Someone asked me recently if I could boil my birth career down to five tips for pregnant people (and after I freaked out and said, “but there’s SO MANY!”), I got my thoughts together and put Daddy in charge of the kids while I wrote the tips that I wish someone had told me four babies and many (full) moons ago…
1. Set the Tone
You know how you custom tailored your wedding (even if you eloped), so it felt most like “you”? What if I told you that you could do that for your birth experience as well? (YOU SO CAN.) Just like you picked your venue, bridesmaids and 80’s tunes you boogied to all night – you can select the places, people and care you receive during your birth. The choices abound; OB or midwife, birth center or hospital, meds or au natural, MIL or doula in the room, to shave or not to shave – you get the point. Make the choices for your birth that represent you, your values and what experience you’d like to shape. The day (or night) you give birth is a moment that you’ll never forget. And taking the time to tailor that experience to reflect who you are makes your most momentous endeavor – that much more meaningful.
2. Manifesting, meet Action Steps
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you’ve heard that manifesting your desired reality is achievable and completely in your own hands. Spoiler alert – this applies to your birth experience as well. Accomplishing said reality is actually a two step process; having a positive mindset on constant repeat stating your intentions/desires/dreams AND taking the action steps towards your reality. How does a modern mama do such a thing?! Pinteresting, obvi. (Pinterest just achieved verb status by the way.) All jokes aside, find whatever you’re drawn to to create a birth vision as unique as you are. Journaling, reading, shared stories, meditating, etc. are all great ideas as well. Once your desired vision is set, incorporate baby steps (pun intended) to achieve your unique vision as often as you can. Education and support from people that have walked this path before you is key here. Don’t be confused about this by your coworker that did very little to shape her birth and ended up having “the best experience”. Because 1000 times over you’ll find that the people that created (aka manifested) their experiences through their own positive mindsets fused with strategic action steps – became magnets for their own desired visions and realities. All of this can (and should) be applied to your postpartum – and life, as well.
3. No Solo Trekking Here
Nowhere in the history of histories did women walk this rite of passage into motherhood alone – but in modern busy times you can feel isolated while pregnant, which is just really really sad and makes me want to reach out and hug you. Create your own community – and think outside the box to do so. Your family and social circles are obvious places to start but the possibilities are endless here; online or in-person pregnancy groups, prenatal yoga classes, faith groups, doulas and birth consultants, alternative baby showers, etc. Having your curated tribe support and uplift you when you do the most magical and honorable act of bringing forth life – is priceless. They’re your very own cheerleading squad in a game with no winning or losing – just love and support and a “you can do this” even when you feel like you can’t. They pull double therapist duty for you as fear acknowledgers while simultaneously reminding you to believe in yourself like they know you believe in them. I’m telling you – the right people are the missing crucial pieces to the puzzle you didn’t know you were inevitably creating. Also worth noting? Said lovely people will deliver meals when you’re postpartum and hungry as a horse while nursing/caring for baby 24/7 – I so miss that while swinging through Chik-fil-A for my kids, again. People, find your people, they’re out there. Pinky promise while (pregnant) belly dancing.
4. Skill Sets for Life
One myth I see pop up in pregnancy circles and conversations frequently is that the time, money and energy spent preparing for birth is only for “one day”. Eight hundred other things seem more important than spending time for “this one day”. (Did I mention that many people spend more time researching the car they’re gonna buy than preparing for having a baby?! – But I digress.) Simply put, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Educating yourself on your miraculous growing body and what is does throughout labor and birth, AND learning how to communicate your needs and desires to your care team – are BOTH life-long nuggets you will use time and again. Need proof? Once you have your baby (congrats!) you will have pressing physical needs to understand what your body is doing to feed your baby and (surprise!) your baby will have a care team, too – and she relies on you 100% to be her voice, advocate and decision maker in her care. Practice on yourself, perfect it for baby (and beyond). Investing in your birth is investing in your forever new life. Period.
5. Leverage Modern Tools
We’re lucky that we’re alive during a time in history when we can share, learn and grow from one another through the internet. Let’s not take that for granted. Now I know that the wrong information on creepyscarystories dot com can be a not so good thing, but if you find the gems that I know exist out there, it can be muy importante in shaping your entire birth and parenthood experience. How rad is it that no matter where you live you can learn as much as you’d like, and, in turn, share your experiences with others so they can learn from you? Just think about that for a moment. A few hundred years ago your education, inspiration, network and shared experiences were your immediate village. Without a cart, buggy and horse (which sounds like WAY too much work for me), that was it. We are fortunate. Stories abound. Human experiences abound. Share them. Find your own path. Heck, carve your own path. Just as important – get support when you need it, especially when your own village just isn’t cutting it. Ms.World Wide Web is connecting us all in a way that has never been possible before. She is revolutionizing modern motherhood. And I love her for it.
Looking for assistance with any of the above topics? Just need a pun-intended pregnancy joke? Pop on over to ArrowBirth.com for all your education and consulting needs in pregnancy, birth, postpartum, lactation, and s’more.