Our friends over at A Labor of Love have just posted a really thoughtful and true description of how the issue of power is expressed during labor and birth, how it is talked about beforehand, how it can be divided between mothers, care providers, and support people, and tips for getting the control you want - or don’t want! - during your birth. Great read!
When we work with women it is a resounding subject that comes out… POWER. Let me try to explain…
“I want to be in control.”
“I want to be heard.”
“I want to be informed.”
“I want to make my own decisions.”
“I do not want to be coerced or bamboozled.”
“I want to choose my position for labor and birth.”
“I don’t want to be induced or have my labor augmented.”
“I trust my doctor will not do anything that will harm me or my baby.”
“I do not want to feel any pain. I am scared of feeling pain.”
“I just want to go in and have my baby out.”
“I just want to go with how it is supposed to happen and not worry about taking classes.”
“I hope I don’t loose control in labor or make a lot of noise.”
“I want to enjoy my labor and birth.”
“I like my doctor and want to just do what he tells me to do.”
“I don’t want any conflict in labor- I plan to just go with the flow.”
“I have had emotional trauma in the past, but I don’t want to share about that with my care team.”
“I have had physical trauma in the past, but I don’t want to share about that with my care team.”
“I have a lot of baggage with my mother and it makes me afraid to become a mother, but I don’t want to share that with anyone.”
“I want to eat whatever I want in pregnancy and disregard how that may effect my baby.”
“I don’t want to exercise or care about the things I am doing to effect the position of the baby.”
“I don’t want to take an informed choice childbirth class because the less I worry the better.”
Do you see how all of these statements are about power? You either work hard to have it or you let go of it and let someone else end up having it. But the truth is, you already have the power to have the birth that you want within you. But you either are holding that power captive by allowing fear to keep it locked up. Of you are blind to it because you have allowed others to take it away from you for a long time and you are unaware you even have it.
What can you do to regain your power? In order to have a great birth you must prepare and plan to have a great birth. It does not usually just happen. You need to prepare your body and mind. You will not be able to endure a normal length (19.5) hour labor if you have no endurance. You will not be able to move and position yourself effectively for a natural birth if you have not become aware of the positions or practiced them. It is best to have always visualized yourself having that type of birth. You need to clear your fears and unpack the baggage that inhibits you from having that type of birth. This could mean discussing your previous abuse with those who will support you. It means sharing any physical problems that could inhibit your body from letting go. It means surrounding yourself with a care team who supports your dreams.
Hire a doula. Sit with her and share your dreams and your nightmares. She can help you prepare for your birth in a positive way. Communicating with her regularly helps you develop a relationship where you can be open and vulnerable.
Take a childbirth class that helps you work through your fears. If the class dismisses your fears and concerns and says that if you focus on them it will inhibit you- realize you must focus on them to be able to truly work through them before your birth. Recently I met with one of my clients and she says she understands she has fears. But she realizes that she has the power to set those fears to the side, having looked at them and being fully aware of them, and take hold of her power and move past it. I loved that!
Take a fitness class to learn how to move now in your pregnancy to help you increase your endurance. Dancing for Birth classes and prenatal yoga are great ways to enjoy this time with other pregnant women. Walking each day or swimming is super good. Practicing optimal fetal positioning is a good insurance plan.
See a chiropractor and body worker to keep your body healthy and aligned. Being more comfortable in your pregnancy will help you be more comfortable in allowing your baby to come when they choose and not feeling rushed into an induction.
Spend time daily meditating and visualizing your birth and this baby. Allow your mind to be flooded with positive affirmations and avoid negative people sharing their negative stories.
Read fabulous birth preparation books and stories that really help you prepare to make good informed decisions rather than the ones that teach you to be a good patient.