“I teamed up with a swag of other rocking Birth Professionals to turn the focus to where it NEEDS to be. To open the conversation on healthy, positive & transformational birth. Less about what pain relief you had or when you gave birth, and more about how birth made you FEEL. How it transformed you into the Rockstar you are today.”
It was a Friday night, my husband and I were relaxing on the couch at home, so I took the time to answer the questions. It was such a rewarding exercise to do! I wrote to Jo that ‘on some level I think I’ve been feeling anxious about doing it all again, but as I wrote it all down and remembered it in such detail, I kind of reassured myself that ‘I’ve got this!’ So thank YOU!’
Jo reassured me that I totally do HAVE this. And she is so right. We need to tell ourselves, in order to believe it 😉
If my words, or this exercise itself, might be helpful to you – this is why I have shared it.
Much love to you, mama!
🌼Who did you have at your birth & why?
My husband, my midwife and her assistant. We had two midwives as we planned to birth at home… but things ended up in the operating room, due to an obstructed labour, so we had a large number of attendees in the end. Every single one of them were a joy to have around me – all I remember is impeccable professionalism, happy smiling faces, and how obvious it was that everyone was there to help me.
🌼How did you prepare your birth partner for birth?
He prepared himself! He read all the books and articles I read, after me. He came to all my midwife appointments (I felt him getting on with our midwife was equally as important as me getting on with her), we took hypnobirthing classes as well as practicing hypnobirthing exercises together before bed (often we would be giggling away and couldn’t calm down – but always we felt relaxed, so we felt we were nailing it!), and the best thing was the pregnancy massage course of Jo’s which we took – he got me through many hours of labour with his hands, before I needed extra help (drugs!!).
🌼How important is language in pregnancy and birth?
One of the things I loved about hypnobirthing was how contractions were referred to as “surges.” This subtle language change was incredible in terms of how I viewed labour.
🌼How would you describe your care providers?
Knowledgable, experienced, professional, and deeply caring.
🌼What did you do in the lead up to birth to celebrate your amazing body?
I enjoyed pregnancy yoga classes, massages, and splurged on a professional photo shoot – it was wonderful to celebrate my body in that way. I loved the way my body looked carrying my baby, and have those photos to cherish forever.
🌼How did you surrender to birth?
I distinctly remember the moment I truly surrendered to birth. It was when I ended up in hospital – 48 hours after my waters broke and 12 hours after my natural labour stalled. I needed to be given antibiotics, and to have baby monitored for a while – but we didn’t even take hospital bags with us as we were still convinced we’d be going home to have our baby! But then we had some scary moments of sudden decelerations in baby’s heart rate (<60bpm) whenever I moved into certain positions – after a flurry of doctors and discussions it was deemed I would be staying put. My midwife, normally the picture of calm professionalism, looked at me in a way that urged me ‘I must do whatever is needed for baby, now.’ I surrendered. I knew we needed help, and I was fully open to the guidance of the medical staff. I believed I was in safe hands. Thereafter all I needed to do was breathe.
🌼 Top tip for staying in your birthing bubble?
In the build up, read positive birth stories and watch calm birthing videos. There are SO many out there. Share everything you are feeling with your partner and midwife, and let them be there for you. If you are having a baby shower (do!), be mindful of who you invite and surround yourself only with positive/like-minded people. And when your labour does begin – only your birth partner and midwife need know. Turn your phones off and leave the outside world behind.
🌼Your best tip for labour?
Breathe, breathe, breathe. No matter what happens – whether everything goes as naturally and smoothly as can be, or if you need medical help and intervention – all you need to do is breathe. Trust that you are capable of making this journey – because you are! ❤️
🌼What was the best moment of your birth?
When I was wheeled into the operating theatre and my surgeon asked for the radio to be put on – Lighthouse Family’s ‘High’ started to play and I will never forget that moment. I could cry whenever I remember it! “When you’re close to tears remember, some day it’ll all be over, one day we’re gonna get so high…” And before I knew it, he was here. And high doesn’t come close.
🌼What were you most proud of?
The healthy, strong, beautiful little boy I brought into this world. I remember looking at him that first night and thinking ‘he’s mine’ – not in a sense of ownership, but in a sense of achievement.
🌼What did you learn most about yourself?
That I am a perfectionist! Not in a good way! :-/ But also that I am self-aware and courageous enough to look honestly at myself and learn from my mistakes.
🌼What surprised you most about giving birth?
Birth itself! It feels like magic to be honest – but it’s all us 😊
🌼What were your early postpartum days were like?
A real shock. It had been a long labour and difficult delivery. It was almost like having an out of body experience for a few days – I was somewhere deep inside this shell, and I felt very timid of my own body. I couldn’t believe my baby had been inside me – that surely some kind of magic had happened between my last day of pregnancy and their birth! Breastfeeding was confusing. And it was overwhelming to realise that the work was just beginning. I felt so broken and unsure. I cried a lot and my family held me. But they were also the happiest days of my life. Pure love and wonder and a sense of there being no other place for me than right here.
🌼Would you / did you do anything different in subsequent births?
I have the same midwife, but a much more realistic mindset than the first time. I think overall I have less expectations. What will be will be. And it will all be Ok.
🌼What surprised you most about becoming a mother?
That it’s not always joyful! You will cry and scream and rage and hurt sometimes. But you’ll take it all in your stride.
🌼What was the hardest adjustment when becoming a mother?
The demands of breastfeeding and not getting solid blocks of sleep for a while – that was a really hard adjustment. But soon those days are over and you are no longer breastfeeding and you’re sleeping through the night again, and you’ll remember those hard days with nothing but fondness.
🌼How did your birth make you the amazing Mum you are?
It taught me that it’s not just about me, anymore – it’s about what’s best for him.
🌼What has your child taught you?
Patience (a work in progress!), and to let my words of love be louder than anything else.
🌼Your advice for other mums to be?
There will always be someone ready to judge you, no matter what choices you make. So stay true to what’s best for your family, and don’t feel the need to explain or justify yourself to anyone else.