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!
If you happen to be a bigger woman, what are your chances of having a good birth experience, and feeling great about your body in the process? How can you be sure you will be respected on your journey to motherhood?
Who better to talk to that the vivacious and insightful Jen McLellan, founder of www.plusizebirth.com If you are in the curvier category and want to make the most of your pregnancy and birth, and if you want to celebrate your growing pregnant body more, or if you are not plus-sized but you want to address your own (unconscious?) prejudices, you will love todays chat.
We all want and need to feel honoured and respected when we are pregnant. For most women, becoming pregnant is exciting, but it can be a vulnerable time when you confront all sorts of unknowns. For a plus-sized woman, pregnancy can be a time of confronting huge prejudice. Just because a woman happens to be ‘bigger’, she is often treated differently or less compassionately, and birth procedures are recommended, in an inappropriate ‘one-size-fits -all’ approach.
Without realising, medical staff and care-providers can make biased statements that hurt and traumatize, especially when you are out of your comfort zone and already feeling nervous or sensitive (and let’s face it, most of us do feel a little less powerful in a hospital or doctors room). Insensitive statements can undermine a birthing mothers confidence, affect her experience, and create memories and insecurities that stick. This is terribly sad and completely unacceptable.
So what can a plus-sized mama do to have a good birth?
In this interview Jen shares her top 3 tips (and a few other great ideas) for optimising your chances of having a happy birth memory.
Find a compassionate plus-size friendly care provider
Whether you are small, big, or in-between, and however you intend to birth, pregnancy is a time to empower yourself and make positive changes, for you and for your baby. It is a time to treat yourself right and to ask and expect to be treated right. So if you have a niggly feeling that the people around you are not unconditionally respectful and accepting of who you are, get new ones.
I was deeply moved in preparing for and during my chat with Jen. I recognised that even though I do my darndest to learn to be more loving towards myself and others, my ability to be truly accepting and compassionate is a work in progress. I realised that yes, when I watch movies, go online, read articles, do an image search, it appears that 99% of pregnant women women are ‘slim to average’ caucasian women. I hadn’t really questioned the size aspect of this, because I am in that ‘normalized’ group. And sadly, being in a more accepted or privileged group can come with a certain blindness.
Thank you Jen, for helping me see the bigger picture, for illuminating the suffering that some women experience, and for standing up and reminding us that every woman has a right to be treated with respect and dignity in pregnancy and birth. You are a fountain of compassion and wisdom, and the world of birth is a wwwwaaaayyyy better place with you in it. Here’s a snap of Jen and her gorgeous boys!
I am curious to hear how you responded to this chat. What is the one thing that stood out for you? Your thoughts are gold to me (and others), so share them below.
If you are pregnant and over 40, you become a ‘higher risk’ case. What if you have a dream of keeping things as normal as possible? How can you manage being in a ‘riskier’ category, and still head in the direction of a birth you wish?
This amazing story from Colette, who became pregnant at 42, will help you feel calm, positive and grounded about being a mature mama. And whatever your age, you will love this interview if you want to know how to feel excited and not scared of birth, and simultaneously willing to surrender to all possibilities of how birth will unfold.
Your capacity to balance the potential to birth positively and naturally, with the faith that you can surrender to whatever arises is a powerful combination.
This balancing point is one of the best spaces to be in when you give birth. I know for me, the moment I went deep inside and gave myself to the experience of birth, trusted in something bigger than myself, had faith in nature, and my body and fully surrendered, the opening just happened.
We try so hard to get things right. I meet many women desperate to achieve a natural birth, as if it is a goal we can achieve by trying hard. With the best of intentions, we over-achieving list-making modern women sometimes approach birth as something to be good at and get right. This will only take us so far. Somehow we have to stop trying and start trusting. This is not something you can make happen, more something you give into. It is a feeling, not just a mental release of ‘over-efforting’, but also a physical letting go.
So educate yourself and make kind conscious choices about how you wish to give birth. But above all, contemplate and make quiet space to cultivate trust and faith in something beyond your ‘trying’ self. This may be in God, nature, your mammalian birthing body, the power of women who have birthed before…whatever works to give yourself over to something bigger.
Tell me: What will you have, or have you had, faith in during birth, beyond your thinking trying self? I am curious to hear your response, and I know thousands of women will value your thoughts on surrender, trust and faith in childbirth.
May you be happy and well in birth and in life,
PS How can life look when you have a baby over 40? Check out these gorgeous snaps of Colette and her family:
What happens if you want a totally natural birth, and then a few weeks beforehand you find out that it just ain’t going to happen. For many reasons, women discover that ‘au natural’ is out and surgery is how their sweet baby is going to enter the world.
Some mothers are able to easily adjust their expectations and take the new plan in their stride, especially if the safety of their baby is truly at risk. But many women find it hard to transition to a birth plan that has taken birth dreams and thrown them out the window.
If you can relate to this scenario, or if you are interested in having an empowering surgical birth, or having an empowering birth full-stop, this interview is for you.
Hera’s story provides insight into when it is a time to ask tough questions, research, dig deeper and make change happen, and when it is time to stop trying so hard, to let go and be supported by a bigger process. This story is all about the balance between surrender and ownership in birth.
You may know ahead of time that your baby is going to get some medical help on it’s way into the world, or you may not. You may be certain that your baby will be born naturally. Wherever you sit, it is worth taking Hera’s advice: briefly contemplate the possibility that your baby may be born with medical assistance. Then whatever happens, you can prepare to respect and celebrate yourself and to have an awesome first meeting with your precious baby.
Perhaps you know someone, or you are that someone, who is attempting to make peace with a birth plan that isn’t the ‘dream birth’, for example, a breech, twin birth or induction. If so, sink your heart and mind into this transformative story and find your own way to a beautiful birth.
Hera’s story is one of my all-time favourite birth stories, (OK, I have a few!), because through it I learnt a lot about what makes a birth amazing.
Being respected, listened to, and being honoured in your requests all help you to own your birth fully. This is what makes the difference, however your babies are born.
Hera and babies
The whole family
The well-cured lotus-birth placenta
Now I would deeply appreciate hearing your response to this interview. Have you experienced a time in birth or daily life, when you have struggled to make something a certain way, and in the end it was easier to ‘let go and go with the flow’?
Tell us about your moment of letting go and how it helped you.
With warmest thoughts and best wishes to all the Mamas in the world birthing today,