|Breathing through a contraction with the help of my husband Nate and my doula Marcie.|
Birth doesn't have to suck! If you've ever been to a baby shower or let's face it, been around a group of women for more than an hour at a time, birth stories are told. I've tried, and I have to really strain to think of a single happy one told in my younger years. We tell them like horror stories. We list all the complications, the doctors' urgent advice, and the pain! Oh the pain! It cannot be adequately described! Your body is being ripped apart! Your husband is in the corner fainting! At the end of each of these stories, we smile down at our children and say, "But oh! It was so worth it to have you!" As they toddle away, we say again, "but the Paaaain!" After I gave birth to Bridger, I understood this. I was stuck in bed, thinking I had to be on the monitors. I slammed my head against the bed until I couldn't take it anymore and asked for an epidural. After that, I was determined to make my next one a better experience!
Another thought on the Horror Birth Story is that women who have had positive birth experiences do not want to make others feel inadequate so they don't share. I wish they would share! Surrounding myself with positive birth stories (in books and on blogs) was one of the best ways I prepped myself for Colden's birth.
All birth stories are valid. They are a part of you and your journey. A healthy mom and baby are what we want out of birth. But they are only a minimum requirement! Ladies, I am hear to tell you that your birth does not have to be a horror story. The Pain does not have to rule your birth. Neither does your doctor. YOU rule your birth. By allowing yourself to go into the Pain, by letting those strong feelings direct how to position yourself during birth, you can have a positive experience. It may not be ecstatic, but it does not have to be terrible. And it does not have to be at the risk of your or your baby's health. A happy birth can happen with an OB/GYN, it can happen in a hospital.
Simply by being free to walk around during labor and choose your birthing position, you can reduce the likelihood of interventions, complications and labor will be shorter. (Evidence for alternative pushing positions here and evidence for movement during labor here and here.)
This can be a beautiful experience that you think back onto with pleasure, rather than a time you had to endure. Childbirth is a pivotal moment in every woman's life. I want to help make that experience an empowering one! This leads me to my own journey as a doula. I'm so anxious to get going but while I'm breastfeeding Colden the next year, I am focusing on my doula education and certification as well as doing some shadowing. I love this work and can't wait to really get started! Right now I'm reading Your Best Birth and I find it to be a great starting point for those interested in learning more about having a happy birth experience!