Our resident fit mummas insights into prepping for the arrival of baby! (Part 1)
Posted on 23 May 2016
‘There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that childbirth is painful, it’s that women are strong.’
Our society these days, is such that the first birth we attend in most cases is our own. The sights and sounds are unfamiliar, and we really have no idea how we as women are going to cope with that amount of pain, until we are in the thick of it. It can be confronting and scary for birthing mums, and for partners as well. I feel so fortunate to have had 2 babies, delivered naturally (as per my wishes), by midwives without medical intervention. For this to happen, a number of things need to fall into place for Mum and Bub.
I spent a couple of weeks before the birth of my first baby reading books on labour and birthing skills. I had planned to spend the last 4-6 weeks doing this, but he decided to come 4 weeks early, so my chance to read up was cut short. One particular book that really stood out for me was ‘Birthing Skills’ by Juju Sundin (physiotherapist).
There was great information in there about why we get pain during labor, and how to think about that in a positive light. Pain is the uterus contracting which is essential for your baby to travel down the birth canal, so every contraction brings you closer to meeting your bub. That’s pretty great!
There was great information on active labor, and how we use those active strategies to cope with pain. I really thought I’d be one of these ladies! I’m a bit of a fitness junkie, and like to keep active, so in my mind this was going to be me. How wrong was I!
Then there came the vocalization chapter! I read this information with a fair amount of skepticism. I know things can get crazy in delivery rooms, but I was sure to be able to keep a lid on things. Right? WRONG! I really thought that was all a bit outlandish, and I would not be doing those ‘things’ in front of Ryan and the midwives. Turns out, I have spent both of my labors sitting on a fitball, making a whole lotta noise!
So while I didn’t get my planned amount of research into natural birthing done, I was SO glad I’d done this little amount of reading. I would have naturally have ended up doing the same thing during birth, using vocalization was just the way I happened to cope with pain. The voice is a very powerful tool! But the reading of first hand stories and other research gave me a frame of context to put my experience and birth in. It gave me the confidence I needed to sing it. LOUD!
Having support people/persons is a personal choice. You want to know you can count on the people around you. Make sure they are aware of your birth plan and preferences prior to the event.
I’m so thankful to have had Ryan by my side for both labours and births. I don’t need him to do anything during the actual labour, I just need to know he’s there. I don’t like to be touched, I don’t want my back rubbed, I don’t need constant reassurance, I don’t need to be coached. I just need to be allowed to go into my zone peacefully, and to ride that wave. I need my biggest fan to be by my side sending me all of the love and strength in the world (and playing the right music!). Consider who may fit this bill for you carefully. Obviously you will need to have NO INHIBITIONS what so ever in front of this person/people, and you will want your views on birthing to align.
READ AND ASK
Spend the time preparing and connecting with yourself. If you are wanting a natural birth, then you need to plan for it. Do your research. Read, read and read some more! As I said, I loved the Birthing Skills book by Juju Sundin, and there are many others available too. The ‘Friends of the Birth Centre’ (Brisbane) facebook page has many great links to articles on preparing for a natural birth. If you have friends who have delivered naturally, then ask questions. A lot of women are very open to talking about it (Lordy knows we all need to debrief on that shit), so ASK. Get the nitty gritty, and prepare yourself for something pretty tribal and primitive to occur! It’s about as animalistic and crazy as can be, but it’s also the most intensely wonderful, personal and joyful experience one could ever imagine!
PREPARATION IS NEVER WASTED
If you are planning and hoping for a natural birth, but things don’t go according to plan, this preparation is not all wasted. I believe this preparation strengthens the mind/body connection immensely, and we really need this to be solid as we open ourselves up to connecting with our bub as well as letting go of what we had hoped for. Conceiving a baby, carrying a baby, birthing a baby (however it happens), and then caring for a newborn are incredible tasks, physically, mentally and emotionally. So the more we connect with ourselves prior, the better off we’ll be however it goes down! It also takes IMMENSE strength to recover from a C section, or forceps or other assisted delivery, so no amount of research or soul searching is ever wasted!
Part 2 available - Tuesday 7pm.