Connecting with your unborn child
by Louise Palmer-Masterton
Monsieur Leboyer, who sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 98, was a former obstetrician who ultimately eschewed modern obstetric practice and turned to writing the story of birth from the child’s perspective. In Birth Without Violence, for the first time in history, he painted the infant's view of birth - coming from the quiet, calm womb into bright lights, noise, stress and separation (when immediately after birth the child would be taken from its mother to be prodded and ‘tested’).
Before Leboyer childbirth had always been about the mother, the procedures, the hospitals - everything but the infant, and whilst his book was initially opposed by his fellow obstetricians, midwives and mothers themselves did take notice, and slowly but surely things began to change. It is now commonplace that delivery rooms are quiet, low lit places, infants are now allowed to rest with their mothers immediately after birth. These and many more changes can be directly attributed to Leboyer’s book.
Back to my meeting Leboyer. It was even more fortunate for me that at the time of our meeting I was myself 5 months pregnant, and because of this he rather took me under his wing.
He was in his late eighties when we met, and a rather wonderful, slightly stroppy french man, with a very big twinkle in his eye.
“Every day, from when you are 6 months pregnant, take 15 mins out of your day. Find a quiet place to sit and meditate. Once you are settled and focussed, take your attention to your baby. Really bring all of your focus to your baby.
Then let your baby know that you are there, and that you are listening.
Then you simply spend some time ‘listening’ to your baby.”
He told me that if I did this every day from 6 months my baby would know me, and be connected to me, and feel safe in being born. He told me she would not cry when she was born. And guess what? She did not, and she has scarcely cried since. She was the most chilled, relaxed baby who has grown into a remarkable child.
This article was originally written for the September 2017 issue of OM Yoga Magazine