My first son Hugo was born abroad, by caesarean section. When I was pregnant with baby Felix, 3 years later in Amsterdam, it was all the more exciting whether this time it would ‘work out’.

Doctors had given me until 41 weeks, after that they would induce labour. And if the labour did not proceed quickly enough, a caesarean section would follow. This ‘step-by-step plan’ and ‘pressure for time’ kept me very busy during my pregnancy. Because for some reason, only a non-cesarean birth felt like the real thing to me. Something I had missed with Hugo.

During those last weeks, every day when nothing happened to my body felt like one step closer to a caesarean section, closer to failure…. But no matter what I tried, relaxing, exercising, nothing happened at all. For the manager in myself this was all too annoying: after all, there was a plan here … and that plan was to give birth without a caesarean section! Then I read something about foot reflexology in a brochure from the hospital and I ended up at Oda’s at 40.5 weeks.

Elke dag in die laatste weken dat er niets gebeurde met mijn lichaam voelde als een stap dichterbij een keizersnede, dichterbij falen…. Maar wat ik ook probeerde, ontspannen, inspannen, er gebeurde helemaal niets. De manager in mij vond dit maar al te vervelend; er was hier toch een plan… en dat plan was om zonder keizersnede te bevallen! Toen las ik in een brochure van het ziekenhuis iets over voetreflexologie en kwam ik met 40.5 week bij Oda uit.

I had never tried shiatsu or foot reflexology before and was quite nervous about it. But Oda reassured me. I still remember her saying at the start of the treatment “’It could be that things suddenly come to mind, that’s all fine”. I just thought it was very exciting. Until I lay there and suddenly baby Felix came to mind. How much I longed to see him, that he was so welcome! I had been so preoccupied by my side of this birth, with my schedule and my ‘birth without caesarean’ project, that I was so startled to realise that I hadn’t really thought about him at all. And about how welcome he was!

I returned home calm, very calm – as Oda had instructed me. That night the waters broke and that same day, on Mother’s Day 2014, my sweet little Felix was born. Without a caesarean section. A birth that, even now when I look back on it, was a beautiful day, a beautiful experience. Secretly indeed it was the ‘real’ experience that I hoped to experience. I remember the midwife saying at one point: “You can pick him up yourself now.” And I was able to pick up baby Felix under his little shoulders while he was born. One of the most beautiful moments ever.

In the weeks after Felix was born, Oda visited again at my request. Again her treatment was beneficial for my body! And I have continued seeing Oda ever since. She was there for me during my divorce, during my busy years as a single mother, when I was intensely sad or intensely happy … And always she could do what no other shiatsu, no acupuncture, no other massage can do for me: to give my body and mind a complete ‘reset’.