We moved around a lot more today, which I was grateful for. Our homework last night was to read through, and maybe even practice, leading a Birth Tiger Safari. I read the sheet outloud, but didn’t have the energy to do much else, so you can imagine my discomfort when I found out I was going to be leading one (I knew we were going to do this in the workshop, I just figured I’d have a 50-50 chance of being the “mother” instead of the mentor, as we were working in pairs). We were told repeatedly not to use “The Voice” (you know, that voice that everyone in the salon/yoga/massage/childbirth industry uses?), because we were not trying to make the receiver comfortable. The idea is that they are coping with their fear, so it’s important that they actually be uncomfortable, as they would be if that unwished for situation were to arise. Of course I totally used The Voice at first, but then unintentionally dropped it since we were being prompted and I was having difficulty reading the signs. My partner actually said that it was great when I lost The Voice, because I had actually made her too relaxed at first. My partner was actually pregnant, and she said that the visualization that we did actually helped her think of a way to cope with her tiger, which made me feel pretty awesome.
After that we did some birth art – our assignment was to draw birth as a landscape. Normally I’m not that into drawing (and by “not that into” I mean “hate”), but I really enjoyed working with the chalk pastels. I have no idea how to use them and make them work for me so my drawings had a kind of childish air about them. I kinda dug it though – plus you can smudge the chalk all over the place, which is fun, too.
When we came back from lunch we talked about how to work with partners, as oftentimes pregnant women are given all the attention and her partner is left wondering what their role in all this pregnancy/labor stuff is. There were men at the workshop and so it was nice to hear from them. After this we practiced a couple pain-coping techniques using ice. We held the ice for a minute without coping and letting ourselves give in to the discomfort of it all. Ice is shockingly cold when you do this. Then we held the ice and practiced one of the techniques (e.g. breath awareness). It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes. We closed with a pain-coping ritual – the Coyote Circle – which was both frightening and beautiful, much like I imagine coyotes calling to each other, or laboring women to be.
Well, it’s time to pack up and get ready for my journey home tomorrow.