Breathing out the fear of childbirth

It’s been a while since my last blog post and despite a notebook full of blog idea scribblings, they haven’t quite made it into font form yet which is mostly due to the fact that life has simply had other priorities, and you know what?! that’s never a bad thing. Many of us are very guilty of making our lives more ‘busy’ than they need to be. I’m a prime offender!! I put pressures on myself that don’t need to exist and this only makes me walk backwards. minimalising life helps everything work far more effectively and allows more energy for where it’s needed most.  In the run up to giving birth all that really matters is that I cherish Elijah, cherish my body and mind and emotions, keep the space around us simple and free and spend oodles of time connecting with the life that I will shortly give birth to. One of the most important priorities for me over the last 2 months has been family time. Going from a family of 3 to a family of four can seem beautiful and daunting all at the same time. It’s been important to embrace every moment we have with each other now before the topsy turviness of adjusting to the new arrival, reflecting on what life has blessed us with and absorbing all the strength from the love we are surrounded by. Change can be a really scary thing that we force to the back of our minds, watching the way Elijah explores his raw and honest emotions teaches me a lot about the way I process ( or don’t process ) my own anxieties and frustrations. As he senses big changes are coming his desire and need to be cuddled and reassured increases tenfold. He doesn’t hold back in expressing his fears and the best way to help him grow from experiencing these overwhelming emotions is to give him, and them, acknowledgement, understanding, explanation, support, guidance, time, space and most of all love. It makes sense that I should be processing my own fears in the same way…. Yoga has been playing an important role in my prenatal journey both physically and mentally. Ive posted a few videos and photos to my Facebook and Instagram account @barefootbabysteps of my home asana ( physical) practice, but what I haven’t spoken much about is the emotional and mental nurturing I have been doing through guided meditations. I’m a firm fan of Hypnobirthing, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, self hypnosis helps us to go into deep relaxation. For labour it teaches us to replace fear with confidence in the birthing body and help free the mind of negative thoughts. Hypno birthing Preparation also teaches breathing techniques and visualizations to use during the labour. Hopefully I can go into a bit more depth in a future post about what I have learnt and the theory behind it as I’d love to do give it the time it deserves. Elijahs birth, using the techniques, was more wonderful than I could have ever expected. It certainly wasn’t perfect the whole time though and I wouldn’t want to romanticise it as being so. We had a shakey start and everything happened really quickly which caught me by surprise, I wasn’t prepared. My waters broke like they do in the movies and instead of getting a gradual build up of contractions, what I got was an hour long, no break intense pressure/pain. Without meaning to sound dramatic it literally felt like baby was forcing its way out of a pin hole and if he couldn’t get out that way he was gonna break my whole body in two… after initially turning down gas and air I decided it might be worth a try but the machine they gave me didn’t work and for a while they didn’t believe me when I said I was breathing in but no air was coming… I felt like an idiot and totally embarrassed that the pain had paralysed me to the point that I had to be wheel chaired to the birthing room. I was starting to feel panicky and frightened ( it wasn’t what I was expecting to happen after all ) and I truly believe that had I let the fear consume me things may have gone very differently, fear causes us to freeze and that’s the last thing my cervix needed, instead, I turned a mental corner, caught my breath, shut out all the unnecessary trivialities, turned on the music I’d been doing my hypno birthing prep to, talked myself through the knowledge, guidance and positive affirmations I’d learnt and received, trusted my body to adjust and 10 short minutes later it had found its rhythm and relaxed into the experience, everything changed in that moment, the discomfort I had was no longer my enemy, but a powerful surge that was guiding a new life into the world, the fear that had been causing my body to recoil and close up fizzled away like a deflated balloon and allowed all the necessary space to be created... 2hours later we were having our first cuddles in the birth pool, no tearing, no pain relief needed and a super quick recovery πŸ˜€ it really was the most incredibly powerful experience and I grew more as a person in that 4.5 hours than I had done in the 10 years before. Despite the confusion at the beginning it was utterly perfect..Since then though, all I have been hearing is how horrible so many people’s births have been, which isn’t a bad thing, I think it’s an important healing process for women to talk about a traumatic experience they may have had and even more important for someone to be there to listen and support, but I stopped talking about my own positive experience in case people thought I was being insensitive or rubbing it in their face, I even started to doubt myself and feel nervous about giving birth again, were my memories delusional?? but I soon realised that I was letting nonsense thoughts enter my mind and in fact it is a equally important to share positive birth stories so that women don’t need to be afraid, it is an empowering thing and we have choices we can make before and during, whatever the situation, that can help us tremendously along the journey. I choose to trust the gift my body has been given and any moment possible I’ve been listening to the hypno birthing CDs from Katherine Graves during the day then falling asleep every night to one of her relaxation meditations and I can’t begin to tell you how different I feel! the baby is also getting to hear the words and the beautiful meditation music by Catherine Marie Charlton which I used for my birthing experience with Elijah! Obviously we always have to expect the unexpected, I think that’s the misconception from people who criticise women who they say ‘romanticise birth’ ultimately hypno birthing doesn’t take away the pain or challenge but equips us with the strength to believe in ourselves and overcome! I know women who ended up needing emergency C sections who say they benefitted tremendously from using hypno birthing techniques throughout the experience despite not getting the birth they wished for. This time around we’re planning a homebirth, it’s important for us not to get attached to the idea of a ‘perfect’ birth, in case it doesn’t happen that way but I’m feeling excited and confident that whatever happens, it will be an amazing experience where we ultimately get to meet the brand new life that’s currently growing inside of me…. that one fact alone eclipses anything else along the road. Life is created!! I mean, how AWESOME is that πŸ˜€πŸ™πŸ»πŸ‘ΆπŸΌ

For a wonderful example of a homebirth watch this beautiful video

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