It's a pretty important day in the life of a woman and her baby (and her partner if she has one). Birth is something that will affect you for the rest of your life (not just you, but your baby and those people around you too).
I've heard of the amount of time, energy and money that women can spend on planning their weddings. Compared to this, birth preparation probably looks easy!
So, what are some options to help you emotionally prepare for birth?
Look in your local newspaper or search online to see what pregnancy groups are meeting in your town. Connect with other pregnant women (ideally with a facilitator that knows about birth) and start to hear how others are preparing for their births.
This may give you some ideas for what you would like for your birth, for example; having a water-birth, using a birth photographer or therapeutic use for your placenta. These prenatal groups can help you make new friends that may continue into parenthood (where more choices and options will arise that require discussion!).
In Nimbin, Birth & Beyond meets on Fridays 11am-12.30pm and in Lismore a new Birth & Beyond group is meeting on Tuesdays 9.30am-11.30am at Nurture.
Having a doula is a fantastic way to help you prepare for birth. Many offer several prenatal sessions to help you discover what it is you want for your birth, what options are available and generally helping you to feel better about birthing your baby.
And, of course, they are advocates for you during the birth process. Whether you are planning to birth at home, birth center or hospital; they can be an incredible ally for you.
These can be an incredible eye-opening experience that can help you understand your options and prepare for how your birth may look. We can never know the details of how a birth will unfold but having some tools to help you along the way will make you feel a lot better about your experience. Women who take an active role in the decision making process generally feel better about their birth outcomes (even if this is different to what they envisioned).
I hold regular Birthing From Within prenatal classes. In these workshops there is a greater focus on emotional and spiritual preparation. There is also some focus on the physiology of labour (like how your hormones help you labour and exercises that will assist your body to open). The personal exploration gives you a wider perspective and helps you gain confidence in your birthing abilities. It can also give your partner (or birth companion) more confidence to know what to do in the midst of labour.