Finding peace, joy, and trust in your birth is critical for achieving a purposeful experience. But when do we begin the process? I urge every woman to have the mindset of “birth on purpose.” Whether you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or even just beginning to have thoughts of pregnancy in the back of your mind, you can instill in yourself the view of birth as a purposeful and meaningful life experience.
Equip yourself with knowledge about birth.
1. Read Birth Stories
A fun and inspiring way to ease into this is reading birth stories. Here at Nashville Doula Services, we post a motivational birth story every Monday. The Birth Without Fear blog is another amazing resource to read about every kind of birth imaginable. If you are on the go and can’t sit down to read birth stories, try the podcast The Birth Hour. Whether you are listening or reading, imagine yourself in the stories you are consuming. Did you feel empowered, joyful, transformed? This is all possible in birth and you will begin to believe that for yourself as you read. We would also encourage you to find people in your life who had positive birth experiences and ask them to share their story with you. This is not the time to hear about people’s birth trauma or emergency stories. While you are pregnant, fill your thoughts with positive stories.
2. Read Childbirth Books
Once you have read several birth stories and you’re looking for a more comprehensive source of information, you’ll want to read a few books and watch some movies on birth. We recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth to everyone! Ina May Gaskin is a renowned midwife. Her book is a wealth of knowledge about birth and she even includes some birth stories. Another book we suggest every woman and her partner read is The Birth Partner by Penny Simpkin. This book is easy to read and understand and even has a birth cheat sheet for partners to reference during labor. Two movies we recommend to everyone is The Business of Being Born and More Business of Being Born (the sequel). These movies by Ricki Lake give an insider look on birth in today’s society.
3. Watch Birth Videos
After reading and watching these recommendations, we suggest watching some actual birth videos. The Internet is a vast place, but there are some gems in the midst. Birth videos allow you to see what it’s actually like to give birth. Our very own, Merrill, shares the home birth of her daughter. This Vimeo page by Ceci Jane has several amazing birth videos. This YouTube channel by Natasha Hance has many videos and slideshows of a variety of birth stories.
4. Take a Childbirth Class
If you are already pregnant and you have hired your doula, consider taking a childbirth class. There are so many options out there it can get confusing! Check out this quiz to help you break down and weigh out your options between Lamaze, HypnoBirthing, and Bradley Method. If those options don’t fully appeal to you, or you have limited time, a one day intensive class or a private in-home class might be a great choice! Whether you go with a six week program or a one day crash course, a comprehensive out of hospital childbirth class will give you and your partner that extra boost of confidence during labor.
Soaking up all of this knowledge about birth will give you an excitement for labor. Ina May once said, “Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, we recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” This “habit” of positivity begins in your mind. Read and watch everything you can about having a purposeful birth. You won’t regret it when it comes time to labor and bring your precious new one earth side.