Knowing you are about to give birth can be scary and daunting, especially if it’s your first time.
You can’t possibly know or predict how it’s all going to unfold and how your baby is going to meet you. But what you can do is approach it with a positive mindset; approaching your birth optimistically and focusing on the good in any given situation that arrives.
- Knowledge is power! I cannot express this enough. I don’t mean swat up so much that you challenge your doctor to a medical debate. But it is so very helpful to know what all the birth options are, and how they work. Even ones you have no intention of using, because you never know what might happen.
- Communicate with your birthing partner before the baby comes. Talk to them. Talk to them about what scares you, which bit scares you the most and why, what you would like to happen, what you would like them to do and what support you want them to give you. And most importantly, make sure they know what to do if things get tough. They are your eyes and ears, your advocate. You will be busy doing something awesome and powerful, you may not be able to think things through as you normally would.
- Choose your content wisely. By this I mean think about what information you want to be reading, watching and hearing during your pregnancy. Social media is a gift and curse all at the same time. Think about how helpful and informative what you are reading/watching is? Does it help you feel empowered or anxious and scared? This goes for listening to every Tracy, Davina and Harriet’s story about their ‘terrible birth’ too. Your baby’s birth will be different to their story.
- Think about what you want. We cannot always control everything that happens during birth. You may opt for a home birth and end up in surgery having an episiotomy and forceps delivery. But you always have some choices left. Positions you want to labour in, music you want to hear, things you want your partner to do and say and also (as long as it’s safe for baby) skin to skin contact when they are born. Make a list of these, and feel safe, that no matter where you are and how birth is happening, you have your list of ‘must haves’ with you.
- Practice, practice, practice. That last few months of pregnancy is the time to start thinking about your birth options. Whatever you choose, run through it all with your partner. Practice the breaths you have been doing in yoga, or hypnobirthing classes. Practice your positions and what feels good. Practice how your partner rubs/massages you. So when it comes to the big day, you know what or are doing and you are ready to go.
A positive birthing mindset doesn’t mean you have to be happy and smiling throughout.
It’s ok to feel scared or upset that your birth plan got flung out the window on the way to hospital. It’s saying to yourself, even in the face of change and adversity, “I still have power and I still have choices and options”.
You can do this warrior woman. You really can. You are powerful, bold and brave.