As a pregnant woman expecting the birth of my first baby, I have at times felt a natural sense of anxiety around the unknown. I have had moments of self-doubt where I have questioned whether I have the mental and physical strength to get through my birth naturally without any assistance or medical intervention, where I have questioned the ‘what if’ it doesn’t go to plan, what if I want to quit, what if it all gets too much, what if the breathing doesn’t help… Its times like this when I have really benefited from positive birth stories shared with me by beautiful strong women who have come away from their birth’s with a sense of inner confidence, a sense of pride and a sense of absolute awe at this amazing experience. They have reminded me that I am not alone, that I will not be alone and that everything I need is within me. They remind me that I can birth with love and birth with power knowing millennia of woman kind are with me, holding my hand.
I have been very lucky to have a midwife who is constantly telling me that all I need is TRUST and FAITH. That there is nothing to DO in birth, that there is nothing to prepare or practice. My body will know what to do and all I have to do is TRUST in that. To use the tools that I have collected in my tool kit (breathing techniques, visualisation, active birth positioning, massage and water) to assist me in relaxing and surrendering to the process. She gave me a wonderful quote which I have stuck to the wall next to my bed so that I can read it every morning
“Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale and her hand to pull back from fire – so she knows when and how to give birth”.
I love that quote and it really makes me question why we have lost that faith, why we suddenly believe that we need so much assistance and intervention for something that is so primal, so natural and so innate in us women.
I often look to the animal kingdom where the lack of language doesn’t allow any attachment of fear or expectations to how things are supposed to go.
When your dog is about to have a litter of puppies, she selects a private, quiet place in which to do this, she lays low for a few days and at some stage sneaks off to the little nook that she has made and gets on with it. If we didnt have language, maybe we would still feel this way about birth. Confident in our bodies, confident in our abilities and confident that in the same way that our bodies knew how to get pregnant and to nourish this growing baby over the 9 months, we also know how to birth him.
Why have we become so afraid of this natural process? Why have we lost our faith that we can do this ourselves?
Since being pregnant I have found myself on the receiving end of hundreds of birth stories; some from people I know and some from people I don’t. I feel like the flood gates for all the negative stories have opened and are crashing over me in a tidal wave. Why do we feel the need to share our negative stories with women who are about to embark on their own journey? It certainly doesn’t help them in any way and your timing couldn’t be worse.
Why dont we use filters or think about when and to whom we tell our stories?
The key thing for me has been to protect my space and focus on positive stories that build my confidence. I have no problem with politely declining a story if it doesn’t sit well with me. It has been important to get into a positive frame of mind, to visualise my birth going the way I want it to and to go into it feeling relaxed so that my adrenalin is minimised and oxytocin is released.