Firstly I just want to say that I am in no way judging peoples birth options, this is just a bit more specific to the birth I want but amongst this post I really hope you find something that can aide whichever birth you pick!
Today I wanted to share with you how I’m trying to approach birth positively and let me tell you a secret, there’s a lot lot more to it than those 10, 20, 30 hours you spend in hospital.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I had about 30 seconds of shock, 30 seconds of excitement then spent the rest of the day panicking that this baby was in me and therefore had to come out of me in about 9 months time.
And like many young, first time moms all I could envisage was blood and pain and screaming in agony. But that’s not how I wanted to bring my daughter into the world – scared, misinformed and in pain. I wanted us to remember it as a positive and exciting experience, for all three of us. Together we started watching One Born Every Minute, some are terrifying and some make you laugh but one really stood out to us, where a mom embraced her birth and had a natural, calm water birth. She kept referring to Hypnobirthing, which I had never heard of at this point so, I started doing bits of research and treating birth like a university essay haha – when I don’t understand something, I need to learn every detail just to satisfy this weird craving for understanding, and that’s what I began doing with hypnobirthing.
To begin with I bought Positive Birth Books such as “How To Grow A Baby And Push It Out”, Giovanna Fletchers “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” and “The Positive Birth Book” to hear more positivity surrounding birth. I cannot recommend either a celebrity moms autobiography or positive birth books or even audio books to just surround yourself with positivity and naturally, your fears will slowly diminish. Because this is when I began to learn that actually it isn’t 20 hours of none stop contractions and actually tearing doesn’t happen in every labour and suddenly a lot of misconceptions were being erased.
Now if you’ve read my blog before, you know my pregnancy craving has been lavender and that this has led to me practising aromatherapy around the house. To find out more click here.
J and I also started to really make a point of discussing the birth and what we wanted for our family; we found that the hospital I would give birth in had its own midwife led birth centre, with dimmed lights, aromatherapy massages and huge water birthing pools, which we both immediately fell in love with. Knowing I wouldn’t be cooped up on a ward in a medical environment eased my mind immensely. Some birth centres even offer tours so it’s well worth researching where you plan to give birth to relieve any anxiety. Also, it’s the little things that make birth more exciting; like J cutting the cord, us both experiencing skin to skin with our newborn and J being as involved as possible. That’s what we both decided we wanted on a basic level – he is as much a part of the birth as myself and our little girl.
When I finished university, I had a lot more time to really begin to focus on preparing for the birth so I excitably enquired about local hypnobirthing classes. And this is where my heart really sank and my dreams of a hippy calm birth were shattered. Because locally, it is £350 for 10 hours – which with a newborn on the way and having just moved house, was an awful lot of money that we just didn’t have. Now I’ve since spoken with other moms and this varies from city to city so nearer to you, classes could be a lot more affordable. But I felt like I was back to square one – what on earth do I do now. That’s when I discovered The Positive Birth Company – which sell an online course for £35 with 43 videos, a course booklet and relaxation tracks to download. This has been the most amazing course to do at my own time in my own home.
I now watch all my hypnobirthing videos in the bath, with the lights off and lots of candles, lavender essential oil on a face towel that I can smell to keep me relaxed and with purple towels around. Now, I know I sound mad haha but these “Spiritual baths” mean I’m associating specific items and scents with remaining calm and as I learn breathing techniques or understanding my full rights during birth whilst in the bath, this association will continue through to my water birth. One of the first things I learnt in hypnobirthing is to think of something for each sense that you enjoy and then incorporate that into your birth; so for me sight is a dark candle lit room (battery powered candles for the birth), sound is the calming hypnobirthing spa-like music that relaxes me, smell is lavender essential oils which have been a huge craving whilst also relaxing me, touch is warm still water around me and freshly washed towels and taste will probably be chocolate haha. But by covering all these senses, using them during my hypnobirthing practice and bringing my favourite home comforts to our birth, it’s making the birth feel more like a mini spa break where I bring home a baby at the end of it haha. Now the best way to really feel comfortable is a home birth in my opinion but for our first baby, we’ve decided a water birth in a birth centre is the closest we can get and will do everything we can to make that room super relaxed and comfortable. Because by remaining so relaxed you’re not panicking and therefore allowing your birthing muscles to aide you during birth as they’re not tense, this just becomes a positive cycle which hopefully should lead to you meeting your baby sooner with fewer interventions!
But there is no right or wrong way of going about birth; if it’s an elective caesarean or a home birth that you pick, it is all about you and your baby but this is what these positive birth books (especially The Positive Birth Book) cover. So even if due to medical reasons you know you’ll be having a planned C section – these books will allow you to learn every single right (because there’s a lot) you have even during a caesarean and in my opinion, that’s well worth learning.
I really hope this has been insightful and even helpful to any moms-to-be that are nervous about labour, and given you some ideas on how to feel more positive for the experience!
I’d love to hear more about how you prepared or are preparing for birth too,