Yesterday, I shared a bit about becoming a doula and the path that God has had me on as a result. I wanted to articulate that here, because it feeds so much into how we are now making choices as we prepare to birth, parent and raise our own child. Over the course of the past few years, I’ve learned a lot about childbirth–the preparation, the process, labor and delivery and postpartum care. I’ve read books and had conversations, Googled a bunch and taken classes, and seen birth firsthand in several scenarios–each of them different and each of them, beautiful. Since then, I’ve walked through all but the last six weeks of pregnancy, and have gotten my own crash course in becoming a mom, just as every other mom has done before me.
Naturally, the minute I thought I was pregnant, my awareness of everything changed. I considered each meal and activity and emotion with great intention…How will this affect the baby as it grows? Is this OK for the baby? What does the baby feel right now? With the same intentionality, I read more, asked more, learned more and processed more about birth than I ever have before.
There are so many things to consider when you’re expecting, and as soon as your belly become apparent, it’s a rare occasion that anyone in your daily life–whether you’ve known them for years or never seen them before, will leave you without having imparted some type of wisdom or commentary. Some of this can be very helpful; the encouragement, excitement and thoughtful tips can really enhance one’s pregnancy throughout. On the flip side, I’ve discovered that pregnancy not only calls for a great deal of learning and self-education, but it also begs for a gigantic filter.
If I took in every last comment and bit of harrowing “wisdom” that has come my way in the past 8 months, I would likely be hiding somewhere in a hole, potentially rocking myself back and forth out of fear and willing this baby never to come out. People say the strangest things. And based on their personal experiences or the experiences of those around them, they share their most horrific story, make their most shocking observation or insist on their innate abilities to predict everything about the very small, developing human being that’s tucked inside of you.
For an expectant, possibly hormonal and certainly introspective mother, this can either be great inspiration to seek out all of the information that best pertains to her personality, belief system, and way of thinking, or it can be a deathly blow to the eventual success and uniqueness of her own labor and delivery experience. I have become passionate about this fact, and about our ability to support and secure the best possible outcome for a new mom, her partner and their new baby. Along this journey, I have worked harder and harder to block out every stereotype, cliché and negative anecdote about birth and the birth process. Why? Because I believe that birth, like breathing or blinking, is something that our bodies are inherently created to do. [Insert gasp if desired]. And when we entertain fear, anticipate pain, build up negative expectation or speak hardship over ourselves and the events in our life, we do nothing to improve the possibility of things turning out a different way.
I know at this point in this post, it is probably easy for many reading it to think, “Just wait. You haven’t done this before, and you’ll see. It’s a whole different ball game when you’re actually in labor.” And I’m not going to begrudge anyone that opinion at all. You’re absolutely right. I’ve never done this before. Which is exactly why I am eager to prepare myself as best as I possibly can, and to approach this upcoming event with all of the elements in place that I believe will help me to have an amazing, peaceful birth as we welcome our first baby into the world.
This is probably a good stopping point for today, but I’m excited to share more about why I feel this way in my next entry. I’m glad to be able to dialogue here because I want to remember this process well. I also hope that in some way, it will empower someone else as they prepare to become a mom, or as they support someone in their life who is becoming a mom for the first time.
Thanks for sticking with me, and for hearing my heart.
increasingly excited and aware,