I always knew childbirth would change my life. I mean let’s face it, babies change everything don’t they? Feeling like I understood the process of becoming a mother as a forty week preggosaurus, I knew my mind would soon be focused on sweet baby snuggles and stinky diaper changes. However, what I didn’t realize was how much my mind and body would actually learn from this unmedicated and incredible (that’s an understatement, more like life-changing) childbirth journey.
Now, here’s where I have to tell you that my birth experiences may not be the same as your birth experiences. Everybody’s body deals with labor differently. Nonetheless, I can PROMISE you that listening to other mamas’ stories about what they gained from natural birthing is an important part of gaining encouragement into your journey.
Here’s what I learned…
1. Lose Control to Gain Control
“Counterproductive much?” is what probably would have come to mind if I read this as I sat through those pre-labor contractions, the day before my water broke.
Be that as it may, this is actually the best advice I could have given myself. You probably completely get me when I say I WAS A PREGNANT CONTROL FREAK. From the details of three different outfit changes for my baby to come home in (funny story- none of them made it to the birthing center) to the perfect “birthing dress” I would wear (who wears clothes when they’re giving birth anyways), I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it.
Little did I know, the baby clothes would be left at home, the perfect birthing dress would come off, and I would need to lose all aspect of control in my mind for my body to gain its control. I remember the exact moment it happened. After doing everything I could to get this baby out, something came over me telling, “your body’s got this; just live the process”. From that moment, I lost control and let my body do what it already knew how to do. I focused on being present, which was the best gift I could have given myself.
2. Listen to Your Voice
Which brings me to number two; listen to that inner voice inside of you. That is your direction, your guide into what’s happening next. If that inner voice says squat, you squat. If it says eat a cheeseburger, you eat the freak out of that cheeseburger girl! (Don’t be surprised, however, if your voice never talks about a cheeseburger- mine never did…kind of wished it did though).
3. Pick a Voice and Focus On It
Remember when I said, “listen to your voice”? Well, listen to this one too. If you’re anything like me, you will grant your very caring yet all opinionated loved ones into the labor room with you. You will appreciate all of the love, but let’s face it, baby having…it’s a smidge overwhelming.
So when you’ve got more than one person telling you what they think you should do and a stubborn baby that’s still inside of you but should be out, your only hope of sanity is to find that voice that you respond to best. Once you find the voice, (whether that is your husband, mom, etc.), focus on it. Listen to it, be encouraged by it, and rely on it.
4. Fuel Your Body
Before childbirth, I always understood the importance of fueling my body with what it needed to work efficiently. But, the baby day was when I truly learned how essential it is to give yourself what you need. For me, I found this in two ways: food and hydration, and outside things.
I spent the majority of my labor refusing food. As it came down to the end, I was an energy less mama -to- be that had no stamina to push. MAMAS, if you want your bodies to do incredible things like birth life and sustain it, than you have to fuel it.
Also, fueling your body can come in outside things too. Things such as relaxing music (“Jesus Music” for me) or essential oils being rubbed on your back. That kind of stuff, the feel good stuff, are essential to fueling your body to do what it needs to do.
5. Learn to Sink
Okay, not actually sink my ladies having a water birth. I mean learn to sink into what comforts you. Learn to sink into the present. Let your brain sink into your breathing techniques that you learned, the warm water if you’re in a birthing tub, prayer; there are loads of choices. It could be anything that keeps you grounded.
6. You Are Strong[ER]
You my dear, are the strongest kind of strong! Consider this for a moment. Think about how strong you think you are. Have you gone through a lot in your life? Experienced hardships and made it out stronger? Now, that level of strong you have in your head, it doesn’t even come close to the level of strong you are in the moment of childbirth.
That was the second most important thing I learned as a natural birthing mother.
7. You Will NEVER Experience Anything Better
The first, most important thing that I learned and the last one on this list is; YOU WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE ANYTHING BETTER THAN COMING FACE TO FACE WITH YOUR CHILD FOR THE FIRST TIME! Yes, that whole sentence was capitalized because yes, it was the absolute, most life changing moment of my entire life.
Okay mamas, before I close this, I wanted to finish with a couple of things. First, natural birthing isn’t easy, but it’s more than worth it. Second, let yourself open up through your experience as you are blossoming into motherhood.