preparing for labour and birth
born in the water, she’s still completely content when immersed
My need to actively prepare for labour has, I admit, been completely non-existent – an entirely different experience to my first and second pregnancies. With Che I was incredibly focussed on what I thought was active, concentrated preparation; I read all the books, did all the courses, listened to all the CDs and anxiously waited like a typical first time mum. Poet’s pregnancy was different, of course, and I prepared with a little more faith and a lot less fear. I attended a weekly yoga class, taught my pre-natal students up until 38 weeks and immersed myself in all the natural birthing books I could, seeking wisdom from the likes of Ina May Gaskin, Janet Balaskas, Sarah Buckley and Gowri Motha.
But this time around, life is significantly busier. I spend so much time in the present – parenting, working, going about the day-to-day – that I’ve had little time to focus on what’s right ahead of me. Surprisingly, it’s been very refreshing. For someone that has anxious tendencies and likes to know what’s coming next, I’ve been relishing in trusting that what will be, will be.
Whilst I haven’t read any birthing books, watched any documentaries or attended any courses, I have been preparing in small, subtle ways. My daily ocean swim has been an opportunity to dive into the quiet and escape the chatter of little people; there is personal space in the sea and the bliss of weightlessness and cool. I often float on my back and look up to the sky, my ears under the water so all I can hear are the waves and whilst it may only last for a few minutes, it’s an opportunity to be calm and still; a meditation, of sorts.
In moments of doubt and fear, I come back to my birth intention – a simple sentence that is both a positive affirmation and a personal reassurance. I have no birth plans or desires…instead I’m open to accepting this birth experience, whatever it may be, and trusting that Daniel and I will do it together – regardless of who is with us and where we are*.
Perhaps after two births, seven years of teaching pregnant women, and endless discussions about contractions, labour and pushing, there is a part of me that is exhausted by the conversation. This time, I’ve stayed away from all the chatter and have been content with knowing that regardless of how I prepare, labour and birth is inevitable. In Rumi’s words:
*I am booked into the low-risk birth unit at my local hospital – the same place I birthed Poet. Thankfully, I have the same wonderful midwife that attended Poet’s birth and I have the upmost trust and faith in her. There is a big, beautiful bath in each birthing suite so I hope to use it, at some stage.
Was your birth preparation different for each pregnancy? I’d love to know.