Have you ever dreamt about what your birth would be like?
Do you imagine a peaceful birth experience or are you fearful; unsure of how you will handle the pain, uncertainty, and the possibility of a long labor?
Do you imagine being excited to share your birth story with friends post delivery?
Have you ever considered your birth story something you will be proud to share with your child as they grow, with family, and with other expectant moms, no matter the method, length, or unexpected turns it may take?
We don’t go into birth hoping it’s going to be terrible. Most of us hope for a 3 hour labor where we don’t feel contractions and then all of a sudden push a baby out in 2 pushes! Or was that just me?
So why is having a positive birth experience so important?
Your birth experience is something that will stay with you for a lifetime. It not only affects you physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. A study in BioMed Central studied 26 women 6-7 years after their birth experience. All of these women, who were from Sweden, said they had a positive birth experience. Guess what the conclusion stated was the reason for all of these women having a positive experience?
It was actually two fold.
1. Women who looked back at their experience and saw the labor process as proof of their ability and their strength felt empowered and proud.
2. Their emotional needs had been addressed and met through a respectful, trusting relationship with their midwife.
So many things stood out to me in this study:
Out of 26 women, only 2 had a c-section (7%).
They all chose to have a midwife.
Even the women who had a c-section considered it a positive experience.
The feelings of being in control allowed women to relax and let go.
They saw their provider as a guide rather than a director in their birth process.
They prepared physically and mentally for their birth.
Many of them had seen or heard positive experiences from their mothers and grandmothers. It was a family event.
Some of their mindsets around birth was that it was a very normal and natural event and one that could be magical.
If you would like to learn more about how to have a positive experience during childbirth I highly recommend checking out this study!
You’ll hear me say. “Birth matters,” more than any other phrase regarding birth. I have come to this conclusion and will stand by it because of the experiences not only that I have had but the mothers that I have supported and the many women that I have spoken to about birth.
I have seen women transform from being a woman into a mother. I have seen barriers completely break down. I have witnessed the relationships between partners grow stronger. I have seen bonds with babies broken and bonds strengthened. I have seen women become emotionally strong and empowered. I have seen disappointment and how that affects the postpartum period, as well as how the highest highs stick with women for a lifetime.
I have seen too much to say, “Birth is just what you do to have a baby.” If you currently believe that…. that is fine! You are not alone. I was there too. I’m here to discuss an alternative to that common statement. One that does not mean handing your power away to someone else. The power of informed decision making is yours! It’s when you hand that away to someone else (doula, doctor, midwife, mom, partner, sister, friend) that you put yourself at the risk of being dissatisfied with your birth experience.
Birth is not just a physical event. It is spiritual. God could have come up with any other way for a baby to come into this world but he chose to allow women the opportunity to go through something so transformative. Birth is a time of transcendence. Of traveling outside of yourself and coming back to have a baby in your arms. It is where you let go of the fear, the control and give it to the Creator. He made your body to have a baby. When you let your body do what it was designed to do you will reap massive benefits! The oxytocin that is released during birth is unlike anything you will ever experience. This isn’t something to fear. It is not an illness or medical emergency. It is simply your body working to bring your baby to you as it was designed to do.
Ok. Now to address those of you who are going to be like, “Well in the Bible it says that women are going to suffer through childbirth so it has to be painful…”
Let me just explore that thought for a minute. You may be considering the following verse:
Genesis 3:16: To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.”
Let me just ask you a few questions?
What about women who don’t have babies? Is the curse only for those who go through childbirth?
What about the many women who don’t experience any pain during childbirth?
Does this mean we should endure pain because it is a part of our “punishment” for disobeying?
Some would argue that the Hebrew word for pain could also be translated as toil. Which any woman who has gone through labor will tell you it is hard work; regardless of whether they experienced pain during the process. The sweat on their brow is evidence of the “toil” they just endured. The same word that was translated to “pain” when referring to Eve’s curse is the same word that is translated to “toil” in Adam’s curse of laboring in the fields.
Take that for what it’s worth. I am not claiming to know Hebrew or be a Bible expert. I just don’t want you to go into labor thinking that pain is inevitable and something to just endure through because you deserve it. There is grace, there is hope, there is freedom. When you lean on Jesus for his strength something spiritual happens during birth. I don’t know if I will ever be gifted with the words to explain it. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself!
But.. this isn’t just about how you birth your baby, although there are many benefits to a natural delivery. I can go over that later. This is about taking back your power as a woman, learning the risks and benefits of a decision and standing by that. Taking the responsibility to choose the provider that is best for you, having a supportive team around you, choosing the location that will best support your plan, working on mindset and a birth plan. These all matter! And, of course, having a health baby matters immensely! Don’t forget about you too! Having a healthy mom is necessary for raising a healthy baby!
If what I’ve been discussing is getting you curious to learn more. I have developed a free online course on the top 5 things every pregnant woman needs to know when preparing for labor! This course goes beyond basic breathing and comfort techniques. As I referenced in the study above, mindset, a supportive team, ability to let go and relax are key to a successful and satisfying labor. This course will cover how to match your expectations with the decisions being made during labor. It will also highlight the importance of informed consent and informed refusal as well as the questions to ask your provider or potential providers in order to assure they are the best fit for you. I discuss how to go about choosing a supportive team and what to expect at your first prenatal appointment. Go to blissful-birth.teachable.com/5things to enroll in the course today! This course only takes about 30 minutes to complete. That 30 minutes will empower you to make the best decisions for you and your baby!
And you may ask, “This all sounds good, but what about when a birth doesn’t go as planned?” Unplanned circumstances do happen… and they can rock your world. So I won’t leave you hanging here long. Stay tuned for my next post about what to do when your birth doesn’t go as planned! Thanks for reading! Have a blissful day!!