The Thing About Birth

I’m pregnant. As I type this I am aware of a precious little person moving around in my swelling tummy. It’s such a strange feeling, but so primally comforting too.

My sons were delivered by cesarean. “That’s strange,” said my Doctor “I never would have picked you as a cesarean kind of person.” I’m not sure who a cesarean kind of person is, but I can see his point. The idea of birth has always been joyous to me, the idea of labour empowering rather than frightening. I passionately want to birth my babies naturally.

But now, as I plan my third delivery- which will hopefully wont be through the sunroof this time – I’m feeling grateful. Those births, so different to how I’d imagined them, gave me not just babies but a better understanding of myself.

I’ve learned that denying fear doesn’t make it go away.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to be afraid and it’s only when you can look at that fear without shame or panic that it begins to fall away.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to trust your way. If you need to just let go, do. If you need information, get it. If you need to control, that’s ok.

I’ve learned that birth matters. As a society we spend too much time telling new mothers how “lucky” they are after difficult deliveries and not enough time saying “how are you?”

I’ve learned that there’s nothing I can do to guarantee how a birth will turn out, but I can surround myself with joy and support.

I’ve learned that being informed, educated and empowered about childbirth and how the body works is essential.

I’ve learned that I know myself, my body and my baby far better than any care provider.

I’ve learned to trust my intuition.

I’ve learned that bonding happens differently for everyone, and every birth. Sometimes you fall in love instantly, sometimes slowly. Both are beautiful in different ways.

I’ve learned that birth makes you braver than you thought you could be – then motherhood kicks your butt and you get braver still.

I’ve learned that this will pass. Be it a beautiful afternoon, a dizzying case of morning sickness, a painful contraction or a sleepless night with a crying baby. It will all pass.

I’ve learned not to worry too much about what ‘they’ say. Be it well meaning advice, statistics or stories. Trust what you feel in the silence between thoughts and rationalizations. You know your truth better than anyone.

I don’t know how this birth will go. That’s strangely freeing to admit. My first pregnancy I was awash with images of what I’d convinced myself would be the perfect birth. My second I was sure that if I just did all the right things it would go perfectly.

This time I don’t know. And I love how ok I am with that. Instead I feel peaceful that my baby knows how to be born and I trust myself to allow it to happen as it’s meant to.

Cesarean’s often get referred to as the “easy way out” and I can tell you they’re not, but then again, no birth is. Each birth changes us in its own way. As my baby girl kicks against my sides I feel excited… I wonder what she has in store.