So trust me on this … for me there is literally NO greater feeling (apart from snuggling my boys) than receiving one of ‘those’ messages! The messages that a birth worker eagerly awaits!
“The most amazing birth experience! I still can’t believe it was all so ‘easy’! We had a beautiful
baby boy at 4.33am, 7lb 110z. Name to be decided!
I can’t thank you enough”
Awesome birthing mama
So today I received one of those messages(above), I can’t tell you the sheer bloody delight it gave me to read it! The overwhelming sense of ‘I knew she would bloody do it’ and ‘I knew he would be an awesome birth partner’. The utter joy that this awesome birthing mama got the birth she wanted, the birth we talked about, the birth she planned for and to be honest the birth that she bloody worked her backside off for.
I am so lucky I get to work with some awesome women (and their birth partners). The women I work with are educated, intelligent, strong and capable. In normal daily life they exude confidence and control over their day, their week and their life. But so so frequently this confidence and control and power over their life is diminished, reduced, ignored, belittled and not trusted when they enter into the world of pregnancy, birth and parenthood.
In the work place or within their peer groups these women are valued, their opinions count, their judgement respected both by others and most importantly these women trust themselves to question, investigate, research and inform themselves about anything from current affairs, their finances, their next employment, the best film to watch and the best restaurant to visit. Most of these women would not hand over the power to an expert, but would seek their opinion and choose to make an informed decision when they have the information they need.
But in birth all to often I witness the power being handed over, the decision making, the researching of options, the trusting of judgement disappear. We live in a society where when we are ill we hand over care and often responsibility to our care giver and I kind of get that, though for me I would never stop questioning is this the right course of action, treatment etc, maybe I’ve worked in the NHS too long!
However a pregnant women is not ill (yes there are exceptions), her body is undergoing literally the most amazing physiological ‘process’ known to WOman kind! But why when we trust our body to grow a HUMAN BEING are we so quick to hand over our birth? Why do we lose faith that this amazing body that has just grown a HUMAN BEING would not have the knowledge and power to bring that human hearthside!
Recently I had the joy of supporting a fantastic couple, (the birth message above) this was baby number three, after two births, that, though the woman in question was amazingly strong the births had not happened in the way she would have hoped. It is true to say and without any judgement that a proportion of women would have accepted that’s just what was meant to be, labour and birth were not going to be easy, enjoyable or positive for her.
My first meeting with this couple left me in no doubt that for this birth, whichever way this Baby number 3 was birthed that this Mama was going to be in control and feel positive at whatever birth she had. Before we even met for our first class this strong, brave and determined woman knew her options, she sought out the care provider that would best support her in achieving the birth she wanted, she called on extra support to help her navigate the system, she enrolled my support. This woman was leaving nothing to chance, she had the awesome support of her husband who at all times displayed unwavering belief in her ability to do this.
But this alone may not have been enough, she participated fully in our classes, gaining as much as she could from each session, she did her homework, she focused, she practised and mostly she believed, she believed that she deserved a positive birth, somewhere inside she new birth could be different. There is no requirement and no benefit in birth being traumatic, trauma in birth, it serves no purpose.
But so often I hear of birth stories where birth has not been a positive experience, for me it’s not about a perfect birth, it’s the right birth on the day, but I beg of you do not hand over your power, your body, your experience and your babies birth to anyone.
As an ex midwife don’t get me wrong I know fully the value of our caregivers, but keep your strength and keep your power, know how strong you are but also know that you need to work at this, you need to research it, to understand it and to appreciate what is going to benefit birth and what isn’t. Don’t hand your birth over, grab onto it, nourish it, feed it with knowledge and actively pursue the birth that you want. Work with your care providers, be glad for their knowledge and the care they can provide but do not doubt that you are in the driving seat, you have the ability and right to be in control. Don’t hand over control.
So tonight I say huge congratulations to an awesome mama, an awesome birth partner you didn’t sit back and wait for birth to happen to you, you went out there and did everything you could to make it your reality! Huge congratulations on the birth of your son x
So maybe you would like to know what exactly you can do to take control of your birth, how can you best navigate the birth world, how can you find your power and grow it, how can you work to achieve a positive birth? You can ask me all these questions and more, just email firstname.lastname@example.org or checkout my website www.relaxforbirth.co.uk