We live in a fast-paced world. We always have something to do, someone to see, trips to take and Facebook or Instagram to fill up the few moments in between (or the bathroom – c’mon, you know I’m right). The problem with this lifestyle is it gives us little – if any – time to add something new. Even if that something new is incredibly important.
So, when you get pregnant, what new activities do you have to squeeze into your over-packed life? Well, the baby needs stuff, right? So you have to go shopping, at least a “few” times (diapers and such). And you’re probably interested in how a whole person will exit your body so you get the basics with an inexpensive, couple-hour hospital class (because hospitals are experts, at birth, right). And then you get back to running to and fro and living your normal life until your little person decides to appear.
What’s wrong with this picture, you ask? Isn’t this what everyone else does?
If you’re a typical American, then yes. But what is wrong with this? Oh so much.
Birth is one of THE pivotal moments in your story. This isn’t just another appointment on your calendar. This is the moment you become a parent. (Of one, two, or more!) And when that happens, everything changes. You have to make decisions that affect another person – possibly for their whole life. You have to trust yourself and your instincts because everyone has a different opinion on every subject. And you have dig down deep, finding strength and courage you never realized you had. That’s because this will be hard; the hardest beginning to any relationship you’ve ever had. And it requires preparation. So here’s what you’ll need:
You need knowledge.
Do you know what NORMAL birth looks like? It’s nothing like the movies. You need to know what activities can prepare you for labor and birth. You need to understand how your body works and what helps it work best! And, you need to fill up your brain with accurate information to force out all the myths and what-ifs! (The best way to do this with an out-of-hospital class!)
You need support.
Your and your partner both need to know how to work together during labor. How to relax, how to cope with the intensity (no one realizes how intense labor actually is), and how to work with your body and not against it. Get a doula! Find a provider who actually supports (not tolerates) normal birth and have lots of conversations about your birth and your situation.
You need centering.
This is not a new-age, hippy-dippy type of centering. Your mind needs to be free of fear. Your emotions must be stable (or as stable as pregnancy hormones can make them). And your spiritual compass must be aligned. I’m a follower of Jesus and I believe God created women to birth babies – in most cases – beautifully and without complication. But, our world and our culture can get in the way of that process. So, don’t allow your frantic pace of living to distract you. Make time to sit calmly and quietly. Think of your baby’s birth as more than a speed bump on the road of life.
And to prepare for your birth, your baby and parenthood:
1. Set aside time every day to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally for your birth.
2. Know what procedures, policies and people can negatively and positively affect your birth and take steps to avoid or implement those TODAY!
3. Hone your instincts for birth – which will help hone your instincts for parenting.
4. Don’t waste time. Every moment is precious as you prepare for your baby’s arrival.