After the hurricane comes a rainbow… how my story can help you on your journey to a positive birth.

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Here comes the good bit…

Last week I shared with you an incredibly emotional experience. Sharing those emotions helped me out more than I can explain. It was really cathartic to get those words out of me and the support that I got from everyone as a result… well there aren’t the words to say how grateful I am. So, now it’s time for me to give something back to you. It’s time for me to share the good from that experience. You see, I learnt a lot over those few days of being in hospital and I think that some of those things are the golden keys to a great birth experience, so here they are…

1. Ask ALL the stupid questions.

When it comes to the birth of your baby it is so important that you are aware of what is going on and not just being thrown from one unknown to the next. Before you agree to any intervention (unless it is a true emergency) please ask, ask, ask. If it hasn’t been made clear to you what exactly is happening, then ask. If you’re not sure what someone means when they use a medical term- ask. Ask what the potential implications could be. Ask what the benefits might be. Ask if you can still have you music playing. Ask if you can still use the birthing pool. Ask whatever is important to you… even if you feel a little silly. I promise you will feel a million times better if you understand what is happening and when you look back on that experience it will be far more positive if you were able to feel in control.

2. Accept ALL the help.

Any time in pregnancy or after the baby is born, if someone offers to help you in some way- please say yes. If they offer to hang your washing out whilst you rest- do it. If they offer to cook you dinner- let them. If someone wants to help you bring the shopping in from the car- welcome them with open arms (well, maybe not if they are a complete stranger… but you know what I mean). People WANT to help. People like to feel needed, to be there for their nearest and dearest. So, do them a favour and let them.

3. Visualise.

We are fed so much rubbish through the TV and other media about birth. A lot of it involves fear and pain, and that’s about it. But birth doesn’t have to be like that. It can be the most empowering experience of your life. Fill your mind with positive birth scenarios- watch videos of home and hospital births, read about positive c-sections. Teach yourself that birth can be different. And then the magic happens- sit and take the time to visualise a positive birth. Dare to dream. Think of that friendly midwife, imagine yourself riding the metaphorical waves of the birthing process with grace and ease. Show yourself that it will be ok. Once you start down this path, things can only get better.

4. Share your fears.

What’s that saying? A problem shared is a problem halved?
If you are worrying about something… tell someone. Once a fear is on our mind it is hard to just get rid of it. The hypnobirthing techniques will help you to address some of these fears in pregnancy but some of them will need to be discussed with your midwife or doctor to put your mind at ease, especially if something comes up during the birth that you hadn’t realised before. If you don’t tell your midwife what is worrying you then she won’t know and won’t be able to help you. If you tell her she can reassure you or she can help you to avoid that particular situation. Plus, it feels good to get these things off of your chest. It will definitely help.

5. Listen to your gut.

If your gut instinct is screaming at you that something isn’t right or if you have a niggle that what the medical team are suggesting isn’t best for you and your baby. Listen to it. The power of a mother’s instinct is not to be underestimated. It is a powerful thing, if you tune into it and follow it. So, if it is telling you to go one way but your brain is telling you to just do as you are told or to be quiet because ‘they know best’, please dig deep, find the strength and speak up. Share what you feel and lean into that feeling each time it comes to making a decision. You know your body and your baby best, so only you truly know what is best for the both of you.

Ok, I make that 5 things now. I think that’s about right. I really do believe that if I didn’t apply these things to my experience last week, it would have been very different. Despite the sadness of what we were going through, I look back on that time with pride. I was strong, I faced the surgery without fear (well ok there was a little fear… but I didn’t run out of the hospital screaming, so I’m taking that as a win) and I did what I knew I needed to do for the sake of myself and my family. I want you to be able to look back on the birth of your baby and feel the same way too. I want you to feel proud and I want you to be able to say “I did it like an absolute mother”.

With love, as always,

Chloë x

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