As always when my children go through major life changes, I look back at the day they were born and wonder where have all those years gone? My middle son started secondary school last week and, as I said goodbye to my boy in his smart uniform, I recalled my labour nearly 12 years ago.
The memory of that day which was the most vivid in my mind was something a midwife said as I was walking up and down the labour ward corridors, hoping that movement and gravity would do their job and help bring my baby closer. She pointed at me and said to a colleague: “This lady has still ages to go, she is still smiling”. This passing comment was innocent but it makes me wonder why labouring women are always expected to be distressed. The notion that labour and childbirth should be an unpleasant event to be approached with dread is reinforced by the media and is absorbed by generations of women who have forgotten that birth can be a natural and beautiful experience. Call it naivety or pure madness but I was never afraid of childbirth. I shielded myself from all the horror stories well intentioned friends tried to share with me. Instead I concentrated on the end goal and the excitement of greeting my new baby. So I remained smiling throughout my labour, proud of myself for allowing my body to do what it was designed to do and excited about our family getting bigger.
Although it may seem challenging, there are many ways women can approach their labour smiling and confident.
- Believe in your instincts.
Trusting your ability to birth your baby is a great step towards achieving the birth you want. Think about all the qualities you possess which you can rely on in your labour. Being stubborn, determined, calm, grounded etc. can be great qualities in labour.
- Surround yourself with people who believe you can do it.
Having the right people supporting you is essential. You want to bask in a glow of positive thoughts from the people surrounding you. A doula is a great way to achieve this as we know women’s strengths and believe in a mother’s innate ability to give birth
- Read positive and inspiring birth stories
Although there are lots of scary tales of birth in the media, many people are keen to share positive stories. Some websites can be very reassuring and even inspiring.
For some positive birth stories try http://www.positivebirthstories.com/