The Pink Kit Method – a comprehensive, new and unique approach to childbirth preparation, labour management and coaching skills for expectant parents
There are 4 foundations to The Pink Kit Method for birthing body™. The 1st foundation has been put into the multi-media resource called The Pink Kit: Essential Preparations for your birthing body. In the video and interactive book, expectant parents will learn the body knowledge that makes such common sense you’ll wonder why you haven’t known it before. We can map our pelvis and know our own shape. That shape helps us find positions that keep us open rather than assume that certain positions are better than others. We can create inner relaxation with the pelvic clock and create more space for our baby with the hip lift, sacral manoeuvre and sit bone spread. We can use a type of directed breathing that we can use to focus our attention, expand or relax specific areas of our body.
Childbirth is a simple plumbing exercise. An object has to come through and out of a container. To do that it must pass through a tube (pelvis), open a diaphragm (cervix) and aperture (vagina). The object likes space, room and not to have its passage bent.
In the multi-media kit is located the 2nd foundation of The Pink Kit Method on an audio tape called The Internal Work. This is the vital internal work or how to prepare your birth canal … the aperture. The plumbing concept of birth seems easy yet some things get in the way. We are the container. We bring to childbirth our structure, our ability to relax or tense up and accept the process of childbirth which can be very painful or fight against it. The goal of The Pink Kit Method is for each of us to create mobility and flexibility in our structure and learn to relax even when the sensations are very painful. Fortunately we can use our incredible human mind and make choices about our behaviours when we have the skills based on our preparation. We can only make realistic choices in our behaviours when we have the knowledge. The Pink Kit is the knowledge. Preparing our birth canal:
· Creates a soft aperture for our baby to come through.
· Teaches us to respond to the sensations in 2nd stage rather than react. (Feeling we will have a bowel motion, the stinging sensations of the stretching can cause women to pull back from the down urge.)
· Prevents trauma to the soft tissue of our vagina.
An adjunctive resource was developed to step you through The Pink Kit video called Companion Guide. Although the sections in the video are easy to follow, many people wanted written instructions as well. This resource also introduces 3 new exercises: Kate’s Cat, Thai Massage, Letting Down Reflex along with two new concepts: Common language which develops good communication with your partner/husband and the concept that there are defined skills for the Birth and Coach Role. These concepts are expanded in the 4th foundation New Focus: Breath, Language and Touch.
Primarily the stories we told about childbirth were about the physical experience we had. We spoke about pain, or lack of it. We had back labours, failure to dilate, babies that stayed high in the pelvis, vaginas that tore, were cut or didn’t open easily or ones that opened in one contraction. We had quick, very intense births and painless ones. We had long, lingering labours that didn’t seem to get started and when they did we were dog tired. Story after story told of us that birth is primarily a physical experience. Some of those experiences were absolutely wonderful. Many women do just ‘get labour’. Realistically, many women don’t get labour. The use of medical pain relief is an attempt to prevent women from suffering too much pain in the process of childbirth. If women were really ‘getting labour’ they won’t be using pain relief.
In our stories, we spoke about residual pain or lack of it. Residual pain often lasted for months or years and often laid a foundation to an unsettled early parenting period. We couldn’t sit down, move our bowels, had burning when we urinated, pain on sex, vaginal wind, infections from tears or incisions, along with pain in our pubic bone or tail bone. Some women breezed through labour and the recovery. The Pink Kit Method just makes it possible for more women to do that. Maybe we won’t all breeze through it, but we’ll work better with the process in a conscious manner with the skills we’ve taught ourselves through our preparation. The first two foundations of The Pink Kit Method deal with some of these physical issues because we are now able to create a mobile birthing body and learn how to relax inside and prepare our birth canal.
The 3rd foundation of The Pink Kit Method is the Managing Skills. We all acknowledge that childbirth is a huge event in our lives and our children. We also know that most of us have never been to a birth and don’t have a clue what happens much less what to do, how to act or behave. The Managing Skills give us more subjective yet vitally important skills. Do you know that women who niggle for several days are more likely to get tired before progressive labour establishes if they don’t have good coping skills? We can prevent that by asking a simple question ‘What do you want to do now?’ and learning how to calm our mind and understand this early, kind phase of childibirth. Are you aware that while in labour it’s vitally important to stay in the NOW and apply good management skills at each and every moment throughout your labour? We don’t have to wait until the pain of labour is threatening our self control. Instead we can stay on top of the sensations when we apply our skills. Can you imagine working with your husband, partner, relative or friend really well? We can learn to form a good team between ourselves and the person or people who are their to support us.
Childbirth is a whole picture, not just another contraction. We can learn these subjective skills that work to integrate our Pink Kit preparation into our own experience. Of course, there’s a section on when to use The Pink Kit skills you’ve taught yourself. Our stories also told of our own self management experience in and around what was happening to us or around us. In other words, there were as many women who felt good about how they had managed labour in hospital with all the assessments, monitoring and procedure and health issues as there were women who didn’t feel good about how they had managed their labour even though they had accomplished a home birth.
Because our stories are so varied, the goal of The Pink Kit Method has always been passing on the labour management skills that work well in absolutely all birth situations so that each of us can come away from our birth feeling positive about our self management and how well our husband/partner coached us. Childbirth is too full of variables or the unexpected to know what it will be like; however, we can have skills to work through the process as it unfolds. We can have skills that are adaptable and transportable into any birth situation. No woman should deprive herself of positive labour management skills regardless of her choices or the necessity in regards to maternity care or management. In other words, Common Knowledge Trust bypasses the ‘either versus or’ approach to childbirth that has become familiar to so many of us. EITHER we will birth in hospital with a doctor and have a medical birth OR we will birth at home with a midwife and have a natural birth.
As we self managed labour, most of us felt that we had a natural birth even when there was a great deal of medical care. We felt that way because we felt good about how we had coped, managed and responded to our own internal process of dilating and giving birth. Many birth professionals admired our management and loved that our husbands/partners were such good coaches. They wished more couples could have such an experience. They often felt we had had ‘lucky’ or ‘easy’ births because they so strongly felt that childbirth is so unknown there is nothing we can do to prepare for birth. We knew we had prepared for birth and then used our good management and coaching skills to work through the unknown journey as it evolved. We had conscious births.
We not only explored our own management of labour, we also looked at the three most primal behaviours that accompanied childbirth. They are so much part of Life that we hardly notice them. However, the unique qualities of childbirth require unique applications of these ordinary human behaviours.
The 4th foundation of The Pink Kit Method is New Focus: Breath, Language and Touch. We will all breathe in labour, communicate with our husband/partner and be physically touched (or not). These are human behaviours that all of us share. Within these three shared behaviours there are positive ways we can use them in labour. In the 1970s when fathers came to help us, childbirth education classes focused on breathing and relaxation techniques. As birth discussions focused more on ‘choice’ (birth plans) and ‘information’ (informed consent), the skills were less stressed. In fact, a new belief around childbirth grew. This belief told women that they breathed all the time and would breathe in labour so there was nothing they needed to know. Natural birth has incorporated many beliefs that have actually acted to deskill women. It’s almost as though it’s become admirable to believe the ideal birth is ‘intuitive’ and ‘instinctive’ and requires little knowledge which might interfere with the process. The stories that created The Pink Kit Method approaches clearly show us that when we have positive birth skills, we respond to the process of childbirth with a consciousness unparalleled.
Unlike our traditional counterparts who are surrounded by people closest to us who will help us each step of the way through childbirth, we are often left alone either in hospital (checked periodically) or a home by midwives who are giving us the space to discover our own process. Either way, we can take our amazing childbirth and coaching skills with us. When we do this, our births become a conscious highlight in our lives. Through our self learned skills we brought attunement to the birth of our children.
New Focus: BLT is split into the Birth and Coach role. We have different jobs do to in labour and giving birth yet we can use the same knowledge to do those jobs well. When we work together in labour, we develop close bonds with our husband, partner, friends or relatives. It’s far better to bond with those close to us than our birth provider no matter how wonderful. As a labouring woman, we are required to look within ourselves. When we coach our partner, we are looking at how she is responding to the process from within herself. When we both use The Pink Kit Method, then we stay on the same track.
In the Breath section, we learn that there are only 4 ways humans breathe. Two are positive breath behaviours in childbirth and two indicate that a woman isn’t coping well with the sensations. From the birth role, we can learn how to use breath as a focus, expand areas or relax specific areas of our body. From the coach role, we can learn how to hear whether a woman is managing the sensations, how to model good breathing behaviour to help her stay on track and how to help her expand and relax specific areas.
In the Language section, we can learn the specific language that really helps women to relax. We often use general language such as ‘relax’ when we see tension in a labouring woman. She is most likely to turn to you and snarl. ‘you try’, ‘I’m trying’ or ‘shut up’. Instead we can specifically tell her to ‘soften in your lower back’. This gives her the place and action and she’ll to do it. She’s momentarily forgotten or not observed that specific tension because the sensations at the moment are BIG. In this section we can learn that verbal messages take a wee bit of time to go in the ear, through the brain, to the body and back to the brain. So you learn about the importance of pausing.
Language or communication can be non-verbal as well. In labour the ability to give each other cues to convey information is important. Particularly in the rigorous part of labour, women short form communication.
In the Touch section of New Focus you learn the type of touch that produces deep internal relaxation. This form of deep, rising touch allows all the connective tissue (fascia) to relax. Most people don’t realize the importance of fascia and how much tense can be stored there. Most people think of tension being caused by muscles. Try this so you can understand the difference between muscles (which is part of soft tissue or connective tissue) and fascia (which is also part of soft/connective tissue and what we need to relax in labour along with specific muscles).
Sit or stand and look straight ahead. Relax your head, neck and shoulders yet still keep your head facing forward. Put your index finger on your forehead about an inch above the outer edge of your eyebrow. Remember keep your head facing forward no matter what. Start to apply pressure to turn your head and continue to increase that pressure. Hopefully, you’ll notice that it takes very little effort to keep your head facing forward even when you apply a great deal of pressure to turn your head.
In labour, that simple fixed or frozen soft tissue (inside of the container) can stop mobility, openness and space. Babies need space to move through you. Couple that fixed or frozen fascia with tensing up your muscles, then you can imagine why the object might have a struggle to get out of the container. Go back to your exercise above and add muscle tension. Our coach can see muscle tension but not see connective tissue tension. Both the Birth and Coach role need to work to reduce that tension, particularly when it’s inside.
When we combine all these Pink Kit skills, this common sense and self knowledge we gain then we can approach childbirth with confidence in our ability to move through the process of giving birth. We don’t have to like one moment of it. Often our own greatest personal achievements are the accomplishments we have during challenging experiences.