I’ve recently had people ask me to give the 5 steps or things one should do to prepare for a satisfying birth experience. So, here they are – my opinion:
1. Read POSITIVE birth stories. When reading a birth story pay close attention to what you are feeling. Does any part of the birth story scare you? What questions does the birth story leave you asking? Does it sound like a fairy tale? If it scares you, WHAT scares you? Write down any questions you have. Why does it sound like a fairy tale?
It’s important to know that birth is safe. Historically, it’s safe to say, there has never been enough midwives on the planet to care for every pregnant and birthing woman in the world. This is fact and therefore proof that birth was designed to be safe. Being safe does not mean that it is without it’s challenges but those challenges are few when you understand that birth is safe. Write down your fears and then research them. Are your fears based on what the medical model of maternity care has turned birth into? If so, open your mind and dig deeper than the information found on medical websites.
2. Educate Yourself! Don’t expect your care provider to educate you about the birth process. What you will learn will be birth as that care providers sees it. If the care provider does not trust birth, you will receive a very scary description of birth. As someone who has given birth at home and in the hospital; with medication and without, please know that I can tell you that birth is nothing to be afraid of when it is understood as a physiological event that the female body was specifically designed for – birth is a woman’s purpose in life.
I highly recommend avoiding the hospital based childbirth classes. They are not comprehensive if they are less than 16 hours. They will teach you what that hospital wants you to know. They will teach you how to give birth as they dictate NOT as your body will dictate. Instead, choose a comprehensive childbirth class that is at least 16 hours long and taught by a truly independent childbirth educator. Your chosen childbirth educator should not only spend time teaching but encourage you to spend time researching and discovering for yourself.
3. Turn within and discover what you want your birth experience to be. It is vitally important, in my opinion, for each expectant woman to create for herself the birth experience that SHE wants. This is HER event. She plans it to fit her unique situation by choosing the care provider that SHE feels comfortable with and if she decides that she only wants her lover present – so be it because that is HER choice to make. Women must give birth where THEY want to give birth.
Women should also give birth those SHE wants present. More and more women are seeking a birth that she has complete control over. This is absolutely as it should be – after all, it’s her body! If she doesn’t want to be touched, don’t touch her! If she wants the room dark, it should be dark. If she wants to be the first to touch her baby, empower her to do so. She should not be seeking anyone’s permission to give birth as her body dictates. Instead, everyone else should be seeking permission to support her.
4. Invite only the people you WANT at the birth. I cannot stress this one enough. If there is someone forcing their way into your birth experience and you do not want them there, tell them “NO!” This is your experience and you have the right to say who will be present and who will not be present. If you allow someone to be present that you do not want to be present they will adversely effect your birth experience. There is nothing wrong with wanting only your lover present.
I also recommend that no one be told about the arrival of the baby for 2 weeks. I make this suggestion because people mean well but they find it difficult to stay away when a family needs time to bond with one another.
5. Only share the estimated birth month with friends and family. This will reduce a lot of stress and anxiety. Your friends and family might not like it when you tell them the baby is due in June rather than giving them an actually estimated due date like, June 15th, BUT telling them June keeps them from pressuring you and asking, “Is the baby here yet?” Believe me this WILL happen and some will ask daily, which will just add to your stress and anxiety; neither of which brings babies into the world any faster.
Well there it is….my humble opinion. What would you add or change?