It’s been an overall positive week for me and the word in itself has been running through my mind all week since the arrival of my best friends second baby on Monday. I don’t mean positive as in, every things gone smoothly, the kids have been perfect, I’ve been the best mum, because I’m way too honest for that! What I mean is that creeping to the forefront of my mind at regular intervals has been the thoughts of positive effects of a good birth, how to achieve a positive birth and positivity surrounding different types of births.
One important thing The Calm Birth School teaches is not to strive for perfection but positivity. I guess there is way further to fall from striving for perfection but that many different types of birth can been viewed in a positive way. I’ve realised that in so many birth stories I’ve listened to since having Huxley, I automatically gravitate towards the positive parts of that story. This is probably partly due to TCBS teaching you not to listen to those negative, scary birth stories so most likely I now home in on the best bits which help me form my overall view of the birth.
As mentioned, my thought pattern was triggered wonderfully this week by on of my besties having an incredibly positive birth. She totally rocked it, had put in the hypnobirthing ‘work’ and really put it into practice. I felt especially emotional of this birth story as she thanked me for ‘planting the hypnobirthing seed’ and if I’m honest the whole time I’ve been thinking ‘please let this work as it did for me!’. I’m definitely not here to tell her birthing story but there were aspects that could have sent any labouring woman into spiralling panic- being stuck in triage for an hour when actually you’re 8cm dilated for example. But no, she found her ‘space’ and made it work for her! In other circumstances, one could be homing in on that factor and end up with a negative stance on the birth overall. There have been other stories where a mum has described her birth as way more painful than the first and longer, but all I could focus on was “you had him in the water- how beautiful!” and “wow he was practically born en-caul(in the sac)!! You’re amazing!”.
On thinking about how we view births I also know people that have had beautiful, natural births but then a near abusive care-provider afterwards taints the whole birth and makes it a negative experience. It’s not just about how we labour and how the baby comes into the world but the nature of the care that surrounds us when we do give birth that is also so, so important. Who has ever forgotten either the nicest midwife that supported you in birth OR the most unfriendly midwife that was there at your most vulnerable? Clare Goggin founder of Caesarean In Focus fights to make caesarean births as positive experiences as possible, even and maybe especially when not planned, by encouraging women to educate themselves on their options to achieve this. I had never really thought about this deeply before but it was the second story I had heard of emergency caesarean deliveries, that had been made into positive experiences and both hugely due to the kindness and sensitivity that was shown to them during the process that had been taken largely out of their hands.
Finally this week I attended the first one day gathering for The Positive Birth Movement. A panel of amazingly knowledgeable women and men (among which one of them was the lovely Clare from Caesarean In Focus) who were there to discuss how we can make a change in making birth more positive. There was such an information overload but some topics included: Giving women options and rights and encouraging them to have a voice, pushing towards changing some legislation, changing the language we use around birth and transforming birthing culture. Seriously what an eye opener! It was so inspiring and totally summed up my week.
Since Huxley’s birth I have been immersed into a world that I didn’t know existed. A world in which I implore other women, even those who haven’t yet given birth to find out about. A world in which is going to become so powerful and life-changing that hopefully if we can work hard enough our children will see the effects of. I haven’t figured out entirely how (though have an idea) of how I’m going to contribute to this changing of the views of birthing culture, but I know that I’m meant to. And maybe in a small way after the lovely birth of the newest baby in my life this week, perhaps I’ve already started.
How to get involved…
1- Even if you are not preggers right now, please look up The Positive Birth Movement because you will know people that are or are about to be pregnant and this could transform their lives basically! It’s free to attend and is global so why not!
2- If you or a friend have had a positive birth, however it happened, share it! Blogs such as Tell me a good birth story or The whole 9 months publish positive birth stories and would love to hear from you.
3- If you are pregnant, do not, I repeat DO NOT listen to anyones scaremongering birth stories. Surround yourself with stories and videos of great births. There are plenty of these around such as on above said websites or Rockstar Birth Magazine (super cool) or even youtube.
4- Did you have a traumatic birth? You are NOT alone. There are so many mamas who are petrified of their next birth and immersing yourself in point 3 will ease this fear. Think about what was positive in your last birth and what would you have changed (within your control) to keep it positive? But I do promise you- one shit birth does not guarantee another!