You are preparing for your birth; reading all the articles, searching google, asking about homebirth, and hospitals and birth centers. Most likely, you have been shopping for baby stuff. Everything is falling into place, though you may still be a bit anxious, especially if this is your first baby. There are many unanswered questions.
I know how you are feeling. Before I had my first baby (Matthew), I had never been around newborns, and was actually not interested in them at all. As a kid, I was climbing trees, playing softball, and running in the woods. Then I became a doula, when Matthew was 2 years old. Crazy, huh?
Let me tell you, I was definitely nervous the first time around, for many reasons. Ironically, I was not concerned at all about labor and birth, but more about how I would care for a baby. Nobody really told me what to expect, or how to actually prepare for being a mother. On top of that, my now deceased ex-husband left me when I was 7 months pregnant.
That long story is actually a book. I will just say that I was extra nervous because I knew I would be a single mother, and it was not what I had planned for my life. Once I had Matthew, I surprised myself at how I was able to know what to do.
No matter what your situation is, planning is great, but so is knowing about certain universal truths about becoming a mother. Honestly, knowing about how you handle stress, and less sleep is important. Most of all, gathering and enrolling your support system.
The question is, “Can someone prepare for this transformational life event?” There is no test, no class, no rule book, no one size fits all. Having a baby and becoming a mother will change you forever, no matter what.
I believe you can do some preparation. Think of it this way. Many people create a birth plan, or what I like to call a birth vision. They do the research, talk to others; their partner, doula, midwife, obstetrician, mother, friend. Based upon the information gathered, and personal preferences, a birth plan is created. Some flexibility is built in, because there can be the unexpected.
You can also create a Fourth Trimester Vision. I use this as a guide when I am teaching other doulas or sharing with expectant parents what the first few weeks of parenthood can be like. These are just a few of the things I believe will support you.
The fourth trimester of birth is a major adjustment period for you and your baby. Babies have to learn everything, and so do you. When you take the time to prepare and to think about and discuss your expectations, your desires, and reality of life with a newborn, not everything will come as a surprise.
For example, it is 10 p.m. and you haven’t gotten out of your pajamas. You know you have gotten out of the chair to eat and go to the bathroom, yet it feels like you have been breastfeeding all day!! Or you have just changed your baby’s diaper and his poop is all over the place. You spend the next ½ hour cleaning him up, you up, and the changing table.
Welcome to the Hood; Motherhood!! The best job you will ever love.
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I believe language definitely shapes beliefs and beliefs shape language. Let's break it down. How does it feel when you say "I know it is going to hurt?" Say it out loud. Feel it. Sense it. What is happening in your mind and in your body?
Now, how does it feel when you say "I may experience some painful sensations?" What are you feeling, and thinking now? Is it different than the previous statement?
What you tell yourself is important. What you speak out loud is important. Thoughts are energy, and when you speak you are communicating with the Universe. This is what I believe. You may believe something very different. Know that it is those beliefs that will drive all your choices.
Childbirth is not painful for everyone. Your mind is such a powerful tool. One that you can use to your advantage when it comes to childbirth. When you leave room for possibility, everything in your experience changes. Telling yourself maybe instead of absolutely makes for a very different experience.
How do you know it will hurt? Did you read it in a book? Have you experienced childbirth before? Did someone tell you it will hurt? Did you watch a T.V. show that had a birth scene?
Even if you have given birth before, it will not be the same experience, because you are not the same as you were before, and you are pregnant with a different baby growing inside of you.
Childbirth is a rite of passage, a bringing forth of life through your amazing body. Be aware of what you feed your mind; what you think, feel, read, speak, and watch.
Women are so powerful. You are powerful. The fact that we can grow life, and give birth is amazing. It is a great idea to prepare for childbirth, and I know it can be confusing to sort through the options. There are many hospital based classes that teach about being a good patient, and all the interventions.
Then there are preparation methods like Hypnobabies, which was discussed on my Facebook Live a couple of weeks ago: Bellies, Birth, Babies, and Boobs. And, there are courses like The Primal Birth Course that will take you deep into the power that lies within you.
The fact is that the United States has earned the reputation of being the most dangerous place to give birth of developed nations. I wrote this article about some of the reasons why. This is not meant to scare you but rather to inspire you, and encourage you to stand in your power, and demand better.
This can only happen if you believe in your ability to give birth. I know how it feels to step into the unknown. Isn't that how life works? There is always an unknown future. And, if you listen to a lot of outside noise, and search for all the answers outside of yourself, it can create more self-doubt.
What can you do today to change your language to become confident about giving birth?
You can sign-up here, and get my Pregnancy Checklist, which includes Eight questions to Ask Yourself, Top Ten Lies, and Twenty Five Sample Questions from Down the Canal - the Game of Birth.
I want you to be prepared mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Only you can do that. Start where you are and discover what is possible.
Why I Created Down the Canal – The Game of Birth
There are so many books to read and so many websites to visit; it can be overwhelming for expectant parents. How do they really know which sources are promoting the best available evidence? Down the Canal is a pregnancy game, created for easy access to the information, and to inspire further inquiry into the birth process.
The goal is for people to play the game and learn they have more questions. It challenges the player to explore their own beliefs about birth. It is an inquiry into the self, as much as it is an inquiry into birth.
Since 1991 I have been an advocate for physiologic birth; birth with little or no intervention when mother is healthy and has no underlying medical issues. The question that continually arises is “Why aren’t more women taking a stand for themselves in birth?” Discussions with colleagues have often led to “How can we educate women and families about all their birthing options before they choose their doctor or midwife?”
We have a maternity care crisis in the United States, which you can read more about in the article I wrote in the Journal of Mother Studies.
The choice of care provider is one of the first choices a woman will make, usually within the first three months of pregnancy. Many women choose this provider based on recommendations from well-meaning friends and family members, without asking questions about how they view and treat birth.
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth