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Thank you for joining me for another episode of The Empowered Birth Podcast. I want to talk to you about something that is super important. It comes up during every birth planning session as well as my in person consults. That is Normalizing the Birth Process. Many women and their partner’s get a little squeamish when I talk about the how. When I share with them why it is important many of them do the exercises and I can tell a big difference in the clients that do normalize the process and those who don’t.
Before we get into the episode let’s read the review of the week: Biz Woman says: AMAZING! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with the rest of us so we can have a leg up! It’s such an overwhelming process and you provide comfort, self confidence, and peace of mind. THANK YOU FOR THIS PODCAST! You are such a blessing in the world! Much Self Love Stephanie Asher. Thank you so much Stephanie! This means the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a beautiful review!
Let’s get into the show!
In the US birth is considered a medical event that needs managed. 99% of women deliver in hospitals to prevent fetal or maternal death and yet we rank 10th out of the 10 most similarly wealthy countries. https://www.vox.com/2020/1/30/21113782/pregnancy-deaths-us-maternal-mortality-rate
Black women are 3 to 5 times more likely to die from pregnancy related conditions than white women. Per the CDC they “defines a pregnancy-related death as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication; a chain of events initiated by pregnancy; or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.”
Birth is not a medical event. Sometimes medical events happen during pregnancy or birth that need attention from a medical professional. But most of the time our bodies know exactly what to do as we were designed to experience this physiological event. There are many physiological events that aren’t managed or watched over by a professional, monitors or interventions. Taking a poop, menstruation, sexual intercourse. We trust that these events will work until they prove us otherwise and then we see a professional.
How do we switch our beliefs from fearful management of a medical event to this is a normal physiological event that I can trust until it proves me wrong and then I will seek help.
This is where normalizing the birth process comes in. Beliefs are formed when there is a thought combined with feelings repeated overtime. So if you grew up and heard stories of births that needed induced, babies needing cut out of moms, oxygen, medications, doctors swooping in to save the day and that made you experience a feeling and those were repeated over and over again you formed a belief about birth based off of that.
I will tell you that I grew up hearing stories in my family about inductions, scary moments needing oxygen, hemorrhaging, breastfeeding troubles. I heard fear in women’s voices when sharing their story. I experienced a visceral reaction that caused uncertainty of what to expect during my own birth. I then went to nursing school where I learned how to manage births, read monitors, administer medications, place IV’s and catheters. I saw in the nurses faces the urgency and the need to be involved and be hands on. I saw doctors swoop in last minute to gown up and catch the baby or perform a surgery. I saw the look on mom’s eyes when they are lying there unable to move from the epidural, helpless to do anything except pray that their baby comes quickly. I experienced a range of emotions and feelings through that experience that solidified my view that babies need saved, mother need help and birth cannot be trusted but instead controlled.
This belief about birth that I carried with me impacted my decision making that ultimately lead to a traumatic birth via cesarean. This pushed me in a fight to over come PPD and PTSD as well as working to bond with my daughter. Your beliefs about birth matter. I went in with the expectation that I was going to give over my birth process to the experts and they were going to make the best decisions for me and I was going to have a painless, uncomplicated birth. When the outcome didn’t match the expectations I had thats when trauma came. Trauma is perceived by the person experiencing it. Someone else could have the same exact experience and yet feel totally happy with the outcome.
I knew that I didn’t want to give away that power again. I wanted to feel things and be in control of my decisions. I wanted to release fear and engage in something transformational. In order to do this I had to rewire my brain. One way I did this was by exposing myself to what “normal” birth is. I had to break down the neural pathway that lead to the fearful belief and replace it with one that lead to the belief I wanted to have.
First I had to identify what belief I had. That took a little bit of reflection and journaling. Then I had to put an intention out there on the belief I wanted to have. This also I wrote down. Because I wanted to have the belief that birth was a normal event I had a lot to process. I decided I would watch a birth video of physiological birth everyday or listen to a podcast of a positive story to reinforce this belief. It takes about 66 days to start having a belief become automatic. I watched all of the birth videos on youtube, the real the raw the noisest videos. I wanted to be exposed to physiological birth so I found videos that were unedited and most of them happened at home. By the end of my pregnancy I realized that my fears were melting away. I had control of my thoughts, I was choosing the feelings I wanted to have. I was in control. I had made decisions along the way that matched with the expectation I had for birth and it resulted in a beautiful labor and delivery.
Again, I’m not saying that you can do all the right things and not having something traumatic happen or transfer needed. Medical intervention is always available. At anytime I felt like me or the baby was not safe or my midwife or my husband I could have transferred. Birth didn’t prove me wrong. I wasn’t interfered with. My body was allowed to do what it needed to do.
So if you’re looking to change your belief about birth I would first journal what your current belief about birth is. Then I would set the intention of what you want to believe. Mine sounded like “I believe that birth is a physiological event that I can trust until it proves me otherwise.” I also wanted to form a belief that said “My body knows exactly how to birth a baby like it was designed to.” This is where affirmations come in.
Once you have this written down you can start exposing yourself to books, stories, videos of natural, uncomplicated births. And avoid the traumatic stories that will reinforce the current neural pathway. Our minds always take the path of least resistance. It’s easy to go into autopilot and believe what we always have about birth. Believe what the culture tells us to believe. It takes work to break free and form a belief opposite to that. When your belief changes and you normalize the birth process you’ll experience a freedom and empowerment that you didn’t know what possible. This is what transformation looks like.
I would love to walk through this with you. If you need help identifying beliefs and coming up with an intention and a plan to change that you can schedule a 60 minute session with me that will take you from fearful to powerful decision maker. Schedule today by clicking the link in the description or going to empoweredbirthpodcast.com/birthplanning.
You have more control than you think. When you know your options, you have confidence and beliefs that match the outcome you want to have you will be able to surrender to the process and release everything in that moment to experience a transformation that you didn’t even know was possible!
Thanks for joining me today for another episode of the empowered birth podcast! If this episode was helpful would you take a moment to leave a review and share on your IG. Take a screen shot and tag me on IG @empoweredbirthpodcast. I would love to reshare you and what you are learning!
Stay Empowered and we’ll see you next week!
If you have something that you’d like to hear on this show or have something you feel led to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to take your questions and ideas and share them here on the show!
COVID-19 Birth Options & Resources: https://www.birthblissbeyond.com/post/coronavirus-pregnancy-resources
FREEBIE: Top 5 Things Every Pregnant Mom Needs To Know: https://blissful-birth.teachable.com/p/5things
60-Minute Birth Planning Session: Are you feeling overwhelmed with all of your options? Maybe you don't even know where to start with a birth plan. Let me help you dream about your birth and guide you to the options that match the expectations you have for your big day! Schedule your 60-minute session now! www.empoweredbirthpodcast.com/birthplanning
Purchase the Intuitive Mama’s Essentials, the basics every mom should know, including 15 questions to ask your provider, tips on avoiding an episiotomy, birth affirmations and a birth plan template: https://blissful-birth.teachable.com/p/the-intuitive-mamas-essentials
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