Let me tell you a story.
Back in the 1970s a young French doctor became in charge of a birth centre in a small town outside Paris. He noticed that pregnant and labouring women seemed to be really drawn to water. It seemed to help them relax.
Jump to the year 2012, and nearly every hospital and birth centre has a birth pool. Good idea.
But this doctor had another idea which, personally, I like just as much. He thought it’d be really useful for pregnant couples to meet each other, so they had friends at the same life stage as them. And for women to get to know the staff at the birth centre, so they were met with familiar faces when they came in in labour, and cared for by a midwife they knew. So he thought it’d be a good idea to run some kind of antenatal group.
But here’s where he was really clever.
He realised that if the midwives or doctors were in charge of leading the group, the professional relationship between the staff and the couples would continue during the group. He didn’t want this. He knew that women give birth more easily when in the company of people they feel really comfortable and at ease with, instead of with someone they know only in a professional context.
So what did he do?
He set up a singing group!
Every week the midwives, doctors and new parents would get together and SING. And the cleverness of it doesn’t stop there – since by singing, the women were exercising their ability to loosen their jaw, and thus also increasing their ability to loosen their cervix. This is really important during labour (if you want to read more about the intimate connection between the jaw and the cervix, read the fantastic book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth).
Other than that, I’m hoping this page can become a forum for people to post songs they know and think would be great to sing at such a group. Or to let me know about great song resources that I could use to teach the group. I’ll start by recommending the fab CDs made by my pal Natasha Hood – CDs which teach you verysimple rounds and songs for all sorts of different occassions, with the harmonies broken down part by part.Believe me, they make for great activity during a long family car trip. I particularly recommend the song Bim Bam. You can buy Natasha’s CDs here
And if you doubt that singing in a group can bring wonderful change into people’s lives, then watch this incredible film.
So, that’s that.
I really hope we’ll be singing together soon… And if not, that you find a way to express yourself, meet others, get ready for birth and have great fun.
And to end, here’s a lovely pic of some women, just cos it made me happy.