Modern world distorts so much our vision of Birth that it it urgent we reprogram our brains. We need to embrace the whole realty of Birth.
I was talking to one of my partner’s friend one evening about birth (something that often happens with me, leave me 10 seconds of silence and there is a lot of chance that i will start on the topic of birth). She was telling me about her birth experience. The first left her in a birth trauma state – I’ll do a post about that later.
First baby : followed the birth preparation courses of her midwife, long labour, nothing goes as planned, fetal distress, painful and traumatic forceps extraction, painful and long postpartum recovery. Not an uncommon story in those I encountered in my practice.
Few years later, she gets pregnant again. This time, she is determined to read a lot, to get informed, to find other sources because there must be another way. She finds a Doula – click here to find What is a Doula– who, among other resources, lends her the movie Orgasmic Births (Vimeo link). That is how we can reprogram our brains.
What society tells us
What I heard and witness as a girl, woman, student, midwife, evolving mostly in France and also in England and Germany is affirmations like those :
- How birth is painful. An excruciating pain. On a scale of pain from 0 to 10, birth is like 20.
- You need a epidural, You can choose not to suffer.
- Your body is not strong enough, You know myself, you’re not good with pain.Home/natural birth is ABSOLUTELY dangerous.
- You have to be irresponsible to want a home-birth.
- The typical birth is like waking up in a pool of water, having strong contractions at once, rushing in hospital hoping not to have the baby in the car, having an epidural, monitor, drip, and giving birth within the next hours.
- 80% of pregnancies and births are totally normal and the safest is to give birth at hospital.
- Birth has NOTHING (do you hear me, NOTHING) to do with sexuality.
But that’s not the point here.
What I’m asking you is: do the affirmations above resonate with you? To which extend do you think they form your imaginary of birth? Do you feel them relaxing, negative, positive, real, anxiety-inducing, deep, superficial?
What do you know about home birth? Water birth? Do you have in your brain-storage lots of happy, positive, authentic birth stories? Do you feel how you can trust your body, rely on the natural instinct that flow since generations and generations?
That’s why we need to reprogram our brains.
The previous affirmations are what we’ve been told and to some extent contain some truth in the birth process. There is no need to delete them because we’re not moving toward a reality-disconnected positive flying-butterfly-and-glitters vision of birth. But there is lot more to see, learn and experience. You need to reset your brain so it can associate birth with empowering and sacred experience, contractions with waves and surrendering, labour with self-exploration, the presence of your birth partner with safe and loving space, pushing with strength, even pleasurable, even orgasmic sometimes. I know the last ones are not always easy to take, I just put it there so you know it exists.
You can still watch real-life birth TV programs like One birth every second or whatever they’re called in your country if you feel that they are not making your fears grow (if they are, STOP right now, there is no need to make yourself more anxious. Really).
At the same time, open yourself for other experiences.
- Watch over and over again videos of birth that make you feel happy and empowered
- Watch the Orgasmic Birth movie.
- Read books that focused on the natural side: suggestion of reading here
- Read testimonials of women who gave birth at home, in home-birth setting, or at hospital.
- Talk with your friends who already had a baby.
There are a lot of suggestions you can find in the part Resources on this website.
How does it work ?
Imagine this situation :
You are driving on a road, above the speed limit and you know it. Suddenly, a police car appear in your mirror, looking like it’s following you, starts the sirens and the lights. You feel they are coming for you. Your body is getting tense, your heart is beating faster, maybe you’re sweating, you feel stress, fear, guilt.
Then the police car passes you and carry on, it wasn’t for you.
But still you imagined enough for your body and mind to react according to your memories and past experiences.
In the same way, if you’re expecting your contractions to be overwhelming, they will be.
If you’re expecting not to be able to cope with labour, you won’t be.
If you feel your need to be in control of your body, your body will prove you wrong.
So please, do this great gift for yourself, reprogram your brain so you’ll find healing and empowerment in birth.
Credit picture : Natasha Hance of NHance Photography