because adults overthink.
Why be embarrassed to moan? You are in labor.
Why be ashamed to squat, roll your hips, and arch your back? You are in labor.
Why be embarrassed to take up space, follow an impulse and see where it takes you?
How will you know the boundaries of your birth if you aren't brave enough to test them?
Children are fearless in their movement and exploration, and as adults, I wish we could immulate that spirit more when making the journey into and through birth.
Helping to let go of fear and embarrassment is part of how a doula can assist you in labor.
But if you ever need inspiration on how to own your space, flow in your skin, and find joy in movement, keep your eyes open for the kids that are all around you. They are showing us how to live fearlessly.