What does it mean - Mothering Forums
Birth and Beyond > What does it mean
Buzzbuzz's Avatar Buzzbuzz 10:41 AM 11-08-2012

to say that you trust your body?  I hear this just about every place, but I can't figure whether it really *means* anything. 


After all, we're not immortal, and barring an fatal accident occurring first, our bodies WILL fail us at some point.

CI Mama's Avatar CI Mama 12:08 PM 11-08-2012

This is something I think about a lot, and not just regarding pregnancy/birth. Figuring out what "trust" I can have in my body has been a lifelong journey.

What I know for sure is that  for me "trusting my body" does NOT mean, "getting my body to do whatever I want it to do through the power of my amazing positive thinking." Maybe some women can use their "trust" to get their bodies to do whatever they want. I definitely, absolutely cannot.


My trust has more to do with believing that my body is a source of information, and if I can tune in and listen to that information, I can get closer to aligning what's in my head with what my body can do, which leads to more harmony, joy, and appreciation in being alive. That's about it.


A big example of this in my life is coming out as a lesbian. My body was communicating something to me that didn't align with what my head thought it wanted or needed. When I was able to listen to what my body was telling me, and trust that that information was true and OK, I was able to move into acceptance of my body, which healed a lot of things in my life.


My lifelong journey with dance has been another process with this. I've spent my life working on using dance as a way of deeper listening, and tapping into joy and appreciation for my body and what it can do. A lot of my early training (in classical ballet) took me in the exact opposite direction, so there's been a lot of un-learning as well as learning. What I do know is that my body has an urge to dance, and I've trusted that urge.


As for pregnancy & child birth...well, I'm still sorting through all my trust issues on that front. If "trusting your body" in a birth context means that you don't need or rely on help from others, then I'm a huge failure, because I needed a lot of help, sometimes from total strangers, in order to get pregnant and to birth my baby. It seems like there was some kind of disconnect in trust that led to my very long and difficult labor, but I don't think the problem was that I didn't have unshakeable faith that my body could do everything perfectly. I think the problem was that when my body told me it needed help, I ignored that message because I was so pumped up with the idea that I should be able to do it by myself.


Great topic....I hope lots of people weigh in.

starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 10:49 AM 11-09-2012

I would say that it means to acknlowledge that your body knows what it is doing during labour and birth and to trust that the pain and things you are experiencing from your body are part of the process. Trusting it allows you not to fight it which facilitates birth and helps you stay more relaxed. Of course things can go wrong, and trusting signs from your body, like new/different pain etc, can help to treat anything that happens.

1babysmom's Avatar 1babysmom 10:42 AM 11-12-2012

Well, I didn't quite understand this until I had my first unassisted birth (after a medicated hospital one with my first daughter).  Then it became very clear to me (and even moreso after my second UC). 


I should say first and foremost that I trust GOD above my own body.  I have faith that He will lead me to care if I need it, or to make different decisions than I planned if need be.  But I also believe He created our bodies in such incredible ways that if we just take the time to pay attention, it's not very complicated to realize what we need.  With my 2nd birth (1st UC) I realized that by just paying attention, I knew that if I was in the right position for labor at that time, or if I needed to move, or if something was "off", etc.  With my 3rd birth (2nd UC), it was a very different experience (length wise), the kind that in hindsight would have sent me to the OR for a c/s had I been in a hospital, but as I just "listened" to my body I knew nothing was wrong.  I didn't know WHY it was taking so long or what the hold up was, but that everything was okay.  And it was...my body just needed more time before I pushed him out.


But the proof for me is that each time I responded to my body the way I interpreted the needs, I felt relief, made more progress, basically just proved that following my body's cues was the right decision.  And THAT was empowering, because it was so amazing to realize, firsthand, that my body DOES know what to do.  That's not to say that I won't ever need outside help, or that everything will always be perfect just by paying attention, but that the process is very natural and my body was created to do it, and that for the most part, there's no reason to interfere.


The thing is, though, that I don't feel I'd have the same opportunities to "trust my body" in a medical establishment, or possibly even with a midwife (depending).  And I think that is where the difference lies (at least for me) because if I'm in a place where I'm under the control of someone else, I basically have to surrender so much that, while I may still be able to receive those cues from my body, I don't have the freedom or ability to respond to them as necessary.  Granted, I'm a "people pleaser" and so it's hard for me to demonstrate authority in situations like that.  But just goes to show that for me, personally, I've found my "niche" for labor and birth, and it's a perfect scenario for trusting my body. :)


I hope that all makes sense!

Quinalla's Avatar Quinalla 12:19 PM 11-12-2012
For me, I'm more likely to say "Listen to your body" as in tune-in to what your body is telling you and really listen instead of just constantly overriding it because I am too busy. I know I was guilty of ignoring hunger/thirst/etc. signals my body was giving me for a long time, so my body either gave up or just kept trying and eventually I would wind up sick, with headaches/migraines, etc. Not like my body is plotting against me and made me sick or something, no, that because I ignored my body, I got sick because I went too long without rest, relaxation, etc. I am much better now about being mindful.

As far as trust your body I think it is one of the ways to counteract all the negative body message we get from society and advertising. That we are too fat/thin/weak/ugly/etc. and we need all this stuff to fix our broken bodies. BS, our bodies are not broken, at least not in general. We all have our major or minor issues, but our bodies are amazing! And when we tune-in and let our bodies do what they need to do, wow the can do a lot. And birth for me was the epitome of that experience, I HAD to trust my body, I didn't have another option. When I was deep in labor, I was mostly trying to stay out of the way and let my body do its thing. Pushing was the hardest part for me, not because of pain, but because I had to step in again (supposedly, I don't know that I really needed to) and add to the pushing my uterus was doing involuntarily. It was hard to do after all that time relaxing through contractions.

But yeah, besides pregnancy and birth, it is mostly easy for me to ignore all the awesome things my body does all the time. I'm not a biology expert, but the little I do know is fascinating and I think our bodies are often underestimated and assumed broken.
CI Mama's Avatar CI Mama 01:54 PM 11-14-2012

This is a really old thread, but covers a similar theme & might be of interest to the OP:



pek64's Avatar pek64 02:14 PM 11-14-2012
I grew up playing tennis, and my body was pushed constantly. I got to know when something was different very easily. When I became pregnant, I was sure I was expecting just 4 days after conception. I have worked in hot and humid conditions, and knew how long I could push myself without passing out. It's not something one does all at once, but with years of smaller trials to get a good feel. Even without that background, many know when something is wrong within their bodies. It is recommended that that feeling be trusted.