Here are some examples of birthing rituals:
- Leaning forward onto a birthing ball
- Focusing on something visual like a sparkling diamond ring
- Rocking from side to side while being held by someone
- Counting up to 20
- Sucking on the gas (I don’t recommend this…just saying it does become a ritual for people)
Using SOUND as a Birthing Ritual
During my last 2 labours I NEEDED the sound of the bowl during each contraction. It became my birthing ritual. And if that sound wasn’t there and playing in time with my birthy rhythm I noticed I felt anxious about making sounds with my voice, abandoned by my support crew and slightly pissed off about it!
I didn’t make a big deal about it. I just noticed these feelings arise within me. And I want to let you know about this because for those people supporting a woman during labour it is important to firstly NOTICE the ritual that is arising for that woman and then SUPPORT her to continue having that ritual available to her.
For example, if the ritual is to lean forward onto a birthing ball you make sure that ball is there. Or if counting up to 20 with you becomes her thing then you’d better make sure you are there to count up to 20! Or if she likes to be held and rocked then go hold her and start rocking! Or if she loves vocalizing with the sound of a crystal singing bowl then you had better be there at your bowl creating that sound for her!
I am often asked by doulas this question:
“So how do I ensure the bowl is played when there are SO many other support tools that I should be doing?”
This is a totally valid and great question! After all, doulas have been trained on how to support birthing women in SO many beautiful ways! It can be a bit overwhelming for them! And now I’m adding ANOTHER tool to their list!
Seriously … how can one person play a bowl AND give massages AND hold their hands AND talk them through a contraction AND heat up heat packs AND use a Robozo ... and the list goes on ... and on ...
My answer to this one is:
- True. You can only do one thing at a time
- You will end up doing whatever your birthing woman is wanting you to do the most ... and she will let you know one way or another what she likes best in that moment…which could also change of course…
- There is usually at least one other person in the room who can help...so teaching the others in the room (partner, mother...even the midwife) how to play a bowl safely and effectively is wise.
- You might find (like in my experience) that your woman only wants the sound of the bowl during her contractions... she might not want to be touched or to be hearing encouraging words … Sometimes we think that because we have all of these supportive tricks that we need to use ALL of them...or at least try them all out (especially when new to being a doula) … but no ... SIMPLICITY is the key. Maybe the sound is enough! More than enough! All that she needs!
- Remember that if you can’t play the bowl because your woman is needing your touch or because you are holding a heat pack on her back you can still USE YOUR VOICE!
Birth situations are SO varied…and mostly always totally not what you expected them to be. So THE MOST IMPORTANT thing is to BE PRESENT and to PAY ATTENTION to what is needed in that moment. If you trust that you can do this then all of your inspired actions will flow from this space.
And follow your impulses!
Back to Birthy Rituals
So what I suggest is this:
1. Introduce your crystal singing bowl and the benefits of having a SoundBirth when you meet your pregnant woman.
2. Introduce the sound of the bowl during a contraction … especially if you feel your woman is holding back her voice, needing to let go, feeling a bit shy, needing to create sacred space and privacy, or if she just want to give it a go!
3. Then notice what happens. Is she letting go more with her voice? Is she asking for the bowl? Does she seem more relaxed? If you feel this has become her ritual then just continue playing the bowl for her during each contraction (or surge…whatever you like to call it). If you notice she is asking for touch or rocking or the ball and not needing the bowl then go with that for a while. You will know if she misses that bowl sound or not soon enough! She will tell you!
Adding SoundBirth to your birthy tool kit doesn’t mean you will use it every time with every woman during the entire labour. It just means you will be able to OFFER it and USE it if your woman is ENJOYING and LOVING the SOUND RITUAL.
I hope this has helped! Please let me know if you have any questions so I can write MORE blog posts about SoundBirth for you.