Words are powerful - we hear this phrase often. Did you know that this is also applied at birth? In this episode, Debra welcomes Donna Tabas as they discuss how birthing can be a beautiful experience despite the challenges. Listen closely as Donna focuses on the terminologies during birth on what to be mindful of. Often, violent and hurtful words are used in the process, and these are not helpful in facilitating birth. The key is to use nutritive, gentle, and honored words; birth should be treated with utmost regard and respect. Donna Tabas, CNM, MS, is a Columbia University-trained Certified Nurse Midwife who has been working with birthing families for 39 years, initially as a NICU nurse, then as an RN at a freestanding birth center with midwives, and finally, for the last 18 years as a midwife. Deeply affected by her own first birth experience that ended in a C/S, she went on to birth her second child with a VBAC, and her midwifery passion was born to help other women birth normally with strength and joy. She is committed to evidence-based care but is also aware that birth is deeply affected by issues of the head and heart as well. She is known as the “Science and Soul” midwife. She is now retired, enjoying her 3 grandchildren, completing her book on birthing and spirituality, and continuing to counsel women in their birthing journeys.
In this episode:
Donna Tabas shares her experience of witnessing the childbirth of a dear friend on the seventh day of Passover, which was a miraculous birth due to her focus on thanking God during her surges. Despite many sorrows and challenges, women can still feel the pleasures and joy in life and birthing. Birth workers should work to help birthing parents understand that big, powerful sensations are normal and that they are not to be feared. There is importance to the different connotations used to describe childbirth. Using words that promote a positive image can help to reduce fear and tension during labor. People often use violent and hurtful words when talking about childbirth, which can be harmful to birthing women. Using nutritive and gentle terms is the way to help make the birthing process respected and honored. Having the baby “delivered” is said so many times in labor in hospitals - as if the mother was a container.
It is essential to address and release fear, especially in the moments before birth Learn the ideologies behind fear to address it Sensations are powerful in birth - listen to your body The words people use during childbirth can impact the experience Be wary of violent or hurtful words - use nurturing words instead
“Fear interrupts birth and interrupts the natural flow of birth… If there is fear in the room, help the woman address them… transform fear into strength and power.” - Donna Tabas “It's our job as birth workers to help a woman understand that these really big, powerful sensations are normal… We are strong women, we can do really big and powerful things, and that it's not to be feared.” - Donna Tabas “Pre-labor has its own beautiful function, and there's nothing false about it. And that needs to be honored. It's a real thing. “ - Donna Tabas