Creating Matrixes

The word matrix comes from Latin meaning “womb”. We get the words mother, matter, and material from the root matrix. Webster’s also defines matrix as:

  1. the cavity in which something is formed
  2. the rock in which a fossil or mineral is embedded
  3. in printing – a mold from which a plate can be made

Matrix has to do with connections; with forming a safe place; with making impressions. We want a safe place, inside and out, to grow and birth our babies. The choices we make and the “impressions” from others we accept greatly influence how our births and early parenting unfold. We can positively influence our experience by the connections we make, the matrix we form, inside and out

There are many facets to this and the more of them we include, the greater our chance of having the pregnancy and birth experience we want. Obviously we are responsible for the matrix we provide our baby to grow in. There is a lot of information about the physical aspects of a good pregnancy and growing a healthy baby. It is our responsibility to become educated and follow the guidelines of our heathcare provider.

Choosing our caregiver for pregnancy and birth impacts many aspects of our experience. Midwives and doctors generally function differently and will provide a different kind of matrix.

Where you want to give birth – home, birth center, hospital – will influence which caregiver you choose. Find out what your options are and the advantages and disadvantages of each. You have nine months to learn and many places to turn to for information. Friends are a good place to start. What was their experience and what did they like or not? Do you know anyone that birthed with a midwife? At home?

Your local library and bookstore are good sources of information as well as the internet. By looking in the yellow pages under midwives, birth centers, childbirth educators, and La Leche League (breastfeeding) you can find places to contact that will know what’s available in your area and probably the reputations and practice standards of different providers. Many areas have childbirth advocacy groups that can provide resource lists and many other support services.

Sometimes you can find early pregnancy classes or perhaps an exercise or swim group for pregnant women. These provide a feeling of community and a place to share your experience as well as being a source of information for the community. Heath clinics and women’s centers of all kinds may be able to put you in touch with various groups also.

There are many choices involved with pregnancy and especially birth. Some of them are quite serious and have an impact far into the future sucha s the choice of whether to use drugs during birth and if we choose to breastfeed.

Ideally your partner is interested and becoming informed also and you can talk over the many decisions you face. Your partner and family form a crucial part of your matrix. Having the support of the people around you every day makes all the other choices easier. It is important to work on your communication and relationship skills during these crucial changes. Spend time alone together, talking about what you want for this birth experience and your expectations of labor and parenting. The more you understand what each of you is thinking and feeling, the easier it is to be in harmony and working together for the experience you want in birth.

For me, personally, the spiritual matrix is very important. Turning within and spending some time each day in prayer and meditation causes incredible changes in your life and the effects ripple out and touch everything and everyone. You can see your baby surrounded by healing Light and growing perfectly. You can ask for guidance about food, emotional work, any area you need help with. Meditation can give you insight about choices you need to make or alert you to an aspect that needs attention.

In the outer world, spiritual groups provide community and a safe place, a matrix of support and nurturing on many levels. Reach out to the people in your neighborhood, community or church whoa re also pregnant or have young children. If you’re new to the area, use the yellow pages, the chamber of commerce and whatever names  and numbers you do have, to find the support you need and create the matrix that will give you the safe place to unfold and grow.

Some families are tuning to doulas for this support. Doula means “to mother the mother”. In the past and today in some cultures, the extended family played this role. Now often family members live far apart. Birthing practices have changed since our mothers gave birth and they may not be the best support. Husbands are wonderful, but as inexperienced as we are and emotionally involved they may not be the ultimate supporter during birth either.

In pregnancy and labor, a doula plays a complementary role with the midwife, doctor, nurse, and childbirth educator. She understands the physiology and emotions of labor and birth and knows the “routines” of the situations – IV’s and continuous monitoring in the hospital setting; movement and nourishment usually encouraged by midwives. The doula provides emotional and physical support such as backrubs or assistance to the bathroom. She may agree to care for other children at a birth. Most labor doulas meet with the family a couple of times in pregnancy to work out the details of her role at birth.

Some doulas focus on postpartum care. They come to the home in the days following birth for some agreed upon amount of time. They are usually experienced with mothers and can help with breastfeeding and infant care learning as well as doing laundry, cooking, and other household tasks. Some focus on taking older children out  for a while so mom and baby can rest or have time alone. Again you will usually meet in pregnancy and decide what kind of help would be of most benefit to you.

Often in the community, friends will ask what you want for the baby. An after-birth meal group can be a wonderful gift. Someone agrees to be the coordinator and call the list of people after the birth. Each person agrees to bring one meal for the family for as long as you arrange it. You usually have leftovers for lunch the next day, you all eat better without dad having to shop or cook and the people get the satisfaction of giving something of real worth and seeing the new baby too.

Be good to yourself. If you don’t have a matrix, now is the time to create one. If you do have a support system, now is the time to expand and strengthen it. Use all the resources you have to create that safe place to grow and unfold. You deserve it and so does your precious babe.

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