Birthing is an incredible time.
Birthing your baby brings challenges, joys, and tests everything that you are made of.
I was blessed to attend a mama's first birth recently. It was a very good birth. She expressed normal self-doubt here and there. There's a question in your mind: “Can I do this? Can I get through this? Am I enough for this? Am I strong enough for this?”
It's really important to acknowledge that journey, those thoughts. She wasn't alone in those thoughts – you're not alone in those thoughts. It's a place many women go during labor.
In fact, I would say most women get to those question and that doubt when they're in in their birthing time. It doesn't matter what you want to call them – when the contractions, or the rushes, or whatever, are coming on, you find a place of doubt. Giving birth is probably the most intense thing that you'll ever do.
It's an incredible journey.
It's a remarkable journey.
And you can do it!
The mama I was assisting did it 🙂
Somebody Beside You
I'm really, really supportive of family birth or unassisted birth if that's what a family wants. I've had a couple of my own babies before the midwife arrived, and those were beautiful experiences.
But one of the reasons I'm a student midwife is because there's something to be said for having somebody there that can tell you “You can do this!” Someone to tell you “You can get through this!” Someone to encourage you that you can pull from the very core of your strength.
Sometimes women don't really get that. Or in hospital, you're told “We can give you pain medication.” That's not necessarily not giving up or surrendering. We had a mom transfer not too long ago, who had a really, really intense, hard labor. She didn't have a lot of good support other than midwives and it can be hard to go through labor without support from your partner or someone else dedicated to you.
She finally decided she wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural. She just wanted to see if she could get some rest. She had her baby within just a few hours because that rest and relaxation was what she needed, especially coming from that place where she didn't really have any family support.
She was looking for support from her partner and family. That's definitely a hard place to be – expecting somebody to be helpful and they're just not able to do that for whatever reason.
I feel like sometimes pain medications are helpful, but the reason why you're reading on a natural birth website is that you're interested in natural birth!
Having someone there beside you reminding you this is normal, that you can call upon that strength, is really helpful.
Celebrate the Journey of Birthing
So many women are told that they're being silly, or they're being martyrs, or they're making it all about their own experience, instead of being celebrated and told they can do it.
That's something that I want to remind you of – celebrate that you can do this. That's it's worth doing. It's important.
I love this beautiful quote from Dr. Sarah Buckley:
This hormonal interdependence contradicts the common medical response to natural birth as the mother's prizing of her own experience over her baby’s safety, and underlines the mutual dependency of mother and baby even as they begin their physical separation. From Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Research is showing that when a mama has an uninterrupted hormonal flow in labor, in her birthing time, it actually creates and preserves safety. It gives a better start for a mom and her newborn.
It's very inspiring, and it helps us understand that the process of birth is beautifully orchestrated, refined. That's how Dr. Buckley approaches it in her work – refined throughout eons. Or, perhaps you believe that it was designed by a Creator. It doesn't matter what your worldview is… this process was designed, perfected, or refined to be what it is today. That beauty is for a purpose.
That purpose is not just to eject the baby.
That purpose is much grander. It helps to create a mother, to create a mother-baby bond. It preserves the safety of mother and baby.
We're fortunate today because good hygiene, excellent nutrition, emotional care, and this understanding that the process of birth is designed to work come together to create a situation where birth is very safe. I would say that having emergency technology when it's needed can create unparalleled safety. The problem with the medical model is that it dismisses the foundation (nutrition, emotions, the hormones of pregnancy and birth, even hygiene to some extent) and relies only itself. But when used with wisdom, medicine adds to the safety of birth.
We live in a time that's exciting. There's a lot of research going on.
Research us rediscovering an understanding that women have had for a very long time…
…that the support of other women, and the knowledge that you can can do this is a really powerful thing.
It's something I've been thinking about a lot since that mama's birth. I was blessed to watch this first-time mama reach into herself and pull upon some power that she doubted that she had. It was there within her.
It was a blessing and a privilege for me. I was sitting with her in the bathroom, and I told her that she was so strong. And she said “I don't feel strong.” I told her “But, you are. You're so strong.” She rested her head on my shoulder and just breathed. It was a wonderful moment for me, a privilege, to be able to part of that journey for her. To know that I can help her carry on this very beautiful and timeless tradition of women birthing, of women helping women.
She birthed a daughter. Women birthing women. Mothers birthing mothers. Just a very beautiful thing.
Remember that you are strong, and that you can pull on this strength. You pull the strength of all the women who are birthing at the same time that you'll be birthing. And all the women who have birthed before you. All the women who will birth after you, including perhaps your own daughters. It's a wonderful power. A beautiful, feminine power that helps keep the world going in a very special way. Enjoy!
(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the kit here.)