I can now admit, that I was a much better parent before I had children. I knew exactly what needed to be done to birth and raise a healthy, well adjusted, brilliant and well mannered child. I was a Doula. and studying to become a Lamaze Educator. I attended Birthing from Within and Hypnobabies classes. I was planning a homebirth where I would bring my baby into this world in a warm tub by the light of the fireplace. It was going to be perfect.
Perfect is not a word that should be used to describe pregnancy and parenting plans. Nothing and no
one is perfect. The closest thing to perfection during my birthing time was my team. I had amazing Midwives, Doulas and husband who supported me with love and compassion that still makes me fall deeper in love with him at the thought. These women and my Partner, coupled with my education, is what made a very imperfect event empowering.
I developed preeclampsia at nearly 37 weeks and I was required to be hospitalized. I was fortunate in that I had attended many births and knew that flexibility is what can make or break a Mother psychologically. I viewed the hospital health care team as allies and I collaborated on my care plan. I felt empowered because I was informed. I was empowered because I was supported.
I made the hospital my home for the days that I labored. I had expected an induction to be binding, painful and terrifying, but the love around me created a safe environment where I never paid mind to the IVs and monitors. Later, upon viewing photos of myself in labor, I was surprised to see that for all intents and purposes I looked like a cascade of interventions, but it was so far from what I felt at the time.
My birth was beautiful and fierce. Though it wasn't what I had planned, it was healthy and holistic. I was tended to mind, body and soul. I advocated for myself, and when I exhausted, my husband stood in and protected my space and wishes. My Doula stood by me for the days I labored, my midwives spoke gently to me, and my girlfriends honored the sacred space and made me feel like a goddess. Every woman deserves to feel mighty in their birth- it more easily ushers the ferocity required of Motherhood.
I am passionate about childbirth guidance because I feel as though I'm an example of having a good birth in less than ideal circumstances. I didn't just go along for the ride because my path changed- I still steered the wheel with the help of my team. Knowing what one's choices are and how to advocate is essential in our birthing culture. Empowering the Partner to support the Mother is crucial.
From my own experiences and the births I have witnessed, I have learned a few things including:
- Find providers you trust. Know their back up providers and be sure that they align with your philosophy.
- Get educated about the entire perinatal period. This includes childbirth and breastfeeding classes. La Leche is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Motherhood while pregnant.
- Prepare for Parenthood. Birth is kinda like a wedding- many of us get wrapped up in the day only to be surprised that we should have had an understanding of the relationship... which will continue for a lifetime.
- Get a Doula. They do not take the place of a Partner, only enhance the experience. To find a Doula, click here.
- Find your Tribe. There is nothing more special than finding other New Mamas to laugh and cry with.
- Own Your Birth. If it causes pain or happiness postpartum, share it, process it and whatever feelings you have, know that it's okay and normal to have your opinions because it was your experience. Click here for resources