This weekend I attended a Volunteer Doula Workshop at the organization I got my certification, Ancient Song Doula Service (ASDS). While there ASDS founder, Chanel, explained why she chose the name Ancient Song for her practice-it happened while she was giving birth to her first child. She said that others in the room with her, namely her husband, said that she sang an Ancient Song in a voice and melody she doesn't remember and hasn't sung since, though she's birthed 3 other children. Chanel said that she named her collective Ancient Song because she recognized that all women sing an Ancient, sometimes primal song when they deliver their babies. These songs can be high-pitched voices that vibrate through open mouths or low rumbling sounds deep in the back of the throat. They can be a whimper a groan or a sigh, but they make the beautiful music that is birthing.
Television would have you think otherwise, it would have you believe that all laboring women scream like crazy women possessed when they deliver their children, and many women do, indeed, sing a screaming song. It should be realized, though, that birth need not be a paniced, frantic, scary experience and that birth is a natural process that female bodies are built to experience.
I'm currently reading Natural Pregnancy and the opening chapter discusses how we can become more familiar or be reintroduced to our bodies by listening to it. Do we reach for a pain reliever when we have a headache to get rid of the pain or do we examine ways in which we're experiencing the headache-not enough water or food, a stressful work situation, noises or smells. Like a headache, we've been taught that the sensations (okay pains) of child birth should be medicated away when the medical establishment should educate women (or we should educate ourselves) about the meaning behind the sensations of childbirth. A cervix opening is a sensation we don't feel until childbirth. The contractions of the uterus, the low pains in our backs during labor are all the body's way of birthing a child.
At the Volunteer Workshop we learned about the population of Ancient Song-women of a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds both documented and undocumented people all in need of one thing; women supporting and affirming their childbirth choices.
When I left the training I was vibrating with energy- I had a better understanding of why I wanted to be a doula, to help women experience their births.