"So, you're a doula? That's like a midwife, right?"
August 22, 2017
Prayer for Transition
October 15, 2014
How to identify a supportive care provider?
September 5, 2017
What Will Motivate You for Your Best Birth?
November 11, 2011
After you have researched birth options, taken a childbirth class, many families have summed up some sort of plan for their birth. This plan is often full of goals and desires for their birth. You see many people put a lot of investment and time into these plans. Some people just get one finished for the heck of it, and some people just wing it. Most people don't go in without having had many a daydream about the day they will deliver, though. People who spend time forums can vouch that many women will spend months discussing their plans together. It is a nesting ritual of sorts. It's not a bad thing, as a matter of a fact, I think it's great to be prepared for your birth. I think one thing that needs to be addressed is your motivation. What is motivating your goals and desires?
I have some clients who come in and they see pictures of water birth, they have watched the Youtube videos, and so they say they want a water birth, "because it looks nice." Yes, it is very nice. It's amazing, actually. But really, what is going to motivate you to make it happen, other than "It looks nice"? I have other clients who come in and they want to have an epidural birth. They feel they have nothing to prove, and want the medicine. They feel it's not necessary to "withstand the pain when there is medicine for that." I can understand that, but what is your motivation really? Is it based out of fear? Is fear going to get you through the hard times? What type of motivation will help you when the going gets tough? How can you use that to guide your birth plan?
Ultimately, labor is work. It's hard work. It's not terrible. It's tremendous. But it's work. It doesn't matter if you are laboring standing up, if your hypnotized, if you are in the water, or even if you have an epidural. Labor is hard work. We think we know why we want the things we want. But when it comes to your birth plan and your labor goals, it's good for us to really look at each want and desire and ask ourselves, "WHY?" "Why do I want a natural childbirth?" "Why do I want to labor in the water?" "Why do I want an epidural?"
My personal motivation was deeply intertwined with many many things. It was different with each child. I had an epidural in my plans for the first out of naivety and fear. I had nothing in my plans for my second. I had a few hopes but they weren't really well thought out. But with my third, I wanted a natural birth. My "Why" for my third child was born out of knowing what a woman's body is capable of. I had been around natural childbirth more, as a doula. It wasn't as scary as I painted it out to be in my imagination. But ultimately, there were religious reasons for my "Why". After really studying about childbirth, I saw what an amazing design it was, and I believed in it's Creator. There are so many things that go into the experience and function of labor and birth, they were so finely created, and I did not want to intervene with that unless there was an emergency. It was this reason that I drew on during the end of my pregnancy and during my labor when things got hard. There was a point in my labor when I was tired and scared, right before I pushed my baby out. I was so glad to have some grounding in my reason for doing what I was doing. It helped me know that it was possible. It gave me courage.
I see many moms hit a breaking point. During that point, knowing what is motivating you becomes handy. It's hard to have rational thought during contractions. We get crazy notions in our heads sometimes during contractions. It's good to really know why you are doing what you are doing. For some families, this moment is in transition, for other their it happens during pushing, and for others it happens while they are trying to remain perfectly still while they receive an epidural. Knowing your "why" can help motivate you if things are different than you expected. Having a good reason "why" you want to skip the epidural will help you feel less like a failure if you end up with one.
This is one of those times that doulas often come in handy. You don't have to have a doula to become familiar with your birth goals and your motivations. But we are great at helping you get in touch with them. It is our job to understand where you are coming from in efforts to help support you better. There is nothing better than seeing a parent realize something new about themselves and their family at our postpartum visits when we are reviewing their birth story. One of my main goals is knowing how to help families no matter what type of birth they hope to achieve, and because every birth is different we can be thrown many curve balls. I strive to help parents feel great about their choices no matter what the outcomes are. It breaks my heart to have a person look poorly on their birth experience with their children; it stays with them for the rest of their life.
That is one of my main motivations in helping mothers know "Why" you want the birth that you want. If you are like me, when I was pregnant with my second child and very little direction about what I wanted, then I would say it is worth giving it some thought. Considering the reason for your birth choices might change how you feel about your whole experience in the end.