I am struggling to think about where this last year has gone, I know we all say that time is going by so quickly and you know I think it goes even quicker when you have children, but that is another blog in itself.
This time last year exactly to the day I was 37 weeks pregnant with my fourth beautiful 10lb 13 oz baby girl. I was practising my HypnoBirthing and preparing for the most relaxed birth experience where I felt empowered, and I believed so much in my body's capability to birth. I had decided to have 3 birth partners.......my husband, my mom and my best friend and my reasons for having these people were all different. I knew that choosing these people were not just about inviting them for their benefit but it was about my benefit. By this I mean just because my mom is mom doesn't mean she would be very good for me during birth. Likewise with my husband and best friend. No, I knew that these people had to have qualities, skills and a good attitude to support me and do what I needed them to do.
So what is it these people could offer me:
My Husband: my lover, the father of my children, the man who nurtures me and encourages my growth as a person had to be there. He doesn't say a lot which is fine as I didn't need him to, but as a physical stance for me to hug, hang on and hold me is immense because it means something. its powerful and perfect especially if connect with your man this way. I also know he has up most confidence in me and my capabilities.
My Mom: my rock, my best friend, the woman who gave birth to me and listens to me rabbit on everyday, the most unique trustworthy relationship ever. This woman believes in my capability, she nurtures me and affirms my confidence throughout my whole life, she and my father (who also I might add would be an amazing birth partner) has always supported me through everything as a child and even as an adult. My mom brings me joy, comfort and support for my husband.
My Best Friend: My sounding board, personal confident and excellent at thinking on her feet. She gets my thinking and understands the importance of the decisions I make. She is confident and essential to have around in an emergency.
So they have everything I needed but how can I ensure they know exactly what I want during my birth, how do I know they fully understand my desires and wishes for birthing my baby...........so I decided to arrange a Pre Birth Preparation Meeting. I know to some of you that may sound a little strategic but for me this was serious, I needed my birth partners to know their stations so to speak, I wasn't going in blind so it was only fair that they weren't either. Being aware of my anxiety also meant this was the perfect option for me, because this birth is important, I was birthing my baby, no one else, me, so what I wanted was most important, the healthcare professionals on the day don't know me and what I want for my positive birth experience, but my people (birth partners) do.
So what did we discuss:
I informed them of my birth preferences which I had written and what they meant, we discussed the environment I wanted, that I wanted videos and pictures and who was responsible for that, we discussed what would happen in the event of an emergency ~ who would go where and do what (eg who would stay with me and who would go with baby), I showed them scripts that I wanted reading as well as visuals that I wanted around the room and we had a good discussion about birth as well as addressing any worries that any of us had.
After this meeting I felt ready, I knew they were ready and I knew I had 3 strong people on and by my side that trusted me and were not going to feel intimidated by the maternity healthcare system. They were my advocates and all trusted people who would support me in any decision making I needed to do should I need to during birth.
This whole experience brought me into teaching HypnoBirthing and becoming a Doula. I now offer women and their partners a trusted person (me) to support them through their birth journey as some woman/couples don't have these people around them. I am so honoured to become part of their world and understand their choices for birth as well as be there when they bring new life into the world.
I wrote this because I feel birth partners do have a place in supporting women through birth, I feel that open conversations need to be had so they understand ways of how best to support the birthing woman, rather than turn up on the day and we will wait and see. I believe a birth partner plays a part in the positive birth outcomes for women. Having trust, confidence and knowledge are essential between the birthing mother and all her birth partners.
Top Tip: Follow the birthing mother, trust her mothering instincts and support her decision whatever that maybe. Happy Birthing People!!!!!!