Ok, here’s one topic I could write about for hours. I have had a really positive birth experience (read my birth story here) and I know it is all thanks to the work I did on my mindset. Yes, mindset. Here’s what I have always thought: our bodies were created to give birth. Women used to give birth without any medical assistance and they did it. Yes, sure, complications happened and things are a lot better now but this is only resource wise! Our bodies remain the same. What maybe changed a bit is that we now know how easy it is to get those resources that can make giving birth an “easier” experience. And I don’t want to come across the wrong way! Every birth can be hard, everyone’s experience is different, giving birth naturally doesn’t make you a better mum than having a C-section. Opting to have an epidural doesn’t make you weaker nor does having a home birth make you a super women. All births make you an incredible mum and a powerful woman.
My point is: because he know of all the resources available, we tend to work less on our mindset. Some of us don’t even worry about preparing for birth because “we know”. But question yourself, what do you know? Is it from what people say, what you learn in school or from the TV Show One born every minute? Because if it is this, then you’re missing out in SO MUCH MORE.
So, rant over. Here’s what I did to prepare my mind for birth and to work on my mindset for that special, big day.
Listen to positive birth stories.
Since a very early stage in my pregnancy, I decided to create my own little filter and only focus on the good. So if anyone came to me with “Oh my god my birth was horrible”. I would listen but I wouldn’t pay attention. Rude? Maybe. But we have to protect ourselves from that negative story because you’ll be thinking about that before you go to sleep. So I would type on YouTube “positive birth story” and a lot would pop up. And I would spend hours listening to other people tell their story. And you know what? A positive birth story doesn’t always mean an experience with no complications. But fill yourself with these positive stories and believe that yours will be like that too.
Plan your birth but be open to change.
I wrote my birth plan. I downloaded this from the NHS website and filled it in. My midwife had a look, my husband knew it all but to be honest they never looked at it in the hospital. I know this might not be the case in other hospitals but the reality in my situation was that no one really asked to read it. BUT they asked me what I wanted, how I wanted. I knew very early how I wanted my giving birth experience to be but I also new that I couldn’t control anything because pregnancy and giving birth is just unpredictable. And that is OK! If you are comfortable with the idea that you might have to adapt your birth plan, you are already ahead of the game. Just always believe that it’ll all work out and you’ll have your baby in the end.
Read, inform yourself, do your research.
I read a lot. I knew I wanted to know more about hypnobirthing and so I read the “Your Baby, Your Birth“. I could’ve read more but they all kind of share the same and that was my choice. I loved it and totally recommend if your into hypnobirthing, if you want to know more about it or even if you want to use that technique yourself. I also followed @thepositivebirthcompany on Instagram – they always share a lot of positive birth stories and they also have an hypnobirthing online course that I heard amazing things about! But I never got around to do it. I also informed myself about all the resources available in my hospital, made sure I asked my midwife all the questions – do a list before your appointment! baby brain is a thing – and I just made sure I had the answer to every question that might have popped in my head. Because if you’re sure of something, that can lead you to uncertainty and an anxious feeling and that is not good!
Meditate, listen to positive affirmations.
I got into meditation when I was trying to get pregnant. I was struggling to sleep and also I kept filling my mind with negative thoughts so this was a way of me winding down and bringing some good thought back into my head. I carried on doing it when I was pregnant. I used the app Insight Timer (android | Apple) and I would often do a 5 minute meditation – anything longer than that would put me to sleep whilst doing it so I stuck to short but sweet ones. This is the one I particularly loved and did every night. But there are many more. The app is for free but you can there is an upgraded paid version that gives you access to a bunch of more meditation “courses”. I didn’t feel like I needed that.
Meditating helped me so so much. I would do this one and also I would listen to positive birth affirmations or relaxation. These are mentioned in the “Your Baby, Your Birth” book and they’re so so helpful. Also, if you have the Freya app from @thepositivebirthcompany you can listen to positive birth affirmations whilst in labour – it’s amazing and helped me SO SO much. I really REALLY recommend this app to monitor your surges (contractions). Honestly if it wasn’t for this, I probably wouldn’t have stayed at home for so long in labour. But this positive affirmations things should be done even before being in labour and it will prepare your mind for it! Believe me, it is worth it. Get doing it, even if you’re already 38 weeks pregnant.
Believe and listen to your body.
This is the hardest bit but so essential. And I know it can sound like utter rubbish but it isn’t. When I told my husband I didn’t want to have an epidural, he laughed. Like that laugh of “yeah right, you can’t do it”. And I said, firmly, “what? I can do it, I will do it”. He didn’t believe in me. But guess what? I did it! And yes, there was a risk of maybe I couldn’t have done it the way I wanted. Something could’ve happened, there was a BIG possibility of me not coping with the pain or being too tired to deal with the contractions but I did it. I believed.
I also strongly believe that we feel what’s right for us, what will work and what won’t. I always thought that I could not give birth in the “normal” or “most common” position (on our back with our legs up in the air). I also never imagined myself coping with the surges (or contractions) stuck in a bed because of the epidural. I wanted to be moving, either sat on the birth ball or just leaning on yer bed. I never gave birth before (obvs) but I just felt like this was how I would cope better with it. And I was right. I was in labour bouncing on the birth ball. Whilst at the end stages of labour I changed positions in bed, I got up and went to the toilet and I got up again to go to bed and gave birth in all fours. So, listen to your body. Listen to it now, whilst pregnant, listen to it when giving birth. You’ll know what is more comfortable, what feels right for you. And the health care professional needs to respect that as long as it is something achievable and doesn’t put yours or your baby’s life at risk.
And this was really what I did, mainly for the last 3 months of my pregnancy. It was so helpful and it really made a difference on the way I felt about giving birth. I was never scared, I was never worried, I was prepared.
Anyway, pop any questions in the comments and feel free to follow me on instagram @themummysaurus. I will be doing a live tomorrow sharing my birth experience!! Stay tuned.
*This blog post and shop widget contains affiliate links. Read the disclaimer about affiliate links and PR gifting here.