We are super excited to have a new contributor on board. Shani is a very Sassy Midwife and founder of Hatched (a complete pregnancy and childbirth service that covers everything from prenatal classes to lactation support) and is here to de-mystify and guide us through the whole pregnancy process – starting with these pointers on how best to prepare to be prepared!
Is knowing all I can about my pregnancy and birth approach, or is “the less I know better” the best method when it comes to birth?
When you are up high on a mountain, or even on a ladder, everyone always tells you, “Don’t look down!” And what do we all do? Facing the unknown can be a scary thing.
However when it comes to pregnancy, labour birth, or the postnatal period (the 4th trimester as it is known), knowledge really is power. Knowing what to expect from your body, from your doctor, from your baby are all things that will help you become prepared for the might and might nots.
Preparation should not be about strict planning. This is where many first time mothers fall into the rabbit hole of confusion, stress, fear and sometimes false expectations.
When you become pregnant two things are true:
- Suddenly everyone has an opinion or labour story they want to share ( be it good bad or ugly)
- The information you do gather can be completely and utterly contradictory.
So where do you go? Who do you listen to? Well my mother used to always tell me, “We have two ears on either side of our heads for listening to two sides of a story, and we have a brain in the middle to work out what is best for us.” And as a midwife, I’ve realised there’s no better advice for pregnant women.
Gather information on your birth or how to care for your baby, like a mother bird gathers soft twigs to make her nest.
Let your information be nurturing, encouraging. Ensure the sources of your information sound reasonable, listen to the things that match your life and lifestyle and zone out to the chatter that seems negative. Never absorb the definitive “never do this or never do thats” from people because unless they want to push the baby out for you, they can zip it!
Have “preferences” rather than plans, have backups in place, not black and whites.
It is impossible to “plan” something that you have not experienced before, or that has so much do with another little person (who will tend to be the boss of most things for a while to come!)
Don’t forget to include your husband, support person and doctor in your research process, as they will be vital in helping to increase your feelings of support and empowerment.
When your head is spinning, trust your gut. You’ll be surprised at how early your mothering intuitions and instinct forms. Trust in what feels right for you and absorb all that information to get prepared for your special time. If hypnobirthing sounds like a good fit for you, then search for supportive classes for your and your birth partner…if you are more the type that would like a latte with a side order of epidural, then ask your doctor about how this may work for you.
Be true to your self and your needs, look down from that mountain, release your fears and start enjoying the view.