Have you heard horror birth stories or seen too many dramatic TV births? It's not very confidence boosting is it? In this article, you will discover 7 tips for how to look forward to giving birth (even if you're afraid).
1. Use Birth Stories to Your Advantage
People often see pregnancy as a ticket to tell you birth stories they've experienced or heard. Everyone wants to share! Unfortunately, not all stories are positive and many can perpetuate the feelings of uncertainty or fear. One of the best tips that I can share that can help you turn these stories into something you can benefit from, is to ask the people; "What helped you cope in labour"?
This brings the focus onto the useful information and may give you tools to learn how you too can cope if unexpected or unwanted surprises pop up in your birthing journey. It reframes the story from one of negativity to one of hope and encouragement. It also helps the 'story teller' to see the positive light. Often people are telling their stories because they need to work through some aspects of it. So, quickly diverting the story to the positive or helpful information such as useful things that helped the person to cope or how they knew they could get through, can benefit all involved!
2. Stop watching dramatic TV shows!
Instead watch positive birth films showing real people birthing. Hearing how others have conquered their fears and faced obstacles can help you build confidence in your abilities. It also helps you raise awareness about the birthing process and allows you to see solutions to questions. Some good films to check out are 'Birth as we know it', 'The Big Stretch' and 'The Business of Being Born'.
There are many pregnancy and birth books out there (but not all are useful). A beautiful book filled with inspiring birth stories is 'Spiritual Midwifery'; written by birth expert Ina May Gaskin. This was the first 'birthy' book I ever read and I could not put it down!
An Australian book published just last year entitled 'Birth Journeys' has positive birth stories to encourage and inspire readers to look forward to birth as a rite of passage. I also highly recommend 'Birthing From Within' as an excellent guide to intuitive and emotional birth preparation.
There is something so fantastic about building confidence in your ability to cope that resonates with birth preparation and self confidence. Discovering what practices help you in pregnancy, will allow you to feel better about the challenges of birth.
The Birthing From Within childbirth preparation classes use ice-cubes to simulate an uncomfortable feeling. This gives you a gauge and sets the foundation for comparing which practices help you to cope. Try it now, hold ice for 60 seconds and see what it feels like. After you have given this a try. The next time, before holding ice, bring your awareness to your breath, focussing on your exhalation. Try focussing only on your out breath, bringing your full attention to this and then pick up the ice again, for another 60 seconds and notice any changes.
Broaden your mind, expand your horizons and learn about birth. We can often fear the unknown. Knowing what your options are for birth can help you feel more in control and confident about navigating decision making.
Joining in independent prenatal classes can give you more tools to use during your pregnancy, birth and beyond. Sarah Buckley uses the acronym BRAN to help you to make an informed decision. This looks at the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives and doing Nothing (waiting longer to make a decision). Birthing From Within goes one step further and adds the letter I (for Intuition) to make the acronym BRAIN. Use your brain to discover your options and learn to navigate your unique birthing journey!
How many times have you tried NOT to think about something and that is exactly what you end up thinking about? If I was to say; do NOT think about a pineapple; what do you immediately think of? Most of you would have immediately got an image of a pineapple.
If you are deliberately trying to avoid thinking about birth or trying NOT to think about medical intervention, then you may still be giving these things energy. An excellent way to allow fears to dissolve is to write them down, explore them and then release them. What does it say about you as a person if these fears did materialise? What steps can you take to minimise these fears from happening? What have you previously done when faced with difficult scenarios?
Know that this is not a solo journey. Although there is a lot of self discovery and ultimately, you will be the one birthing your baby, there is still a lot of support that others can give you. Like any other big event, you will have others that you can call on to help, love and support you. Have you considered having a doula provide care during your pregnancy, birth and postnatal time?
So, to wrap up... listen to positive birth stories, ask other women what helped them cope during labour, practice breath awareness to build confidence in your abilities, get educated on your options for birth, examine your fears and find nurturing support to help you on your journey to motherhood.
She has a passion for using natural remedies and therapies to support women during pregnancy, birth and beyond. For more information see traditionalwisdom.com.au