Let Your Monkey Do It!

"Let your monkey do it". This phrase, coined by the great Ina May Gaskin, midwife extraordinaire, is a very basic, yet magical, tool to use in labour.

Humans are primates, capable of giving birth just like any other primate, like apes and monkeys for example. These creatures don't think about how dilated they are, or worry that the baby is too big to come out; they just do it. 

(For all intents and purposes, yes, I realize apes are different than monkeys, but this is what the phrase is. Take it up with Ina May.)

Ape mama and her baby

Ape mama and her baby

Women have this innate knowledge within our bones, an inner wild woman. We know how to birth our babies. It's our instinct to follow our primal urges. But it's when we try to think our way through it that we run into trouble. 

If we're too much in our heads and not our bodies during labour, we run the risk of messing with our birth hormones. Thinking negative, unhelpful thoughts can end up raising cortisol (the stress hormone), lowering oxytocin (the love hormone), which in turn could then possibly slow down, or even stop, the labour process. 

If surrounded by competent birth professionals ready to take charge at a moments notice (which every labouring women should be), then the mama should feel free to go into labour la-la land. This is a trance like state where her inner monkey takes over and does whatever she needs to do in order to give birth to her baby the way that feels natural and right. 

It's about not being afraid of what can go wrong. Not being afraid of making the deep, grunting sounds that help open the cervix and push baby down. Not caring what you look or sound like. Not trying to control the situation. 

It's about embracing our inner wild woman.

It's about letting our monkeys do it. 



More information can be found in Ina May's awesome book:

Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta
CDN$ 13.59
By Ina May Gaskin