I am Important During Childbirth

I'm important when I'm giving birth to my baby. You're important when you're giving birth to your baby.

I-am-important-during-birthSounds good, right?

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]

About the author 

Kristen

Kristen is a wife and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! She has spent years helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Find her on her website NaturalBirthandBabyCare.com and helping families through her online childbirth class MamaBabyBirthing.com

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  1. I agree completely. It’s your birth, you are the one doing the work! A doctor comes in just in time to catch the baby, and even a midwife will not be with you the whole time. Your partner may or may not do the right helpful things. But ultimately, YOU are giving birth.

    One thing that I love about giving birth where I live is that after every birth, the attending nurses made me feel like a hero for having pushed the baby out (as though there were some other choice at that point!). As the birthing mother, you are the star of this show!

  2. Our culture entirely downplays the role of the mother in late pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. They’re focused on making sure the baby’s ready, the baby’s born safely, the baby’s healthy and settling in well. But mom’s left to the wayside at a point in her life when she most needs support! She needs someone to help her get through those last exhausting weeks of pregnancy, to empower her to take an active role in her baby’s birth, and to allow her to rest and bond with baby postpartum (while someone else takes care of older kids, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc.). We expect moms to “have it all together” and that includes during this sensitive time. We expect them to look after everyone else and not to be ‘selfish’ and worry about themselves.

    I decided before I even got pregnant with #4 (I’m about 30 weeks now) that I was going to be ‘selfish’ during this time (last weeks of pregnancy, birth, early postpartum). Let me rest, let me recover, let them all cater to me. Once I’m doing better and on my feet again I’ll be a better mom for having taken that time for myself and my new baby. I don’t feel guilty about it. 🙂 No mom should. Ask for what you need and remember that yes, it’s about the baby, but it’s also about YOU!

  3. Thank you for your comments Ita and Kate. Ita, I love how your nurses made you feel – it’s lovely for you (even if really, pushing baby out is the only option :p).

    Kate, I agree with you completely. We tend to minimize mom, during birthing as I wrote about and even (sadly) into the postpartum period. It’s why I’ve advocated that moms consider a “lying in” where they do take it easy and make it clear this is a time of recovery/bonding… when somebody else can take care of all those “things” in life that need to be taken care of.

    I’m hitting 37 weeks this week and have already started to take that “selfish” attitude… that if I need some extra sleep in the morning, or a nap in the afternoon, I’m not going to feel bad about it. I’m about to give birth to a baby (and am growing said baby right now). I want to be well-rested and I’m not going to feel guilty about it :p

  4. This is one of the reasons I chose to give birth in a hospital. I was actually considering a birthing center, but 4 hours after birth when they send me home, there will be 7 kids there (not including the new baby)!
    As much as anyone tries to help out, if you’re there, someone will need you. If you’re not there, they will all figure everything out without you!
    As un-restful as a hospital might be sometimes, at least you are left alone with your baby (for the most part)!

  5. I know what you mean Ita… I have sometimes thought it would be nice to be that “away” and left alone with new baby that you get at the hospital (and where everything is cleaned up well)!

    My hubby has been really good at making sure I don’t need to get up to do things after our last couple, though 🙂 I actually look forward to that first week postpartum because it’s really the only “vacation” I ever get as a mom 😉

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