If you are asking yourself how to prepare for childbirth, I applaud you!
Your question is the beginning of your quest to uncover what you need to give birth with love and confidence. This question is universal, but everyone’s answers are unique to them. Google cannot answer this question for you!
We begin our quest by exploring what we already believe to be true about birth. Birth is rarely a neutral topic! Our minds are filled with birth stories, information, beliefs, images, previous experiences etc. These make up your “Birth Legacy”.
Why bother looking at your birth legacy?
By exploring your birth legacy, you can begin to understand your unique hopes and fears as they relate to your birth. Once you know these, you can begin true preparation, that is useful, personal and meaningful. You can’t get that from a book!
Your birth legacy which might have started even as a small child – hearing the story of your birth, or hearing others talk about their birth. Your birth legacy is a collection of ideas, beliefs and stories that you have encountered , heard, and even absorbed actively and passively. They include family stories/beliefs, religious teachings, cultural beliefs, images, fears, unforgettable birth stories , old wives tales etc.
We are going on a symbolic trip to explore the birth beliefs and information you already have. Even if you have never had a baby, there are many images, feelings and bits of information you have accumulated. As we explore, you will find some stories, beliefs etc. that seem wonderful and reassuring, while others are scary and unpleasant!
Step 1: You will need a pen, a paper, a sharp eye and curious mind! Begin with a slow breath in and out. Open your heart and mind as you begin your exploration. Take 5 minutes (set a timer) and write down everything you assume to be true about pregnancy, labour and birth – every story, google search, movie, book etc. Keep going and don’t talk with your partner during this time.
Don’t over think it, just keep writing. There really are no wrong answers! We begin by gathering everything and then we will examine them later!
Step 2 : (DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL YOU ARE DONE STEP 1!)
Hand over your sheet to your partner and you will take turns reading out loud the points written.
While your points are being read, listen with your body and mind to the words and images you wrote. What was the overall feeling or tone in the writing? Feel it now, in your body
Step 3: Have a conversation while looking at some of the following questions. You might even journal them!
-what surprised you about what you wrote? About what your partner wrote?
-where did those beliefs came from? TV, family, books, Internet etc.
-how does keeping that idea, fear or belief work for you?
-if this idea evaporate, what would you do differently to prepare for birth?
This exercise is a curious exploration, so the only limit is how much time and energy you can dedicate to searching. You can come back to it as often as you like, or you might even find yourself becoming more aware in your daily life of these beliefs. Congratulate yourself on taking this journey!
LAST STEP: Now that you have done this exercise, what new questions do you have about your upcoming birth? Write them down. Send me an email if you feel like sharing!! I look forward to hearing about your exploration.
*Some questions and ideas adapted from Birthing From Within by Pam England.