Our culture depicts birth through a filter of fear and pain, which makes it always seem scary and emergent. But what if we change this notion of birth to one that can be a positive experience full of peace, trust, and joy?
Birth can be peaceful. You can feel safe.
Birth can be joyful. You can be excited during labor.
Birth can be transformative. You can overcome challenges that you never thought possible.
However, this idea of a ‘birth on purpose’ can lead to people thinking a positive experience is only one where everything goes according to your birth plan, a quick and easy labor with no complications at all. Although this would certainly make for a wonderful birth, this is not the situation that most parents experience. Birth plans do change, birth is unpredictable, and all the preparations you make will not necessarily guarantee certain interventions from happening or not happening. So we want to redefine what it means to birth on purpose.
We encourage you to be intentional with these 3 elements of your birth:
1. Your birthing environment.
Regardless of the type of birth, every experience allows for adjusting the birthing environment. Whether you birth at home, in a birth center, in a labor and delivery room, or in an operating room – you can influence the atmosphere. This can be done through music, aroma, and physical touch, like massage. You can decide if you want to welcome your baby to be born to your pump-it-up music, your favorite ballad, or no music at all. You can create an environment of peace and comfort by using essential oils or your favorite lotion
Pro tip: Place a drop of your favorite essential oil on a cotton ball to place by your face during a C-section.
Another way to bring peace into your birthing experience is by being intentional about choosing your support team. You know best if your partner, best friend, family member, or a professional doula will help calm you through the unknowns of birth. And you might find that you want all of them by your side. For a C-section you might not be able to have more than one support person but you can have the rest of your support team with you during preparations and immediately after birth if that is something that would bring you comfort. Think about what atmosphere you want to create to welcome your baby and who would be best to help you create that environment.
2. Your care provider.
Because you cannot control the journey your birth takes, we strongly encourage parents to pick a care provider that you trust wholeheartedly. What this will do for your birth experience is eliminate fear that your provider will unnecessarily intervene. When you trust your provider and you understand what routine-practice is for them, you can take your birth plan and all the preparations that you made and you can surrender them to the process. This will allow you to be fully present and receptive to what your baby’s unique birth journey will bring. Think about what characteristics and practices you want from the person who will be walking this journey with you.
Pro tip: Check out our blogs on choosing the right care provider and questions to ask when interviewing.
3. Your attitude.
Once those first contractions start, you decide how you will embrace this labor. You have the choice to choose how you will respond to the demands placed on you physically and emotionally. You have the power to choose joy and patience and to celebrate your child’s arrival and their unique birth story. And if your plans change, it is ok to grieve the birth you were wanting and to need time to process the experience after the birth, but we encourage you to be present and allow yourself to be open to your baby’s birth as it unfolds. Although it is an intense journey, it a moment in time that will transform your life forever as you welcome a new life into this world.
Pro tip: Write out 10 birth affirmations that you will use to help center and remind you of your desires for this birth. Example: “I am about to meet my baby” or “I am not alone” or “This is my baby’s story”
No two births are alike. The unknowns of birth can be really challenging to face regardless of whether it is your first baby or 3rd baby. But you can experience peace, trust, and joy when you choose to birth on purpose.