Mommy Movement- by Charlotte Scott
I have loved to dance since I was a little girl. Something about the freedom of moving my body always brought me great joy and offered a place of solace. I often did much better in situations that weren’t choreographed, but instead came from my own inner rhythm, a place where I could freely express myself. In the past many years I have studied a type of dance that helped me change the way I looked at dance. Under the guidance of Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythm™ teachers I found that dance was just another name for movement. That moving my body in the way it wanted to move gave me a sense of freedom and discovery. I discovered that when I moved my body my inner world unfolded. When I gave permission to my feet, to my shoulders, to my head to move…something unlocked inside of me that gave me permission to be more of who I am. It was a journey of surrendering.
When I was introduced to the idea of “Dancing for Birth” ™ I thought how perfect this would be for me. I had heard that they would use Belly dance moves, African dance moves and other cultural dance practices to assist a mom in labor. As a labor doula and a life time lover of dance I was excited to take this class. I have to say it was eye opening.
Much like the hours spent on dance floors discovering the language of my body I found that Dancing For Birth was also a language. The movements, whether based in Belly dance, African dance, Caribbean or Latin were all unfolding a language to pregnant women on how to use their bodies to connect to their babies and to help them to open their bodies in preparation for birth. To open their hips, yes, but to also open their hearts.
One of the things that really grabbed me the most was the Mother-Lore that would come pouring out. In the training I was delighted and surprised to be doing things to assist with optimal fetal positioning and labor assistance. It was great to be talking about the beliefs we often hold about birth. It was so much more than a “dance class”.
Teaching the class gave me a greater insight into the weaving in of facing our beliefs about birth and moving through them both emotionally and physically. I found this wonderful marriage between the work I had done in the past and this beautiful way of women dancing their babies into the world. The class space also showed me the importance for expectant mothers to have a place to talk about their fears, to envision a healthy and supportive birth and to have a time out of their busy lives to stop and turn inward, to listen to the needs of their body and to connect with their babies. It was also a time to be able to share with women information and support to help guide them ways to achieve their optimal birth.
I have been a yoga teacher for more than a decade; I embrace the power of yoga prior to and during labor. We use the yoga ball during our Dancing for Birth ™ classes to stretch and open before we start moving. It gives me a chance to share things like pigeon and supported child’s pose, things that I have seen directly change the outcome of a birth.
It’s been so much fun to me to see my laboring moms use the moves we learn during their labor. Sometimes that might be that we put on some music and get the whole room dancing, yes even nurses sometimes…and sometimes it’s because we are deep into labor and baby needs to move. We move the baby by moving mama. Hip circles and hip knocks can help a descending infant find their way down the right path. Sometimes when things just aren’t moving, getting up, listening within to how your body wants to move and letting it move can change the course of events in a matter of minutes.
The added benefit of this class is that it can be a “fitness” class. We do move. So whether pre-natal or postpartum there is an opportunity for moms to feel fit. Either going into their births or wearing their babies to class afterwards. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching this class and sharing this wisdom with women. I walk away every time with a smile in my heart and on my face. I see women open and grow through each and every class.