I'm important when I'm giving birth to my baby. You're important when you're giving birth to your baby.
It sounds good, but it's not actually the reality many moms prepare for! Moms get baby supplies together, read some books about pregnancy and childbirth, research a care provider… and then they think about what everyone else needs to do while they're giving birth.
What should the partner do? What's the doctor going to do? What's the nurse going to do? How is the midwife going to support me? What do I not want everyone to do!?
I'm working through the Pink Kit again with this baby and one of the most profound things that's hit me as I worked through the early sections of the Kit is the emphasis on preparation. My preparation. These early sections cover basics like considerations on where you'll birth, and how your experience will be impacted by that. There's also a section on how you'll birth (vaginally, planned cesarean, emergency cesarean, VBAC, etc.)
What's Your Role in Birthing?
But there's a section on preparation that covers different aspects of giving birth than many courses talk about. The Pink Kit is careful to explain that there are different roles in birth — there's the care provider, who provides a watchful eye from a medical standpoint, and may provide some support. Then there's your partner, or “coach” as the Pink Kit terminology covers. And then there's you — the birthing mother.
I've gone through the Pink Kit two times before, but for some reason this section really stood out for me this time around. The emphasis on how important your personal preparation is. The emphasis on how important it is to perceive yourself as being the one to birth your baby.
Again, it sounds surprising.
But think about it. Many women go to the hospital and expect for the doctors and nurses to manage everything while they just kind of try and get through it. Even many women choosing midwives expect the midwife to be there, being the supportive “rock” during their birthing time.
Now, there's nothing wrong with looking to your midwife for support. There's nothing wrong with expecting that the doctor and nurses will watch the safety and progression of your labor for you and your baby.
But what happens is often we, as mothers, get lost. We're not sure what we're supposed to do, and when something happens… for instance, when labor “stalls”, we don't do much except rely on the “professional” on the scene.
The Pink Kit makes it clear in these early sections that you can and should learn skills to work with your body. Your coach can learn these skills right along with you, so he or she is there helping you work with your body and baby during the birthing. You don't just sit back passively, or rely on somebody else.
You can listen to, consider, implement the advice of the professionals there at your baby's birth (after all, you hired them for a reason). But the majority of your birthing and how you go about it is up to you.
Think about it… even with a midwife you're likely to be left to figure out labor and birth on your own for stretches of time. Nurses are busy, and your midwife may be setting up supplies or even napping (maybe your baby is the third to arrive in as many days!).
Thought-Provoking and Empowering
I don't know about you, but I find this point of view to be pretty thought-provoking. Intriguing, even. A focus on giving birth back to mother and baby (and coach if you desire). That's awesome.
I like the thought of my midwife there as a guardian, as a wise adviser should I need her. But I really love the thought of taking this journey and coming into my own power through it… knowing I'll make it with the love and wisdom of others carrying me, but truly flying with my own wings.
I give birth. I deliver my baby. I am important.
More to come as we move into practicing birth skills with the Pink Kit 🙂
Photo by christine [cbszeto]