The time between embracing a pregnancy ("I guess this is really happening?!") and having a baby is a strange one. Filled with what can be an overwhelming amount of information and decision-making, it can feel that each choice you make - midwife/obstetrician, home/hospital, get a doula/go it alone - will be the one that determines how the whole birthing process goes for you.
And as with a lot of decisions we make, it's true, the choices we make profoundly influence the outcome. I think the thing to examine when making decisions around childbirth is what exactly the outcome we are looking for is. At the end of labour and birth one outcome will be the same no matter what - a tiny brand-new adorable baby - so why do we feel the need to control how the whole thing goes?
What is the thing we are really looking for when as an expecting parent we agonize over which hospital to birth at or interview six or seven doulas?
A positive birth experience.
The true reality of labour and childbirth is that we don't have nearly as much control over how it goes as we hope we will. Just because you hire a doula, work with the best midwife collective in your city, and plan a homebirth doesn't mean you won't end up being induced and having a Caesarian birth. And just because you schedule your Caesarian, doesn't mean you won't end up with a precipitous labour at home.
The good news is any kind of childbirth experience can good with a certain amount of work in the prenatal period. Taking time to explore your prejudices about labour and childbirth, facing fears/anxieties, developing tools for pain management, and building coping mechanisms for any possible situation can all help to empower you to embrace the unknowns of birth and labour. Over the next few weeks I'll be blogging about things to explore as a part of your prenatal preparation that can contribute to making your birth experience a positive one.
If you are looking for a prenatal class in the Hamilton area that will provide you with hands-on coping practices to build your confidence for both the physical and emotional challenges you may be faced with in labour & chlidbirth, check out my 5-week series starting at the beginning of March in Hamilton's west end at Inland Island Community Wellness Centre.