This is a post in my series on owning your birth.  It is my strong belief that your birth experience profoundly impacts your early days with your new child. The way you feel while birthing your baby can inform how you feel about yourself as a person, mother, and partner. If you feel respected, strong, and supported during pregnancy, labor and delivery, you will improve your chances of beginning your mothering journey with confidence and hope. If you feel disrespected, controlled, or unheard during pregnancy, labor and delivery, you may enter your mothering journey with fear and sadness.

Birth is normal and breathtakingly beautiful. But it is also mysterious and unknown, sometimes overwhelming and scary. With any labor and delivery, you can have an experience that is woman- and mother-centered. Feeling respected and heard, and experiencing your own strength and power during birth, comes down to owning the experience, even in its uncertainty. And often still, things won’t go as you expected. If you are surprised, overwhelmed, or sad about your birth experience, you will be better able to confront it and work through it if you feel prepared, strong, and confident enough to reach out for support.

You cannot plan your birth. Birth will takes its own course and we do best when we can let birth happen. But birth can happen best when we are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at our best. In this series, I’ll share ideas about what you can do to own your birth experience.

Own Your Birth: Part 4 of 24

Choose your team

If you read my last post, hopefully you took some time to dream about your wishes for your birth. How do you hope to feel while giving birth? I asked a few friends and past clients to share some reflections on how members of their birth team affected their birth experience.

“My husband was even more supportive than I could have ever imagined. He was by my side reassuring me the entire time. We took Bradley Birth classes together which I believe gave him the knowledge and confidence to help me through my labor.”

“I had two nurses during my labor and delivery who I considered very supportive. They did a wonderful job of communicating with the doctors on my behalf and were great at giving me my space when I needed it or recommending different positions when I just couldn’t get comfortable. I felt heard the whole time.”

“My doula was so supportive throughout my labor. She quickly became my rock, providing me simultaneous comfort and strength. With her, I felt confident about laboring according to my body. My voice was heard, whether I was feeling frustrated, tired or beyond powerful. I was so grateful to have her by my side.”

“My doula was an incredible resource. When I was in labor, she completely followed my lead and gently talked me through each contraction. She made things feel so manageable! She also set up my birth space so wonderfully. Even though I was in a hospital setting, I got to enjoy a dark, calm room filled with music and motivation.”

“My husband is my rock, I feel like I can do anything when I have him by my side. When I think of all of our babies’ births I still feel confident that he was the right person to support me, no question.”

Own your Birth (2)A friend who is currently planning for her 2nd birth was reflecting on her first birth experience being wildly different than she had planned.  She shared this: “What has changed in the 5 years since my first pregnancy?  I cannot begin to even go into it all. But, one of the biggest pieces that is different is the time, energy and effort I have put into very carefully selecting my birth team this time.  I can’t say enough about this team that I have carefully selected to support me in one of the biggest rites of passage of my life.”
Talk about approaching birth with confidence and joy!

If you’ve been following along with me in this series, you’ve already been thinking about carefully choosing your OB or midwife. Now it’s time to think hard about who else you’d like to include in your birth team, and who you might not want to include. Before starting this series, I wrote one of my favorite posts, Build your stellar birth team. Please take some time to read that and learn about the importance of choosing carefully who will be in your birthing space.

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