GIVING BIRTH FOR THE FIRST TIME – FROM ELECTIVE C SECTION TO HOME BIRTH!
First time mums! How are you feeling about giving birth? Are you nervous / anxious / scared? Or confident and excited?
When I was pregnant for the first time I was absolutely TERRIFIED of giving birth! I had heard nothing but horror stories from everyone around me, seen nothing but dramatic horrible births on TV and in films, and magazines seemed full of celebrities talking about their ’30 hours of labour hell’ or similar.
I was adamant that I would not be putting myself through what seemed like unnecessary torture when I could opt for a c section instead and go for the known rather than the unknown.
I watched tons of c section videos on you tube and I was convinced that it was the more sensible way to go. At least there was an element of control of the whole process, plus the doctors did that operation every day so they knew what they were doing.
About half way through my pregnancy at an appointment with my midwife, I asked them when we needed to get the ball rolling for an elective c section and she looked at me in shock, completely taken aback! She declared that I couldn’t just have a c section, I would need a good reason. Well I DID have a good reason: I had tokophobia and when I explained this, and she could see me becoming panicky and emotional as I told her how frightened I was of giving birth, she softened and said that it was possible to opt for an elective c section but I would need to have some counselling first. I told her I was up for counselling and any other hoops they required me to jump through to get my c section! I was determined to birth my baby MY WAY. I left the appointment feeling relieved and elated! PHEW! I wasn’t going to be subjected to hours and hours of labour hell!
My sister in law, also pregnant at the time, suggested that I consider hypnobirthing which I had never heard of! I was totally suspicious and sceptical at first, didn’t really understand it and couldn’t believe that it could make any difference.
Then I did a bit of research and to my amazement started finding stories of women all around the world who had hypnobirthed their babies and ENJOYED IT!!! Not only that but some of them had birthed their babies WITHOUT DRUGS and WITHOUT PAIN!!
How could this possibility of a pain-free drug-free birth exist alongside my belief of a traumatic, excruciatingly painful and horrific birth? But then something started to shift in my mind – the realisation that they couldn’t all be lying? This couldn’t be a global conspiracy to lie to first time mums and tell them that birth CAN actually be pain free, you CAN do it without drugs and it CAN be enjoyable?
There must be something in this?
I was hooked on hope and possibility and then funnily enough saw an advert for The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme so I booked us on to it not knowing what to expect! In my mind I was still adamant that I wanted a c section but I was curious to know more about how I could stay calm and relaxed. I did feel anxious at the thought of having major surgery so I was hopeful that I would emerge from the course feeling more confident overall.
Hubby and I started Class One as Mr & Mrs Sceptical. Sure, I had heard people saying ‘you have to breathe through your contractions’ but I had no idea why or how or what difference it would make.
Over the four weeks we attended the classes we went from Mr & Mrs Sceptical planning an elective c section to Mr & Mrs Converted and planning a home birth!
The transformation in my thinking and confidence in my ability to birth was INCREDIBLE! My friends joked saying we had been brainwashed but that was totally fine with me if it meant that instead of feeling TERRIFIED of giving birth I was actually EXCITED!
And in a way, I guess it was brainwashing in a positive way – positive conditioning to counteract all the damaging negative conditioning about birth that I had been subjected to over the years! The mp3s that we listened to every night contained positive affirmations and phrases about birth that helped me to feel more relaxed, confident, calm and in control.
We learned how to create our own birth plan, something many told me not to bother with as ‘it all goes out the window and you have to go with the flow’. But birth planning is not about planning how your birth will go from start to finish. It is about clarifying what is important to you every step of the way so that you feel able to own your birth and make decisions that feel right for you. This left me feeling fully informed about my choices which was empowering.
Learning about the science behind the programme: how our bodies work during labour and how I could help myself to stay in a calm and relaxed state by breathing, focusing and visualising – was especially powerful and helped me to feel like I was completely equipped and armed with all the tools and techniques I needed!
And finally, learning what my hubby could do on the day to support me was amazing! We felt more like a team doing this together rather than the daunting prospect of having to do all the hard work on my own. It turned out he had a HUGE part to play on the day and there were LOADS of things he could do to support me! I had no idea!
Our friends and family couldn’t believe the transformation in our mindset and were amazed that we were planning a home birth! After our baby was born, I felt like I had learned SOOOO much about myself and the process of birth and I felt COMPELLED to spread the word about this incredible course!
I felt that ALL women and couples had to know about The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme! I wanted them to know that they didn’t have to feel terrified of birth! There was another way to feel and prepare for birth!
So I trained to become an antenatal teacher and started teaching The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme in my town, Saffron Walden & surrounding areas.
I have now been teaching the course for nearly three years. Sometimes it is easy to forget just how scared and alone I felt as a first-time mum-to-be. There seemed to be a HUGE lack of education and support when I was pregnant to prepare mums for birth and motherhood.
I am now doing everything I can to fill that gap!
My passion is to ensure that all the women I teach feel confident, empowered, equipped for birth and excited to meet their babies!
I also wanted to offer my clients MORE than just teaching them how to prepare for their baby’s birth. I wanted to offer them more education about motherhood, more support, more resources and a sense of community. I wanted to support them on their whole journey from pregnancy to parenthood.
So I set up ‘The Mother Side’ and it offers all of the above and more!
When clients book on to The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme with me, they also receive:
- Ongoing coaching and support up until their baby is born and for the 6 weeks following – to ensure they feel supported through their whole journey from pregnancy to parenthood.
- Access to additional classes, information and resources to enhance their learning.
- A chance to become part of a local community of lovely friendly mums and mums-to-be, through the free weekly mums & bumps meet-ups which I run in Saffron Walden. (We also have meet ups running in Great Dunmow & Cambridge!)
- FREE taster sessions at the Mother Side Meet ups on pregnancy, birth and motherhood hosted by our guest speakers who attend regularly. (This week we are joined by Naomi Smith who will be talking to us all about Chinese Medicine and how it can support you during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period!)
- Access to THE most supportive Facebook group around for mums and mums-to-be! Come and join us in The Mother Side group where you will find lots of friendly and supportive mums and mums-to-be!
- We also have lots of pregnancy, birth and parenting specialists in the group who can provide reliable information and support on all things pregnancy, birth and beyond!
- FREE live weekly antenatal and postnatal classes every Monday in The Mother Side group, where you can learn more on how to prepare for birth and motherhood! You can find links to the replays to some of our previous workshops in our online learning centre.
So, if you are reading this as a mum-to-be who is feeling scared, anxious or terrified of giving birth, or perhaps a new mum who is feeling isolated, vulnerable and not sure where to turn to for advice – PLEASE KNOW that you are NOT alone and there is LOTS of support available!
The Mother Side is here to support you every step of the way!
You don’t have to just HOPE that you are lucky enough to have a positive birth experience – there are LOADS of things that you can do to prepare for one!
If you want to join the upcoming Wise Hippo Birthing Programme starting NEXT WEEK in both Saffron Walden and in Great Dunmow you can find more details and book your place here.
We have lots more exciting things coming your way soon from The Mother Side but if we can do anything else in the meantime to support you on your journey from pregnancy to parenthood please do let us know! 😊
Lots of love, hugs and positive birthing vibes,