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Don’t Let Birth Fear Ruin Your Birth

A healthy dose of birth fear is fine and normal; it motivates us to put in place what we need to birth. Paralysing, debilitating fear on the other hand is counter productive and it’s those fears that need to be explored safely.⠀

It’s no wonder so many of us carry fear around birth – often from our earliest exposure to it we learn that it’s dangerous, painful and undignified. This basic belief is reinforced over and over again by TV and movies, other women’s traumatic birth stories, the media and a multitude of other influences. There’s very little good stuff going around to balance out the scales, and this is only made worse by the fact that often our very first experience of real birth doesn’t occur until we finally get behind the Secret Walls of the Labour Ward ourselves.⠀

Fear is a funny beast. Where it exists, it will have its way, whether you choose to acknowledge its existence or not. It has a way of sneaking up on you and biting you when you least expect it. Unspoken fear can bleed into every aspect of your birth experience. It can influence your decision making in ways that you’re not even aware of until you start picking those decisions apart after the fact. Whatever it is that frightens you, use the precious time you have in pregnancy to find a way to work through it. Shameless plug – doulas are wonderful at this! A large part of prenatal work with a doula involves identifying and exploring your fears in a safe space, and developing strategies to help you work through them before labour.

Check out an absolutely amazing series of posts over at My Natural Baby Birth with some practical advice on starting this work yourself.  And take a look at my Feel the Fear board over on Pinterest for some inspiration as well!

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Informed Consent - knowing what you don't know | Toowoomba doula

Informed Consent – Knowing What You Don’t Know

One of the scariest things about pregnancy the first time around for me (and even the second time!) was owning my choices.

“Informed consent” is bandied around the birth world like a mantra. But what does that really MEAN when you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant with your first baby, fairly in the dark about the fact that you even have choices, and not confident that you know enough to make those choices responsibly?”

For a lot of us, it means that we leave the decision making to other people by default. It means we decide to “go with the flow”.  It means we give away our power…not because we don’t want it – but because we don’t how to keep it, yet.

Going with the flow leaves us open to good things happening, but all too often in birth it leaves us vulnerable to having an experience that doesn’t respect our babies, or who we are as women. One of the hardest things to get your head around about giving birth in our maternity system for the first time is this:

 

If you don’t make a birth plan or understand that you have choices, your care providers DO have a birth plan for you, and your choices will be made for you.

 

You might be just fine with that. But what if you’re not?

Your birth plan might not ever make it out of your bag, and that’s fine.  Just the process of researching it, of starting to understand where you have choices and what the possible outcomes are – means you go into your birth more prepared than most. For too many of us, it takes dealing with the aftermath of a birth that was nothing like we imagined, to make us realise that the power and the choice always should (and always does) lie with us.

 

 

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