Guest post by Rachel Randall.
The one thing that we, as women, have as a ‘superpower’ is the gift to grow a child inside our belly. We nurture, we sustain, we support and we shelter. We are pretty darn awesome.
So when it comes to giving birth, it matters.
And so it should…
Pushing a baby out of our nether regions is a big deal. It rips open our heart, our soul and our ability to mother future generations. It exposes our inner most fears and tests our strength in ways we would never have previously imagined.
Every birth is different; each birth teaches a lesson. Women rock! And roll…we know how to move, our bodies are hard-wired to birth babies.
The issue with modern society is that birth has become business, therefore profit dictates our evolving technology-driven culture and we can lose sight of our own inherent ability to bring a new life into the world. We may be saturated with stories that lead us to question; how will we cope with the pain? How can we possibly have the strength? What if something goes wrong?
Bellydance is not a term I particularly favour for the common misconception and image it conjures up to many people in the West. However, for all intents and purposes, I feel that ‘bellydance’ is apt in its description for this form of Birth Dancing. In essence, it is a dance centered in the belly, the source of human life. To cut a very long story short, raqs orientale (oriental dance) in all its variations and forms across the Near and Middle East is a dance primarily and historically shared by women; to celebrate, to communicate, to enjoy and to mark important rites of passage. It represents community, solidarity, femininity and self-expression. Wisdom and tradition seep liberally through generations, becoming an integral part of women’s lives and well-being. Childbirth is viewed as a normal life event and from childhood girls learn how to use the muscles in their hips, abdomen and pelvis; they are loose and flexible.
In comparison western women rarely use all the muscles required during birth and with our ever increasing sedentary lifestyle, we replace this body confidence and flexibility in the pelvis with fear. By learning to embrace and appreciate a growing belly, strengthen the core muscles and move instinctively to the rhythm of birth, we are reclaiming our ability to birth our babies as nature intended. Pregnancy is a joyous occasion and should be celebrated. It is absolutely the perfect time to dance and even more so, to dance with your baby. These ancient moves and gentle motions serve to tone the body, strengthen and engage the muscles used during birth, relax the mind and enliven the soul. Movements that form the essence of oriental dancing can bring an array of benefits for women pre-conception, during pregnancy, labour, in the post-natal period and beyond.
Learn more about Rachel and how to dance for birth here: