I once asked a friend of mine what it was like to give birth to twins. She said: ‘First one came out and then the other.’ I didn’t both to ask her whether raising twins was as simple. We all know the answer to that. As you know, New Zealand has a unique situation the envy of women and midwives worldwide. Here, pregnant women and their families have ‘choice’. Over 85% of all pregnant women are cared for by one lead maternity carer – a midwife. Maternity care is paid for by the Government and women can give birth at home or hospital and have the same care provider with them throughout their pregnancy, labour and post natal period.

Yet, the caesarean rate has doubled since midwives became lead maternity carers in 1995 and women pregnant with breech babies and multiples are more likely to be strongly encouraged to have an elective caesarean. This is a huge paradox. On the one hand, birth is promoted as being a natural and normal occurrence of a woman’s life and on the other hand, there are more medically assisted births. In Nelson 26% of all babies are delivered by caesarean. What does this mean?

Where does Common Knowledge Trust and The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ fit into this and why would you want to read this article? First, it’s important to know what the Trust is besides being a Nelson based Charitable Trust. The Trust was set up in 1996 by its founder, a woman who uses the name Wintergreen. She has worked as a natural health practitioner for over 30 years, many of those years were spent working with traditionally living cultural groups. In those communities she was always given a name and she has chosen to use this one. The common knowledge about birth came from work she did with ordinary families in the US in the early 1970s, not from traditional knowledge.

The basis of The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ comes from this fact…we are all one humanity.

Although we all share one human body regardless of whether we are fat or thin, pregnant with one or three babies, are vegetarians or like to rip into a steak; we also have many differences such as our beliefs, health, religion, ethnic background etc. We seem to focus more on our differences than on our similarities. Yet, that’s how The Pink Kit Method developed. We stayed focused on our universal human female birthing body. We then took this knowledge into absolutely every single birth. The Pink Kit Method also gave skills and tools to our birth coach who was, most likely, to be our partner/husband/father of our child or a friend or relative.

Men have the same body. They also have been born through a woman’s body, so it’s easy for them to learn about this common knowledge. When a woman’s coach is another woman, then they discover their similarities and uniqueness. There are always variations on a theme and that’s why this information has been so important. For example, women are often told that the best positions are… yet, once you’ve mapped your pelvis, learned how to relax your minnie mouse muscles, done Kate’s Cat and prepared using the Internal Work from The Pink Kit, then you’ll know which positions keep you open and relaxed.

For the past 30 years there has been a pulling apart of birthing beliefs. Now women believe and are told that they have a choice between midwife, home and natural versus doctor, hospital and medical births. Yet, the strength of The Pink Kit Method comes from the reality that no matter where you labour and give birth or with whom, you will have another contraction. You can learn positive birthing and coaching skills so that you breathe well, relax internally, stay open, override the natural reaction to pain which is to tense up, develop team work with your coach and manage your way to a positive birth experience. You still might not like the experience, but you’ll be proud of the way you handled it. That’s empowerment!

In the birth climate of today, where ‘choice’ and ‘information’ are the basis for childbirth education and care, Common Knowledge Trust offers ‘skills’ which have been terribly neglected to be passed on. Sadly, we hear women tell each other: ‘There is no way to prepare for the experience.’ It’s true that labour is an unknown journey; however, there are many simple skills that are effective tools to work with that journey as it unfolds. Why have we come to believe that ignorance is bliss, that we should hope for a good birth and that ‘natural’ means we all know exactly what to do? Ignorance is not bliss, being skilled is. Hope is not a plan, nor is a birth plan adaptable, yet skills are. Birth is natural, it follows pregnancy; however, we do naturally tense up, labour is naturally intense. As human beings, we are gifted with our amazing minds. We have the ability to apply skills to natural physiological processes. We do it all the time. When we’re hungry, we cook not just browse on the nearest bush. When we’re randy we learn to make love if we really want pleasure rather than rut. When we have to pee or poo we wait until we get to the proper receptacle rather than right here, right now!

For some unfortunate reason, there has been a trend of thinking for 30 years or so, has let birthing skills lapse. Common Knowledge Trust is a change agent for that belief…one woman at a time, one father at a time….one contraction at a time. When we couple skills to choice, we are more likely to have a goal and steps to achieve it. When we marry skills to information, we are more likely to have mastery rather than intellectual knowledge. For 30 years, skills have been missing because the focus has been on who and where should women labour and give birth rather than what we can do to have a positive birth because we have the skills to manage our way through the process of labour as it unfolds. This is not rocket science. It’s common sense, common knowledge.

You might be reading this, knowing that you are planning an elective caesarean. There’s no difference between you and a woman who will labour to give birth. You and your partner can use these skills as well. You can have the pleasure of preparing your body for childbirth and the joy of working together to develop your teamwork. And you’ll use these skills because you’re still going to give birth.

Because Common Knowledge Trust is the collective voice of thousands upon thousands of expectant women and their partners, we can speak to whatever situation you find yourself. We’ve all used the information and have benefited hugely, been enriched tremendously, felt more connected, competent, capable and self empowered by becoming skilled at giving birth and coaching. Our self taught skills have grown positive parenting and developed closer partnership relationships.

When you are pregnant with multiples, you are in a situation with your birth provider that will require you to negotiate about your birth plans and in a trend climate of care. The management of multiple pregnancies has changed over the years. Regardless of the choices you have or the ones you make, you can still enjoy the preparation of your birthing body. Become Pink Kit parents!