Updated: Jan 7
Birth unfolds differently for everyone. Every. Single. Time.
In preparing for the birth of your new baby, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle of opinions and advice that seem to be handed to you without you even asking. The truth is, we all just want to do what is best for our baby and that looks different for everyone! We have to step into the great unknown of our individual journey and find our own path. Here are 5 secrets to clearing your path to an empowering birth experience - No Matter What That May Look Like.
Know your stuff! The more evidence-based information you have, the more likely you'll be able to make informed decisions about your and your baby’s health during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum time. Knowledge is power! Being able to make your own decisions in a way that considers the risks and benefits of procedures and interventions puts the feeling of empowerment back in your hands. This is your body, your baby, and your birth- take in as much information as you can.
Ways to Gain Knowledge
Take a Childbirth Education Class
Hire a Knowledgeable Doula
Visit the Evidence Based Birth Website
Have Open Conversations with Your Care Provider
Practice the BRAIN Acronym
Women who feel supported during birth often cope better and overall have a more positive birth experience. Not everyone you know will support your birth preferences and that is okay. Draw close to the ones who do and put up boundaries for those who don’t. It’s (unfortunately) common in our society to hear birth horror stories instead of positive and uplifting stories. Creating a support system that is filled with those who support your decisions and believe in your abilities, helps shield you from unnecessary fears and doubts. The same can be said with your care provider. If you do not feel listened to, supported, or comfortable with your care provider it is your right to change providers.
Ways to Build Your Support System
Make a List of Friends and Family Members You Know Believe in You
Connect with Other Expecting Moms in Your Area Who Have Similar Birth Preferences
Talk to Your Partner Often About What Support You Need from Them
Hire a Doula You Connect With and 100% Vibe With
Related Post: 7 Awe-Inspiring Stages of Labor
3. Be Active
Not only is staying active (in most cases) healthy for both mom and baby, it helps increase natural pain-relieving hormones called endorphins, aids in getting the baby into a good position for birth, and it assists in maintaining your endurance levels during pregnancy. Staying active during pregnancy has also been linked to shortened labor times and shorter postpartum recovery times! The stronger you are, the more powerful you are. What's more empowering than that? It’s always important to talk to your care provider before starting any new exercises, and it's just as important to listen to your body’s response to new activities. Find what works for you!
Ways to Stay Active During Pregnancy
Listen to your intuition and trust your gut feelings. More and more scientific evidence is proving intuition to be a powerful and empowering source of information for everyone, but for women, this is especially true. Follow your gut instincts when they speak, whether it be about choosing a care provider, hiring a doula, choosing your birth preferences, and so on. You know what is best for you and your baby. Turning inward and listening to what your body is saying will also help guide you along your birth journey. Trusting yourself is one of the single most potent steps in having an empowering birth!
Ways to Listen to Your Intuition
Daily Silence or Meditation to Quiet Out the World’s Opinions
Take Time Alone Before Making Major Decisions
Follow Your Heart
Talk it Out with Someone Who Just Listens and Doesn’t Insert Their Beliefs
And begin to let go. Let go of some of your own expectations, unrealistic standards of society, the horror stories about childbirth you may have been told your whole life, an exact due date, acting a certain way in labor… the list can go on and on. A frequent topic you may find in gathering your childbirth knowledge is surrender. Sometimes we hold on to ideas, beliefs, and expectations that no longer serve us and the best thing we can do is release them. Physically and mentally letting go plays a significant role in birth because stepping into the unknown takes a lot of courage, trust, and letting go of circumstances outside of your control.
Ways to Relax and Let Go
Write Down Fears, Worries, and Concerns & Intentionally Release Them by Burning or Ripping Them
Write Your Own Encouraging Reminders Such As “I trust things will unfold in their own time and in the way they are meant to” and Display Them to View Often
Spend Time in Nature
Make a List of Things That Relax You on A Daily Basis and Put Them Into Action
Talk to Your Doula About Ways to Let Go
Have a Traditional Blessingway Ceremony
I will leave you with this quote by Karl Menninger
“I think one of the best things we could do would be to help women/parents/families discover their own birth power, from within themselves. And to let them know it’s always been there, they just needed to tap into it.”