You don’t have too many options here ladies. You are pregnant and you are going to give birth. So let’s look at the options moving towards birth.
Option 1: Pretend It Isn’t Happening.
Ignore the fact you are pregnant, carry on as normal and turn up on the day and put your birth in the hands of the hospital staff. Prepare to be offered all of the drugs and to have lots of interventions resulting in a C-section.
Option 2: Take The Drugs.
Read as many books as possible about everything imaginable that could go wrong. Make sure you listen to every horror story there is about childbirth so that you have as much information as possible and watch the videos “One Born Every Minute” religiously, taking great care not to hide your eyes during the really gruesome bits. The more reality of good and bad things you know about birth, the more you will be prepared, right? Um….
Option 3: Plan for ‘The Perfect Birth’
Sign up for a birth preparation course which promises you the perfect birth, orgasms during transition and absolutely pain free labour. Prepare to sneeze your baby out. Get ready to be a glowing, white dress wearing Earth Mother who breezes through birth and parenthood.
Option 4: Be Realistic but Optimistic
Respect that fact that you are pregnant. Carry on with as many normal activities as you are comfortable with, rest and relax when you need to, bond with your baby and allow yourself to enjoy pregnancy, vomit and all. Prepare for birth with honesty and excitement. Don’t listen to horror stories, don’t look at pictures of forceps and don’t plan for tragedy.
Think about what comforts you now in every-day life. Get to know yourself and your birth partner and be honest with yourself. Make a plan for birth and be prepared for it to change on the day.
Be prepared for childbirth to be bloody hard work but also an amazing once (twice, or thrice…) in a lifetime experience that will blow your mind – in a good way! Feel lucky that you are getting to experience childbirth! Get excited and know that the majority of the time, childbirth can happen without medical intervention. It may be peaceful, it may be messy or noisy, it may be all of these things, but it will definitely be entirely unique to you.
Listen to happy baby stories, always be positive and learn and read about the natural physiological aspects of childbirth. How birth feels, how to manage the sensations and how to be comfortable. Find out information that is actually going to be useful and understand that you are in your birth, not at it.
You can probably realize that I am not suggesting you go for any of the first three options. Option four is what we are aiming for. Realistic, honest and very, very positive about giving birth.
This blog is adapted from the revised edition of Birth ROCKS by Cheryl MacDonald, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.