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 9 of 24
Remain Open to Change
I just had the honor to listen to a dear friend share her recent birth story with me. Her story was remarkable in many ways (aren’t all birth stories?), but what struck me as the most beautiful part was her ability to embrace changes to her original plan. She was faced with many challenges and decisions as she labored and she found the amazing strength to make some very necessary choices that she had originally hoped to avoid. And the best part is that, upon reflection, she knows that she was courageous, strong, and powerful in each of these moments and in her birth journey altogether.
Birth is unscripted and, logically, I think we know we can’t control the course it will take. However, most of us have a vision for how we hope to bring our babies into this world. And we also have an idea of things we really do not want to have happen during our labors and births. Sometimes, our general vision does play out during our birth experience. However, the details may vary from what we originally hoped. And sometimes birth takes an entirely different course than planned. Our ability to embrace these changes when we need to can be so empowering. If we close ourselves off to changing our course when it becomes clear that a change needs to happen, we can become our own biggest hurdle. We may wrestle with these decisions during labor and take time to commit, but that’s OK. That’s when you know you’ve made an informed and thoughtful decision.
You are strong, no matter how you birth your baby. The truth is, our ultimate strength as mothers lies in our ability to create and give new life. You are strong if your birth goes mostly according to plan. And you are strong if you are blindsided and everything changes. I see this strength in mothers all the time as I accompany them on their birth journeys. Take some time to think about what being flexible and open to change means to you and leave yourself the option to change course if you need to. You might surprise yourself with just how strong you truly are.
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