…Birth a Baby.
Eight months ago I gave birth to a human child and it was the hardest, most effervescent experience of my life. Recently there has been a lot in the news about the rising number of caesareans in the UK and the reasons behind this. I practised Hypnobirthing which has a bad rep but is really just the most practical, level-headed way to approach childbirth. I learned that childbirth in all of its forms is a wonderful thing, epidural, c-section, home-birth, whatever, as long as its on YOUR terms. This is the most natural thing in the world but unfortunately because we live in a patriarchal society, women have been convinced through an historical rhetoric that we’re not strong enough to take on the challenge that our bodies were actually designed for. Which makes NO SENSE! More and more I realise how strong and capable woman are. Our resources are deeper, our resolve is stronger, our capacity for love is wider. WE ARE SO CAPABLE.
I’m not going to try and tell you that my experiences of childbirth are completely beautiful and amazing and painless because that would be a lie but in talking to other mother’s I’ve realised that my natural, calm birth isn’t the norm. So I wanted to put together a blog on why that is, because I am no stronger or weaker than any other mother out there. So here are my tips for childbirth…
- Don’t be afraid. Unfortunately women spend most of their lives, even their childhoods, being told how horrific childbirth is, including and especially their own! I get it, women are compassionate beings and we want you to be prepared, so it isn’t a nasty surprise when the time comes but it ends up becoming 1, a weird badge of honour and 2, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fear=Tension=Pain is the cornerstone of Hypnotherapy. The more afraid you are, the more your body will tense and put itself into danger mode and the harder it will be to get that baby out. Take the fear out, try and look forward to this incredible experience, find the calm amid the noise and things will go a lot more smoothly.
- Make a plan. I touched upon this in my pregnancy blogs and I stand by what I said. You should have an idea of how you would like your birth to go, make an A4 page of bullet-points so it’s easy for your caregivers to know what you’d like and then be prepared for it to change if it needs to. I made a plan and everything went about 80% to that plan, which is 80% more than everyone told me it would.
- Bring these things…lip balm, a light-weight dressing gown (not the silk one your grandpa bought back from Japan for your grandma), your own towel (a big one but not your best one because…fluids), and a straw (because you’ll need to stay hydrated but you’ll be in all sorts of odd positions that you won’t want to get out of to drink of a cup or bottle). I also brought my own fluffy blanket that I loved running my hands over while leaning over an exercise ball. A couple of people told me not to bring anything I wanted to keep because I would want to burn them afterwards and not to listen to any songs I like because I’d never want to hear them again. I snuggle up with the blanket on the sofa all the time (it has been washed!) and I haven’t been put off any of my music either.
- Trust yourself. It’s important that medical interventions are there for emergencies but I believe the patriarchal influence over the medical profession has now over-medicalised childbirth. Some women wonder why you would suffer a natural childbirth if pain-killing medication is available and this is a really sound argument but when I researched the consequences of an epidural or a caesarean I decided that a natural childbirth was the best route for me and I was going to fight for as few medical-interventions as possible. If every instinct is telling you a planned caesarean is the best thing for you, you’ve researched exactly what entails and you know it’s your best option then push for it. If a midwife, doctor or family member is saying to you in the throws of labour “are you sure you don’t just want the epidural??” and you’re thinking no, I’ve totally got this then tell them where to go! Only you know what’s going on inside you. Do your research, if a midwife tells you they’ve already booked you in for an induction if you go a week over, then ask why. Remember that they don’t have to force you to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Listen to your body, your instincts, your midwife/doctor and then make an informed decision.
- Try Hypnobirthing. You might think it’s really not your thing but if you don’t try then you don’t know! I’m a big ol’ hippy so I was always up for it anyway but it was way more practical and scientific than I thought it would be. I came out of the course knowing the anatomy of childbirth, all the possible options I had for giving birth and was loaded up with calming techniques which ultimately resulted in me giving birth on my own terms. And what an incredibly powerful feeling that was!
Rant. Over. I’m not trying to tell you that childbirth is easy, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, but it’s not harder than you can take and however you decide or end up giving birth you should be SO PROUD of yourself. You’re one tough mother!