When your first birth was terrifying, how do you go from never wanting to give birth again to saying yes to another baby?
After a traumatic first birth, Amy was left with significant fear of birth, of being unsupported, and of the hospital where she gave birth. She was adamant she’d never birth again. Eventually, after divorce and finding a lovely new man, she realised she wanted another baby. During her pregnancy she consciously prepared herself for an improved birth experience. I skyped with Amy as she sat on a gorgeous Australian beach. If you can handle the breezy sounds and occasional passing helicopter, you will love her story as much as I did.
What can you learn from Amy? You’ll probably gain your own insights as you watch and listen, but here are a few things I picked up:
Calm birth (and other variations of HypnoBirthing) are not necessarily for everyone. If you’re a noisy, talkative person who is not relaxed by silence, this model may not support you. Perhaps you’ll be better off swaying on a birth ball, rapping along to hip-hop music, like Amy did in her second, noisier, birth.
Choose people you trust to be with you on your birthing day. Ask yourself: “Will this person listen to me and do what I ask?”
Having a doula is a great move if you want a supportive presence, who will stay with you and advocate for you through the whole birth, including interventions and transferring to another birth place. Amy said her doula was like her watch dog, and helped her feel emotionally safe.
Read positive, empowering birth stories during pregnancy and right before birth.
It’s not the length of your birth, it’s how you feel.
A big baby does not necessarily mean a long, hard labour.
If you like to be informed, educate yourself about birth; Places, providers and options.
If I had to imagine my perfect anaesthetist to administer an epidural, I would choose Dr Robin Youngson. Too often I hear stories about women in labour being treated like patients, not people; being ‘talked over’ by care-providers and not given the respect they deserve. All it takes is a few minutes to help a birthing mother feel more emotionally safe. Robin makes this his priority, with amazing results.
Watch this video if you want to know what makes epidurals and c-sections the best they can be.
Watch this video if you want to know how to stay in control of your birth, when it includes surgery or intervention.
Watch this birth if you want to be wiser about choosing your care provider for birth.
You get the message… just watch this video!
Years ago I found an article in a magazine about Robin. I was inspired about how his commitment to compassionate care in hospital changed lives. Dr Robin Youngson has worked with thousands of birthing mothers, as an anaesthetic specialist. He makes to time to connect with mothers, from the heart, before getting into the clinical business. I hope all care providers take his message to heart, and make emotional wellbeing as well as clinical outcomes a priority.
Share the message my friends. What was the one big takeaway for you from this interview? Go on, make a comment… I love to chat!
It makes sense that stories and media can increase anxiety about birth. But let’s go deeper. What if your own birth experience affects how you perceive birth and give birth?
Stop for a moment. The last thing I want is for you to add one more thing (‘Heal my own birth experience’) to your list before baby comes. Instead, merely be curious as you watch this interview with the legendary Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova. You will also definitely want to watch this, if giving birth previously was hard for you or your baby.
Elena’s work reveals that it’s never too late for a good birth. It’s great news! Everyone has the capacity to ‘go back in time’ and resolve stuck emotions. And it’s surprisingly easy; I know this from my own journey, and from working with my own clients. They are amazed how quickly the weight lifts from their shoulders (and hearts).
Memory is surprisingly malleable. Given the opportunity, deeply stored feeling-memories associated with early life events can be rewritten. If you have never experienced this sort of therapeutic work before, it might sound like mumbo jumbo. That’s ok. There is no pressure to leap in.
But, if you have deep-seated unhelpful and irrational behaviours, habits or fears that hold you back from living fully, or if you know your own birth was a bit of a nightmare, it could be worth exploring with a quality therapist.
PS Two questions: I would love to know what you think about ones own birth trauma impacting birth (and life). And what did your mother tell you about your own birth? Please share with kindness. Your words of wisdom are meaningful to me and countless mamas.