This week is the second instalment in our five-part series on the topic of birth and we’re hearing from Michelle Nicolaou-Newman, mother of three, co-founder of the Central Coast Montessori School and owner of Mammabearth, where she offers birth and postpartum support to families.
When we fall pregnant, the focus is often directed towards how to birth, where to birth, which pregnancy class to take, what material things are needed, money, as well as various other individual requirements and whilst these all play a functional part, other significant aspects about this time may be overlooked.
Pregnancy is a place we may arrive to either consciously or unconsciously and sometimes even with great trepidation. Whatever the circumstances were that lead us here, this time brings our awareness to something far greater than was known to us before and the potential that lies within it, is profound and lifechanging.
It will conjure a range of experiences from elation, anticipation, huge hormonal shifts and at times, possible feelings of uncertainty or anxiety around the realities of what lies ahead.
From the moment of conception, the foundations for this new life are being laid and the symbiotic relationship with its first environment begins. The conditions that surround it are being absorbed and they will all play a relevant part in its creation. This creation of life relies predominantly on the Mother, as within her lies the specific biological intelligence for which it can develop and potentially thrive.
Pregnancy is considered one of the most significant building phases of life. We are literally growing and “building” a human, and beyond the womb, the Newborn will grow and “build” themselves with the help of nutrients taken, in most cases, from Mothers body. Combined with love, connection and safety, these will create the essential components for this building phase, so the quality of our food and overall health and wellbeing over this time matters a lot.
We can often carry on with life unaware of the ways this foetus can be affected by our emotional states, our health, lifestyle choices and environmental factors. It is as though because we can’t physically see within that space, the overall choices we make around our quality of life, won’t make a lot of difference, yet technology has now made it possible to research into the earliest phases from the point of conception onwards, indicating the factors surrounding early developmental life can create short and longterm consequences for the unborn child.
With the slow yet steady evolution of modern culture over hundreds of years, adaptations have been made to the traditional customs that were once devoted to honouring this time of creation and for the most part, we are now surrounded by an
understanding and attitude that holds the qualities of pregnancy, birth and beyond, with less reverence. The major shifts and changes that these times conjure on all levels, are not being acknowledged in a way that can be aligned with our fundamental wellbeing.
The alterations this time creates in our lives, will break us wide open in ways we often aren’t prepared for. There is no going back to the way life was previously and any desire to return to the “past life”, may cause an immense unrest. That time has passed and is passing within each moment of gestation as the momentum towards a new phase and stage of life comes closer. In many cases, this aspect alone can become a contentious issue within relationships, as we are not often equipped with ways to cope with these changes or navigate this new experience and therefore may begin to wonder why it isn’t the way we pictured or imagined it to be. This experience may then set us up to be at the whim of external influences, beliefs, attitudes and constructs that are not intrinsically aligned to us which can cause confusion, disorientation and can be counterintuitive.
With varying perspectives around a certain compliance to this time, the simple and fundamental truths surrounding this cycle of life can become overly complicated. Truths relative to the adjustment and integration into what we can refer to as one of the most sacred aspects of being human. As a result, this can bring a disconnection from our innate wisdom and trust in this significant life transition, leading us to venture outside of ourselves for the directions on “how to do” pregnancy, birth and beyond, subsequently causing a compromise within the inherently strong and intelligent gestational communication that exists between Mother and Baby.
Research has shown us the various senses of the Newborn were already at use throughout pregnancy. They feel our physiological responses to emotions, they respond to external sounds, they experience our quality of life and relationships, they feel what we feel and are aware of more than we can ever imagine. Their capacity for this is, without a doubt, mind blowing and very much worthy of our understanding, consideration and respect.
The depth that lies within the potential of pregnancy, birth and beyond is considerable and each choice we make toward bringing our awareness closer to ways we can co-create a greater connection to it, the quality of our relationships with humans and nature, our emotional states, our bodies, boundaries and the cycles of life, will not only benefit us but will imprint onto the generations to come.
Pregnancy, birth and becoming a family is a time of immense self-discovery, maturity, and perpetual growth. If this time can be approached with a sensitivity towards the transformation that is taking place, both seen and unseen, then we have a greater chance of adapting to this new life unfolding with a little more (or perhaps even a lot more) ease, grace, and acceptance from which we can thrive in this time and not just survive it.
Michelle facilitates monthly Women’s Circles at Central Coast Montessori, as well as one-on-one sessions and events and workshops for pregnant couples and new mothers at her Mammabearth space in Bateau Bay. Learn more at www.instagram.com/mammabearth/