Last week I met a woman who told me how she’d had really POSITIVE births with all 3 children. She was 65 and came from an era where many people around were not having such great experiences.
Many women from this era did not know how to prepare. It wasn’t considered important. Drugs were given without informed consent. Some were given enemas or routinely shaved and a host of other routine interventions all considered necessary at the time. We know now that many of these were not necessary and simply served to disturb the birthing process and make it harder for women. It’s no wonder they were having a hard time.
So what was the difference in her story and why was it so positive?
Being a Hypnobirthing teacher and a doula, I’m always interested in how people prepare for their birth experiences. It struck me how many similarities there were between her birth story and many of my ‘KG Hypnobirthing” clients. She really was the “Hypnobirthing Mum” of her day. I have her permission to share her story. I hope it brings you some insight in how to create your own positive experience.
1. Positive role models
She said had a wonderful mother-in-law and an auntie who themselves had really positive experiences. They shared their positive stories with her and told her she could do it too. She trusted them, believed she could and had no reason to believe otherwise.
This struck a chord with me because I had similar experience. I remember meeting a woman with a newborn at a music festival when I was 5 months pregnant. Being pregnant at a music festival was a ‘different’ kind of experience but that’s another story!
I’d been contemplating planning a home birth since my midwife had suggested it at my first appointment and seemed quite positive about the benefits. But I’d never met anyone who’d had a home birth. My mum certainly hadn’t had one. She had wanted ‘not to feel anything’ and was happy to accept all the drugs on offer which always interests me because she’s very against recreational drugs.
But this woman told me how she had birthed her first baby at home . She told me how amazing it was. She didn’t have to go anywhere. The midwives had come to her. She listened to her body. Breathed and moved as it told her and had found the experience incredibly positive. She said it was really hard work but that I could do it too! She gave me that look; that knowing look. Like “Yeah you can do it.”
You Can Do It!
Positive birth stories come in all different forms. There are positive hospital births, positive home births and even positive caesarians. The key, I think, is being informed, knowing you made the best decisions for you and being in control of what happens to you.
If you would like to hear some positive stories, there are many stories online. You could check out the Positive Birth Movement and either find a Positive Birth Group near you or join an online forum in a fear free environment. I found these groups invaluable in the run up to my own babies births.
You could also get yourself a birth buddy at tellmeagoodbirthstory.com.
Her mother in law gave her a book by Grantly Dick-Read (1890-1959). He has been called the Godfather of Natural Birth. He was a British Obstetrician working in London at a time when childbirth was becoming increasingly medicalised. Working in this environment, he had seen many women give birth lying on their backs in hospitals in great pain and considered this a normal part of birth.
This was until he was called out to a poor part of town to a women who was giving birth at home in a ‘hovel’. He witnessed how she simply squatted down and birthed her baby without seeming to be in distress. This was a revelation to Dr Dick-Read!
He asked her if it hurt. ‘No Dr,’ she replied. ‘Was it meant to?’
He concluded that she did not feel pain because she had no fear of birth. Subsequently, he devoted his study to women who gave birth and did not feel significant pain and concluded that fear was the main catalyst to pain. The women he studied had no fear of birth. They simply allowed their bodies to get on with it. Their birth attendants had no fear of birth. Thus, they were “allowed” to get on with what their bodies needed to do.
Dick-Reads’s seminal book ‘Childbirth Without Fear’ published in 1942 talked of the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle. The more pain we have, the more we are tense and our muscles are tense and the more it hurts. When we release that fear or have no fear in the first place, then we are more relaxed and the sensations we feel become manageable.
3. Support From Her Husband
Her husband was on the same page as her. He wanted what she wanted so there were no battles to be had. Her husband also saw birth as a natural process. He knew what she needed to keep her calm. She was tuned into him and in doing so the midwives instinctively sat back. They didn’t need to tell her what to do or give her advice. Her body was already doing it. They trusted her. He knew what he needed to do to keep her calm.
If you would like to know more about how your birth partner can support you in a better way, signup for Freemium membership of the Birthing4Blokes course. the full course is worth £97 and I’m giving it away for free in the month of July 2017 with my Hypnobirthing courses.
4. Preparation and Vision
She believed in the power of prayer and had a strong vision of what she wanted to happen. In pregnancy, she would regularly sit in silent meditation with a focus on what she wanted to happen.
I thank her for allowing me to tell this story in the hope it will help others to create their own positive birth stories.
If you would like to study KG Hypnobirthing with me, my next course starts in Flixton, Manchester July 22/23rd and I have ONE space starting next week for a private KG Hypnobirthing client. Get in touch for more details or to book your space.