The births of my sons were magical, but complicated and anxiety-ridden, each in their own ways. I learned so much in each of these births – about myself, my partner, and our capacity to endure the unknown – but, nonetheless, I felt tremendous fear in advance of Adele’s birth. With our third child, no longer was I facing an unknown process. I knew the challenges that would come in labor, and as much as I wanted to meet her in those months and weeks prior to her birth, my fears of birthing her were often overwhelming.
I had a terrible time sleeping in my third trimester when I was pregnant with Adele. Panic would frequently seize me in the lonely hours of early morning, and I would lie awake trying to draw breath out of the endless dark. My body seemed to be closing, tightening in a mock claustrophobia, and I became fixed on an image of our baby being trapped inside of me, unable to be born.
We were given two due dates by the ultrasound technician, and when the first passed I knew that I must find a positive way to encourage labor and diminish my fear. I had seen Sandy just prior to becoming pregnant with Adele, and so, in what became a perfect bookend to the pregnancy, I scheduled an appointment with her on the morning of my second due date. I remember going into the acupuncture session feeling hopeful and relieved. As the gentle needles went in to my skin, I imagined my mind and body opening, releasing a brittle shell and softening to the possibility of the life inside of me moving, breathing, and dancing her way out into my arms.
At the end of our time together, I left Sandy understanding that our baby might not be born soon, but certain nonetheless that I had been where I needed to be that morning. Later on that hot July day, I noticed a slight haziness in my conscious deliberations – a relaxing into the moment that I see in retrospect as my body’s final stage of labor preparation. Around 7:30 pm that evening, a slight rainfall began, and several minutes later I went into labor. At 9pm, our daughter was born. It was by far the fastest and easiest of my children’s births. The positive flow of energy that Sandy helped me begin in our acupuncture session extended through the labor and birth of my third child. For me, acupuncture helped release fear, which I believe in turn allowed labor to begin naturally and my body to open rather than constrict.
–M.P. Williamstown, MA