the birth pause


“A ‘pregnant pause’ is a breath held in a story, a moment’s stillness where we linger between what has been told and what is yet to be told. A ‘birth pause’ then might be thought of as a breath at the moment of birth: a place to linger, suspended briefly between what has just happened – the mighty work of birth, and what is to come – the unfolding of the new human life that has been placed in your care.” - writes Mary Esther Malloy.

When I first came across the article written by Mary Esther Malloy, a midwife in America, it was definitely one of those BOOM kind of moments. She talks about the birth pause as reclaiming the moment of birth for the mother, asking us to slow this transition down and allow the mother to set the pace of when she meets her baby for the first time.

The premise is that the midwife or caregiver should guide the baby to the place of birth, be that on the bed, held in the water, or to a soft pad on the floor. This direction then allows for the mother to take a breathe, to look at her baby, to see her baby, to speak to her, to touch her, and to hold her, only when she is ready to do so. This pause creates space for the woman to acknowledge the effort and strength she has used in the birth, to find a comfortable position for herself, and to really be in the moment when she first casts her eyes upon the child she has carried inside her for so many months.

We talk about the benefits of skin to skin contact between the mother and the baby, but this doesn’t need to be immediate. Very often the immediacy of placing the newborn baby upon the mothers chest can be quite an overwhelming feeling for the woman, who may still be within her birth bubble and not entirely in the room!

“Carefully, but with a clear confidence and readiness, she brought her daughter up to her chest, embracing her for the first time.” - MEM

To me this concept is such an extension of the HypnoBirthing philosophy. We advocate for the mother to trust and follow her instincts in her birth, that birth is not something to be managed or done to her by others. Imagine how empowering it might be to gaze at your newborn child in front of you, to take a moment to say hello, I’m your mummy, welcome to the world!

I would highly recommend reading the original articles by Mary Esther Malloy, it’s beautifully written and very enlightening.

emma x

Emma Randall-Milne