This might seem like an odd question, but it’s one worth thinking about.
What do you want from your birth?
Some have a very straightforward aim for childbirth: to make it out the other side with a healthy baby.
But what if you want more than that?
What if you want a positive birth experience?
In other words, you want an experience that you will look back on positively. Some women don’t even think this is on the table as an option.
I remember when I first found out I was pregnant, I had no idea that birth could be a positive experience. I didn’t even want it to be an ‘experience’. I was so scared of it, I would have been happy to have been knocked out for the whole thing and woken up at the end with a baby in my arms. I literally had no idea!
I think a lot of women are like this – maybe not as extreme as me wanting to be knocked out the whole time – but in thinking that it’s something to be survived, rather than experienced.
So the idea of birth actually being a positive experience was a HUGE leap for me back then. I’ve come a long way since then, obvs!
What does ‘positive’ mean, anyway?
Just because you can look back on an experience as a positive one, doesn’t mean it was positive the whole way through. When I think back to some of the highlights in my life – like trekking up the mountains in Pakistan – they weren’t joyous from start to finish. They had tough bits. A few tearful bits. Some hugely challenging bits. And then some!
For me, the positive feeling comes from me having overcome the challenges and still have a smile on my face at the end. So now when I look back, I remember the good bits, gloss over the tough bits and think of the whole thing as a hugely positive experience. Birth can be the same.
This doesn’t mean that your birth might not have its ups and downs, of course it can. The important thing is that on the whole, you want to be able to look back on your birth and think – “Yes. That was great!”
More importantly, when you get reminded every year on your kid’s birthday, you want to have positive memories, and not memories that will eat you up inside.
Do you want an experience that will bring you and your partner closer together?
We could assume that all birth experiences are going to do this, but that would be foolish and naive.
Some birth experiences come between a couple. However, it doesn’t have to be a difficult or traumatic experience for that to happen.
It could be that the way your partner behaves (or doesn’t) during the birth upsets you. This could be something that you find it really hard to let go or move on from. It could be as simple as that.
Or it could be that a difficult birth holds tricky memories for both of you to deal with and be reminded of on every kiddy birthday.
Or it could be the complete opposite. Where you unite together as a team and come out stronger than ever.
What if you want birth to be a positive experience for you AND your baby?
It’s not just you having a big day, your baby is having a big day too; they’re coming earthside! Unfortunately many babies experience their own birth as traumatic. That doesn’t mean the mother did, it’s just how the baby experienced it.
Birth trauma (of our own birth) can show up in our adult lives in lots of ways that are difficult to predict. In my work with women with tokophobia, many of the women discover that it’s the trauma of their own birth that’s at the root of their tokophobia.
If you’re interested in finding out out more about how babies experience birth, listen to these two podcast episodes
They are essential listening if you want to find out more about what it takes to create a positive birth experience for your baby.
But let’s get back to you. What if you want it to be MORE than just an overall positive experience?
Do you want an experience that you will remember with fondness and joy?
Earlier I talked about you being able to remember your experience positively. If your birth had some ups and downs, it’s quite possible that are bits about your birth that you’d rather forget. Maybe the way the hospital staff treated you, or perhaps you agreed to something you wish you hadn’t. Or maybe you wish you’d spoken up about something and didn’t (because you didn’t know you could).
Any of these instances could tarnish your positive birth experience and give you niggles that over time could build up into emotional toxic yukkiness. Nobody wants that.
So, what if you don’t want any of those things? Instead you’d prefer it was more like this …
… You remember how lovely all the staff were
You shared with them your expectations of your birth and they were really understanding and supportive. You felt like they cared.
… You had thought things through in advance
You prepped and had answers ready to any questions or decisions that cropped up. And you felt REALLY good about that.
… Your partner knew what you wanted
They made sure that the care providers knew your wishes and intentions. You felt looked after and loved.
… You knew your rights
And when something came up that you weren’t sure about, you questioned them and, together with your partner, you made sure that the decision rested with you. You felt in control and supported by your partner.
Imagine how different that experience would feel?
And, how would that experience make you feel TODAY?
It might make you realise just how strong and resilient you really are.
Knowing you were able to dig deep and carry yourself through, could give you an unshakable level of strength and confidence.
Birth as a bringer of confidence and empowerment
The confidence from your birth could spill into other areas of your life.
Motherhood for starters.
We hear many parents say that parenting is the hardest thing ever. Imagine heading straight into that after a birth experience that’s drained you emotionally. No wonder so many people struggle with parenting. Their emotional resilience reserves are depleted and they have nothing to give.
But it could be different.
Instead of tentatively stepping into the biggest challenge of your life on the back foot, you could be jumping in feet first powered by the strength and confidence of your birth.
You might even decide to tap into this confidence and inherent creativity that birth is and start a new venture in your life – a new business or project maybe?
You could be unstoppable!
Why not demand a birth that will empower you?
I wonder how many approach birth wanting it to be an experience that will show them just how strong and powerful a human being they really are.
Why aren’t ALL women working towards that?
Are we afraid we won’t be able to pull it off?
Sadly the narrative around birth doesn’t exactly help on this front.
We hear how birth is the most painful experience you can ever live through.
We are told not to expect too much… in case our delicate little beings can’t cope with not getting it…. as if we’re toddlers.
It’s implied that birth isn’t our experience to own. Instead we have to fight to take control of it.
In many countries, the birthing system doesn’t want to give us the power that is ours to start with. Many women are duped into thinking that birth is passive and that they just have to put up and shut up. They are told that they’re not allowed to do otherwise. Not allowed? NOT ALLOWED???
Seriously? We need to press reset.
Birth is our moment
It’s our body and they’re our babies
If we want a fabulous birth that infuses us with unshakable confidence and inner power, why can’t we have that?
So what if we miss and ‘only’ get the “fucking brilliant birth that fills me with oxytocin bubbly joy every time I think about it” birth.. well, that’s cool.
We can live with that.
We can even live with the “bumpy birth experience that I still feel brilliant about” birth.
And what if the shizzle really hits the fan on the day and it’s a shitstorm of a birth?
We can recover from that too.
Because we are strong.
So back to my first question to you: what kind of birth do you want?
Think carefully about your answer, and don’t play small.
Don’t settle for less.
You know in your heart of hearts what you really want. Don’t be afraid to go for it.
Let’s press reset together.
Let’s make birth fabulous for all of us.
If you want to prepare for a fabulous birth.. you know the kind where you come out the other end feeling confident, empowered and ready to take on the world.. yeah one of those births! Well let me help you with my online Birth Prep Classes. They are just the right mix of practical prep with emotional resilience training so that you feel fearlessly fabulous heading into your birth.
- How partners can support women during pregnancy & birth, with Souvereign - 22nd August 2022
- Scared of birth? Fear is not the only problem. - 1st December 2021
- How to clear your fears yourself - 28th May 2021