A clear picture or ”vision” of what you’d like your baby’s birth to be, is the best way to set yourself up for success in achieving those results. I think we all start off with the idea that we “just want a healthy baby at the end of the day” and “if I can avoid a c section that would be great”. Some women stop right there and turn it all over to the medical authorities to make that happen. For some women it works and for other women they have some regrets or even a ‘not so positive’ birth experience. So let’s revisit something.
This is not about you it’s about your baby. It’s THEIR birth. What would make it great for them?
YOU are the great facilitator in their experience. YOU are the hostess of the event and the party planner – YOU hold them and parent them now – in fear or in bliss. YOU “feed and water” them daily in your body and YOU are the only one that can make educated decisions regarding their well-being. YOU are the decision maker in this birth experience (and making no decision IS making a decision – my daughter hates when I say that). That’s a lot right. Take a breath. While the above may seem like a huge, daunting and overwhelming task – let me assure you that it is actually quite simple.
Sometimes when we have to work the formula backward to get the results we want. Sit back comfortably and picture this…
Your baby has just been placed on your chest for the first time. Birth is over and you let out a deep sigh of relief. Looking down, you see this tiny wet head and wiggling body underneath your hands. Does your baby have hair? Is it light or dark, curly or straight? Take a deep breath and smell their head – what does your baby smell like? Fresh like rain, or warm vanilla cupcakes? You kiss that head and say a few words – what are the first words you say to your baby? Notice how that little bum fits in your hand. Ten fingers, ten toes and beautiful soft skin. What does your partners face look like while looking down at their baby for the first time? Is baby looking back at them? What does that picture look like in your mind’s eye? You pull your baby up and over to the side so you can see their face too. Whose nose do they have? Look at those full lips and rosy cheeks. What feelings are beginning to emerge in your body and where do you feel the feelings in your body? In your heart? Your throat or your stomach? Your baby is here and you are finally meeting face to face. Can you feel the love, joy and relief in the room? Are you overwhelmed with relief and happiness? Breathe in these feelings now and pull them down into your heart. THIS is what I need you to focus on from now on. THESE feelings.
Notice that you weren’t picturing the hospital room, the docs or midwives. You weren’t seeing the nurses or your parents in the corner. Nor were you picturing if baby came out the front door(vagina) or the side door(belly). It was just you, your baby and pure, gentle love. So how do you create that? The feeling in the room is all your baby is coming in for. She/he doesn’t care if it’s in the car or on the sidewalk. They just want to be claimed and begin in love. Your decisions and actions now affect that.
The time to invest in that vision and those feelings is now. So working backwards is how you go about creating that.
Choosing the right provider is key and honestly kind of tricky to decide on before you have the education piece you need. This is where you need to begin reaching out to your local birth community. Getting with the right provider early helps you build a trusting relationship and make sure that you are all on the same page with things. Ashley Stetson(doula and the other half of my brain) always says – follow the “crunchy moms” even if you are not crunchy. The crunchy moms and the birth doulas in your community will have a pretty good handle on how your hospitals and providers support the kind of birth you are looking for. Doulas have seen things first hand and know the importance of a good provider and can help you steer clear of a not so favorable provider. Sometimes, our regular OB is great for everything BUT our birth experience. It’s ok to choose someone different if the ideas you both have about birth don’t fit just right. Vaginal loyalty is what many of us have with our OB’s(I had it) but you only birth this baby one time – and research may show that vaginal loyalty may not be placed correctly in this situation. You can always go back AFTER birth to continue your care with your OB. This is not your birth – go with your gut and do not ignore red flags or uncomfortable feelings in your stomach if it doesn’t feel quite right.
Next, add in evidenced based education that makes you feel confident and supported. Birth is simple and books, classes and podcasts should leave you feeling knowledgeable and empowered. Look around your area for an out of hospital class that gives you a broader view of birth than “just being a good patient.” There may be many choices – talk to the different teachers and see what resonates with you, for your baby. Different people teach in different ways – and different methods work for different people. Education should make you feel calm and ready to work with your providers. My advice – NEVER walk into your birth place looking for a fight or thinking you have to protect yourself. Mammals need to relax and feel safe in order to birth well – change some things up if this is where you are at in regards to your babys birth place. If you can’t find anyone in your community, reach out and have a consultation – we are happy to help.
And lastly – Understanding how to lay your fears to rest and begin enjoying each day with this baby is necessary. Fear is meant to be understood and dealt with, not swept under a rug. Making a complete list of your fears on paper sometimes help to “clean house” of what’s weighing on your mind. Reach out early to birth experts in the community and figure out some backup plans for your worries. If you know how to deal with things that alarm you, they may not alarm you anymore because you have a plan on how to deal with them if they show up. Birth worries are real but you can learn to trust that your body knows what to do and that you are competent enough to meet any challenge that may arise. This is where the having the right provider and current evidence based education is key to your success! Day by day your foundation of trust will begin to build and that picture of the perfect “feelings” in your birth room will become stronger in your mind.
Remember to create and feel the yummy feelings you want to bring your baby into at their birth time. Practice makes perfect! Let those feelings guide your decision making with everything. To create experience, you have to be adaptable to what you want and go with what your baby wants! It’s not your birth…go with the flow.