3 Ways to Use ChiRunning in Labor
As a friend-Doula I have witnessed three magical births. Not having birthed yet myself, the closest thing I can compare it to is the marathon (I realize this is probably peanuts). In the marathon, the last stretch is especially physically challenging. It is also incredibly mentally demanding – so you prepare for months before with mental and physical techniques, as well as support from your friends and family. The same must hold true for labor – this is your chance to power through the wall (the ring of fire), break the ribbon and cross the finish line of the marathon that is pregnancy with friends and family cheering you on. However, I’m willing to fashion a guess that labor is like arriving at mile 21 without having even tried on running shoes before.
On my recent long run I got to thinking (that happens a lot…) and I started comparing some of the processes I have learned in ChiRunning to what might happen in labor. Hey, gotta use what you have, right? 🙂
- Don’t Struggle – relax. If you’re trying too hard, you’re not doing it right. “You” don’t have to do anything except trust your body and let go. If there was ever a time to apply the T’ai Chi principle of cotton and steel it’s when your center is actively becoming like steel as it pushes the baby lower and lower – it’s up to mama to remember her limbs need to be cotton. As the ritual of birth progresses, allow your extremities to move and do what they need to balance the work that is being done in the core. If you allow the ancient knowledge of the body to take over, movements will come to help things progress, and to help you cope.
- Allow the energy to take you where you are going. In running, that’s forward. If you imagine a bungee cord tied to your hips pulling you forward you can feel a subtle physical ease of motion. The same must be true in labor for the downward energy needed as the baby descends further and further. Every contraction is widening and descending, and if you allow that energy to take over it will work for you. When running forward, you don’t try to hold back so apply the same idea to the downward pull and hopefully your journey through the sensation isn’t prolonged.
- Go along for the ride! In ChiRunning, your balance shifts forward with a slight lean, and with gravity, your body comes along for the ride. This is the efficient way of using your body plus gravity to create velocity. Contractions are like waves, and as intense as they are they must be ridden out and not fought against. If you give in and ride the wave your body can open up and baby can descend faster. On a larger scale, go along for the 9 month ride! You have humbly accepted changes to your body, your life, and your perspective which has subtly mentally prepared yourself to continue that through labor, if you let it.
I would love to know if these ring true!