Through the lens of physiological and undisturbed birth we may adopt a rigid ideology to always be hands-off: that being hands-off is “better.” And, when might our hands and body and tools help maintain birthing physiology with their force? This may feel more obvious in moments of emergency support, but what about those less obvious moments where someone asks for or responds to or seems to need our touch as birthworkers? When is force physiological?
Often less is more with touch. And sometimes the force of our entire body weight poured through our structure and into, onto, or through another is ta more authentic validation of a birthing body.
I believe that light touch is powerful, sometimes even more powerful in terms of effect than very firm touch or pressure. And sometimes the intensity of someone’s experience wants to be met with a similar intensity of validation, of holding, of naming, of firm touch.
As birthworkers we can ask ourselves in a moment of “doing” or force in brith:
How do I know to do this?
Am I doing so that I can appear helpful or is this actually helpful?
Am I doing to rescue my client from their experience?
Am I doing to “make something happen” or am I doing to simply hold what is happening?
Am I slipping into the shadow of Service and causing my body harm to do this force?
Am I over-focused on the biomechanics of the pelvis if using firm touch/force?
Or am I responding to what location and angle and depth of my pressure and force has a rightness to it?
I invite us to soften our rigid rules about how we should be touching in labor and birth, to explore the nuance of “force,” and open our capacity to truly respond to what the moment needs in birth and beyond.
Grateful for conversations with @nicolemoralesmidwife
Photo credit: @samanthamaephoto