Seriously. You can’t just expect a good birth to come and land on your plate!
After my first baby was born I heard the phrase ‘you’re so lucky’ a lot. I would listen to other women – some who I had been friends with for years, some I’d never met until that conversation, and every variable in between – share their own experiences of birth, and I’d feel like I had to tone down the sheer joy, pride and elation I felt when speaking about my experience of birth for fear of rubbing salt in their wounds or appearing discompassionate.
I almost started to believe my own experience was purely down to luck!
But I also noticed a theme amongst many of these women (and I have to add here, that most of these women are generally not afraid of a challenge, they are strong, self-sure women who face the world with courage). But the theme was a lack of preparation.
Many felt there was no point in preparing. In attending any classes. Even writing a birth plan… why? Because they didn’t believe in their ability to birth. Their underlying deep rooted ‘truths’ about birth, included:
- Having to hand over control to somebody ‘more knowledgable’.
- That it is ALWAYS agonisingly painful.
- That we have to suffer pain and indignity to get to the end prize; our babies.
- That birth plans are a waste of time, as they just go out of the window on the day.
- That someone else would tell them what to do and when, as they wouldn’t know what to do themselves.
- That there wasn’t much their partner could do to help with the birthing process.
- That some women just get lucky and birth goes smoothly.
- That there is no way they could, or would want to, give birth without an epidural.
I accept that there is an element of luck involved. Some things are beyond our control, medical complications are something none of us would choose, but they are a fact of life and we are so very fortunate to have wonderful NHS staff to help care for us in those eventualities, and access to good quality information to enable us to make decisions about them. And there is so much you CAN control, in just about any given situation…. IF you prepare!!
And this is when I realised I wasn’t just lucky, and that actually the very phrase ‘you’re so lucky’ detracted from my absolute awesomeness, and from the fact that I (like many other birthing goddesses I’ve known and read about!) had put a tonne of effort in over a period of months, to prepare mentally and physically for labour, and with a dash of luck for good measure it paid off!
How can you possibly expect to know what to expect from labour, and how to facilitate it’s progress yourself, if you don’t ask about how it is when it’s undisturbed?
How can you effectively use powerful tools like breathing, light touch massage and affirmations if you don’t know about them?
How can your partner lower your pain levels, help you stay calm and make good decisions, and advocate for you and your baby if nobody has ever shown him how?
How can you ensure your preferences are adhered to wherever possible, even if things take a sudden unexpected turn, if you’ve not thought about them to know what is important to you?
How can you expect all of this to come together on the day without PRACTICE? Practice is key to all of the tools we give you on the course. You may find on the day that only one or two are needed, or you may want that whole damn toolbox and more, but if you’ve practiced you’ll know you used them to their greatest benefit, and that anything else you accept beyond that was an informed decision which is so important.
So don’t sit around just hoping it will land on your plate – take control and prepare for your birth. Head to the courses page to see the options we have available to help get you ready, we have something for every budget from £12 upwards. I am back from maternity leave now offering private courses from your very own sofa, as well as relaxation sessions Saturdays 11-12 at our Chalkwell HQ. If you have any questions just drop us an email and we would be happy to help.