I will have a positive birth please, with a side of lobster and champagne!
So often I hear people talking about what they don’t want to happen in their birth
“I just don’t want to be induced”
“I don’t want an epidural”
“I don’t want to feel a thing”
“I don’t want to lose control”
“I don’t want to be left alone”
“I don’t want to tear”
“I don’t want a hospital birth”
“I don’t want to be told what to do”
“I don’t want to do the wrong thing”
And don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why people may be feeling these things, and they are all totally valid, but none of these statements is going to serve you particularly well.
What you need to do is start asking for what you do want!
Rather than focussing on what you don’t want, focus on what you do want, that way you can do something proactive about getting it, and you can assist those caring for you to provide it.
I will give you a non-birth example, to help you understand why this is so important, and this is something I deal with all the time.
Its dinner time and I ask my kids what they want for tea, and the answer I generally get is
“I don’t want stew” “I don’t want cauliflower” “I don’t like sausages” “I don’t know” you get the idea! And none of these statements help me in any way. I still don’t know what they want, and invariably they will end up with something not quite what they wanted.
So why do kids do this? Generally because they are too busy with the important business of playing, or can’t really be bothered to think about it. And at the end of the day it is just dinner, so doesn’t really matter all that much.
But your birth and your body really do matter, really do deserve the consideration and thought of a positive list of what you do want.
I totally get that it is easier to focus on what you don’t want, often we feel quite strongly about these things, but I put it to you that it will serve you better to flip any negative statement on your birth plan to a positive.
As an example
“I don’t want to be induced” Ask yourself what this is about, and what choices you have around this. Is it that you don’t believe in induction, if so why not? Is it that you are scared of induction, is so why? Is it because you have had an unsuccessful induction in the past, what are your feelings about this?
So how about
“I wish to wait for my body to go into spontaneous natural labour” I do not consider myself to be ‘overdue’ until 42 weeks +1. If my body decides to go beyond these dates I wish to have regular monitoring. Unless there is a strong medical reason to be induced I request not to be offered any sort of induction, I completely trust my body and baby to be born at the right time.”
Now what this tells your caregivers is that you have fully researched and understood your options, and you are making informed choices. It is also a wonderful positive affirmation to yourself. It is putting an emphasis on the positive. It is also recognising that there could be a medical condition that indicates induction be necessary and in that instance you will look into your options and make an informed choice. Should you have strong feelings about induction then do your research on the different sorts available, understand what they will mean for you and your baby, and come to your own conclusions.
Another example of birth flipping is:
“I don’t want an epidural” Ask yourself why you feel strongly about epidurals, and what you do want instead.
Try this instead:
“I wish to birth naturally without pain relief as I feel totally prepared and capable of coping with the sensations and intensity of birth using focused breathing/hypnobirthing/active birth/massage/water. I will be using all the techniques I have learnt to stay calm, and to release any tension and fear I have surrounding my birth. If my choice to birth naturally changes I will make this known by requesting some further support, I politely request that synthetic pain relief is not offered to me during my labour and birth.
Again within this there is a clear message of what you do want, there is a positive statement of belief in your own ability, and there is the flexibility within this plan to change your mind, which is ok, because you are in control of this choice.
So in essence, knowing what you don’t want is a good start, but flip it around, turn that into a positive statement. You can use any fears that come up as a good indicator of work you personally need to do;
“I don’t want to lose control” I want to stay calm and focused. Do I have the skills to stay calm and focused? What skills can help me stay calm and focused?
“I don’t want to be told what to do” I want to be listened to and given the time and space to make the choices that are right for me. I want to make choices based on information and evidence not fear. Do I have the information I need? Do I understand my choices? What can I do to make sure I can make cool calm decisions? Does my birth partner understand and support what is important to me during this time to help and support me make the right choices for us?
“I don’t want to be left alone” I want somebody with me at all times. I need to feel completely supported and safe due to my previous experience where I was alone and scared. What can I do to move away from this fear?
Much like my kids at dinner time, they could have said “Mummy I would really love Chicken with cheesy mash, peas and sweetcorn” and I would have done my best to provide, but telling me just what they didn’t want they probably ended up with fish fingers and potato waffles, yeah it was ok, but it wasn’t really what they wanted, if only they had given it a little thought!
So when it comes to your birth, make sure you get lobster, with a crisp green salad and a glass of Dom Perignon, or whatever it is you actually want, because by saying you really don’t want McDonalds, you may just end up with a manky old tuna sandwich!
If you are wanting to birth the way you want, if you want to get rid of any old demons you may have connected to your birth, and birth in confidence, feeling fully supported by your birth partner, and able to make the right choices on the day then you deserve all the help you can get.
The coaching I offer to couples will help remove psychological blocks, will give you the tools to stay calm and energised, will inform, support and inspire you to make a birth plan that asks for everything you are wanting, and more. The coaching I offer will help you to get the birth that you want, a positive empowering and beautiful birth.
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