Full-time mother of three
Name: Colleen Foy
Occupation: Full-time mother of three
Describe your birthing experiences:
For my first birthing, I had two false starts. I had my sister, who is a doula, to lend me her support as I was induced, had an epidural, nitrous oxide, breaking of the amniotic sack and gave birth at the hospital just after 11 pm, after a lengthy 72 hours.
A year and a half later, my second birthing was a home birth. It took just shy of 2 hours active birthing, with the aid of two doulas, two midwives and an amazing husband… full-on Earth Mother Goddess Bliss!
After another three years, I had another home birth. The first contraction was at 4:48, and my baby was born at 5:28!!! 30 mins! No doulas, and the midwife didn’t even get her gloves on. It was very very fast.
What were you most fearful about prior to giving birth?
For the first, I was afraid of PAIN!
For the second, I had some fear about what a natural home birth would look like.
For the third, I was afraid it would happen so fast that I’d be catching my own baby in the bathroom.
What was your favourite technique during your birth experiences?
Breath work was essential. In my second birth, I used a deep hummmmm. I also used a Mantra that my husband and I heard a mentally unstable man using during one of many morning walks in the city. So humour was a big thing. During transition, I visualized the opening of the Lotus, that was key. I stood for my transition and active birthing, and gave birth standing with one leg propped up on the bed—it was all about the gravity. I was rocking. All the while, I was being held by my doulas. In addition to the deep, deep guttural humming, I also yelled and swore.
As for the last birthing… Well, right before my baby crowned I looked at my midwife and said I don’t know if these contractions are strong enough, then the next contraction felt like a belly roll and I swore that someone needed to catch the effin’ baby!!!! Fast fast fast. I was squatting.
What does the phrase “cascade of intervention” mean to you as it relates to child birthing?
Well, this happened during my first hospital birthing. The cascade of intervention started with me at home drinking castor oil (I was young and impatient), then there was the enama at the hospital, the oxytocin to induce labour, the epidural, the breaking of the amniotic sack, the monitors, the nitrous oxide… it felt like someone was always doing something to me. I wasn’t experiencing my own childbirth, instead it was something bad happening to me. Basically my attempt at controlling the timing of my daughter’s birth lead to a cascade of intervention.
If you could change one feeling during your birth experiences what would that feeling be?
I would change my fear of not having control, of not feeling supported.
This changed in my two home births, as I was in different place mentally. I rallied my women to support me in this endeavour.
How would you re-frame that feeling? How would you allow it to be?:
I reframed my fearful thinking by remembering that for millions of years women have supported women during childbirth. My body would know it’s natural timing. I used visualization around the opening of the Lotus and the deep hummmmmm… I guess I’m a little out there in the spirit world when it comes to childbirth. I had special beads made to help me focus and I had an amazing team of women supporting me. I still have the large Lotus flower painting hanging on my wall to remind me each day of my connection to the Mother Goddess. I now feel deeply supported by many women in my life and know that through any adversity I am not alone, I have support.
What surprised you about your birthing experiences?
My own inner strength, and the deep sense of spirituality.
What do you most love about giving birth?
The deep sense of power. A super-charge of female awesomness! For an added bonus, this is a version of spirituality that works for me, getting me in tune with the Earth Mother Goddess.
Share one thing you discovered about yourself during your birthing experiences:
During my first birthing, I was young and lacked patience.
During my second, I learned to harness a deep sense of power and felt a very strong connection to what it means to be a woman. I discovered that I am stronger than I think.
During my third, I discovered that I can’t control timing. It will take however long it will take, I make the plans set them into action and let go of the outcome… let go of the timing and allow it to come naturally. At that point in my life, I needed that reminder.
Describe the feeling just after birthing your babies:
First birthing: Relief.
Second birthing: Womanly-awesomeness.
Third birthing: Shock.
How has birthing a baby changed your perception of this life?
It has blown my mind wide open. I embrace the Mother Goddess each day, and feel truly blessed to have experienced the miracle of creation. Each morning when my babies (even though they are growing up now, they are still my babies) call out “Mummy” it reminds me of my highest calling. I have the honour of teaching and caring for three beautiful little women. Birthing my babies brought me closer to my highest self. I found a deep sense of connection to the natural order of things. I fell in love with being a woman.
If you could share a single love message with a woman getting ready to birth her baby, what would that message be?
Let go, and trust in your body’s natural ability.