A ‘good’ birth

Beauty is very much in the eye of the woman with the bump/baby when it comes to birthing. Get ready to put your fingers in your ears, shout ‘ la la la la la’ at the top of your voice when well-meaning friends and family give you advice or judge your decisions. Sure, you’ll want to read up on your choices, have a detailed understanding of your options, the risks and benefits of each, talk to your partner and care provider and have everything at your disposal to make an informed choice. But as for having a ‘good’ birth experience – only you will know what that would be for you and your baby. And only you will know if it’s time to shift those plans and work towards another ‘good’ outcome.

An acquaintance, who had an elective caesarean for her second birth, shuffled uncomfortably when this came up in my presence and ‘confessed’ that she had ‘wimped out of trying for a good birth’ this second time round. I asked her if she minded talking about it and discovered quickly that she had been very happy with her decision to plan a caesarean. She’d negotiated the kind of experience she needed (baby handed straight to her, her husband told her the sex etc.), thought hard about her decision, enjoyed the birth, bonded with her baby quickly and felt happy with the birth afterwards.

When I said it sounded like a ‘good’ birth to me she was surprised, confessing that the only negative about her birth experience was her fear of the reactions of others, especially someone like me who had a home birth and often supported women seeking a birth without intervention.

For me, a ‘good’ birth experience is not about a specific path being followed. Ok, many women find that in intervention free birth is what they need, but that’s never my goal as a doula.  In fact I’m fairly ‘goal-less’ aside from the determination to help support choices that my couples make.

Having a positive experience is about understanding these choices and feeling empowered to make them. If plans need to change, you are at the centre of making those changes. You’ll look back afterwards and know that you forged the path through your birth with your own strength. Whether that’s the strength to birth at home, the strength to accept encouragement from your partner, the strength to change your plans, the strength to know that you want to take the planned caesarean that’s offered to you or the strength to push for a VBAC if that’s what you need.

Your baby’s birth is just that: it’s yours, your partners and your baby’s experience. So get planning a ‘good’ birth – whatever that means for you.

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The Hackney Doula

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