I can feel the anticipation as I walk into the room. My client lies on her side, propped in every possible way by pillows, belly bulging and the ruddiness of coming to the end of a journey on her face.
She is in the final month of her pregnancy and she is here for acupuncture to help prepare her body for labor. Using acupuncture has been shown to shorten the length of labor, decrease the amount of pain medication used in labor and reduce the incidence of cesarean section.
As I place the needles in her legs, hands and low back, I ask her if she feels prepared. We talk about the renovations they did to the kitchen that are finally finishing up, the color they painted the nursery, the 6 hours she and her husband spent trying to get the crib together. She tells me her mom is coming to help out for a couple of weeks and is excited, but she’s not sure about having her mom stay at the house.
I ask her again if she feels prepared. The air in the room changes.
She is standing on the precipice of motherhood, staring into the mystery with the wisdom of women bubbling inside her.
After a beat, she answers. I am excited. I have been waiting for this for so long. And I am eager to see this little being.
I am also scared. Scared of labor and how I will handle it’s intensity. Unsure if I will have the birth experience I hope for.
Scared of what to do once the baby arrives. I feel like I don’t know anything about babies! We have all of the right “stuff”, but I’m not sure what half of it is for! And I already feel so tired. What am I going to feel like once I am not getting any sleep??!
This is the moment I take a breath and feel my feet on the ground. I have to trust that what’s going to come out of me will serve this woman on her journey and offer her some affirmation.
“You are wise. The way you have handled everything up to this point in your pregnancy will inform the way you do everything afterward. You have already cultivated connections and found resources that you can turn to when you have questions. You will never be alone in this.”
“You’ve already been practicing being tired, but be assured it may feel very different once the focus shifts from you to your baby.”
“You are here, preparing your body for labour, setting the wheels in motion, encouraging your cervix to ripen and the baby to move lower in your pelvis. You have done this and many other things to set yourself up for the birth experience you desire. You cannot know how it will go, only rest in knowing that you are as prepared as you can be.”
“Your baby and you will learn each other as you establish your relationship. It will take time before it feels natural and familiar, so don’t expect to get it just right. Remain curious, be open to learning and know it will continue to change.”
I gently take her needles out and rub her low back and her swollen feet. We’re quiet for a while. We finish up and I tell her I will see her next week.
She stops me by gently taking my hand, looks me full in the face and says, “Thank you for talking with me.”
I watch her leave the clinic, bursting with the life inside her. I know that whatever comes her way, she will meet it with confidence.
Acupuncture treatment helps prepare women, body, mind and spirit, for a better birth.