In birth, everything is connected…
The first time I heard the words “pelvic floor” was from Dr. Rice in my 11th grade vocal performance class at Fine Arts Center. It was 2004, late winter — sometime after Valentines Day, and I was sharing that I had attended my first ever yoga class and was fascinated at the level of body awareness that I had never experienced before then. He grinned and responded that yoga was great for the pelvic floor, and so was meditation.
Not long after that, in April I experienced true surrender for the first time in my life. It was a pivotal point for me in my adolescence. I had a serious stage fright block, and this class required me to sing every day in front of four other students who were older and had more training and vocal maturity than I did. That day, after much coaching — LOTS of constructive criticism and pushing me to my limits — I was emotionally spent but fully committed to moving past this block. I closed my eyes, shut everything out but the music, and my soul became one with the song I was singing. 𝗪𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐢𝐭. We all knew what I had experienced — 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳, and that moment was extremely empowering and transformative for me.
You see, something I’ve always loved about singing is the energy work. In order to master your instrument, not only do you learn to manipulate your pelvic floor in all kinds of ways — physically and psychologically, through visualization, etc… but you must learn to intertwine yourself with the story and the emotions of the song. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘩𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤.
If you listen closely, or if you have a trained ear you can actually hear that surrender, and the result is 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥. You can 𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘦𝘦 the energy of the sound and emotion moving through the air and exchanging with the audience. A vocalist who has experienced this sensation will never forget it.
I always knew that voice was a calling for me, but I never could have imagined that it would pull me in the direction of birth. And I never really understood the depth of how connected the voice is to birth until I experienced and felt it first hand. In fact, everything I learned in the ten years I studied vocal performance I have been able to apply to my work in birth. 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘹 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘫𝘢𝘸, 𝘴𝘰𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦, 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘬, 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦, 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦. Birth is just a lot more intuitive than singing. Our bodies already know how to do it. For most people, 𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐰𝐰𝐰𝐰𝐰 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐬 engage the pelvic floor. But no matter what we cover and how we prepare, no sound is more productive or transformative than the sound of letting go. I can hear it in your voice when you stop worrying or caring about how you are perceived, 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘪𝘯𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.
Understanding your pelvic floor and how those muscles interact with your body; cultivating the body awareness that is necessary to understand how to engage and relax those muscles; studying the breath and understanding how it affects every aspect of our existence, especially our movement through birth — these are all things that we can do to prepare our minds and bodies for the moments of surrender in our births.
Some of us flow better with the unknown than others. Personally, flow has never come naturally to me in any aspect — my husband jokes that if you watch me dance for two minutes that fact is obvious. I attribute it to the long, strong, never ending drip of Pitocin at my own entry into this world. But for me, this work is a continuous reminder of the importance of surrender to the cycles of this life. The more I study the body and how interconnected everything is in the process of birth, the more fascinated I am. And I find that most people walking through pregnancy feel the same. Resistance stems from fear, and we are hardwired to fight against discomfort. Understanding how our bodies work help us surrender our minds as our bodies take control during our births. 𝘞𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘥𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴, 𝘸𝘦 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨.