On trusting your instincts, and doing things your way
There is no right or wrong way to give birth, just as there is no right or wrong way to be a parent.
I learnt this the hard way, which is why I’m so passionate about helping others learn it the easy way.
During my first pregnancy I discovered an endless stream of well-wishing advice givers, telling me what was best for me and my baby. Bookshop shelves lined with information on how to enjoy pregnancy, give birth, raise kids. Books filled with advice on everything, from what to eat, to what to do and what to think. Often conflicting advice. It was like walking along a muddy, rocky path, swerving pot holes only to fall in others. This is not easy, especially if you’re pushing a buggy at the same time.
My first birth didn’t go to plan, and I felt floored.
I sought out advice from anyone I could find, determined to find the ‘answers’ to motherhood. But over time, as I cared for my baby, I realised something important. No-one else knew my baby as well as I did. Hidden under a pile of conflicting advice, my instinct lay dormant, waiting to be discovered again. Tuning into this instinct took me a long time. It had taken a battering during my son’s birth. His was a highly medicalised birth, starting with induction and ending in caesarean. I had lost my trust in my body and my baby. My instinct had got buried along with it.
Green shoots appeared as I got to know Joe. When I rediscoverd my instincts I began to trust myself and my baby again. I saw that things were easier when I let go of the pressure to do things a certain way. I stopped trying to conform and started to believe in myself and my abilities as a mother. I began to feel confident, to enjoy being a mother.
When it came to my pregnancy with Iris, I had new found respect for my body.
I used my hypnobirthing relaxations and affirmations to stay connected to my baby and found inner sources of strength and calm I never knew I had. When it came to her birth, I went deeper and deeper into myself. I was at home, but I was so focused on what I was experiencing that I really didn’t know or care where I was any more. All that mattered was my baby and I were doing this together. This was the birth I had hoped for, but I had been prepared for whatever happened. In short, I trusted myself, my baby and my husband to do it our way. And that’s what we did.
Being tuned into my instincts whilst caring for a newborn was new to me. It felt so liberating to trust that I knew what was best for my baby. When people gave me advice, I could choose to listen or let it wash over me like water off a ducks back. I knew when to call on others for support and how I could help myself. Most important of all, I enjoyed it because I wasn’t worrying about whether I was doing things right or wrong, I was just doing them, and learning what worked as I went along. No judgement and no pressure, I knew good enough was better than perfect.
Lets face it. There is enough pressure on mums to do things a certain way. And you know what? It is too much. Too much information, too much idealisation on social media. Too much judgement. It all leads to way too much anxiety and guilt.
So I am on a mission.
I want to help mums-to-be to trust their instincts in pregnancy. To know that they are in the best possible position to know exactly what they and their baby needs. To be themselves. Because as a mother, this is the most important thing of all.
I want to help dads and birth partners understand that they too have important instincts, to protect their partner and baby and that they play a vital role in pregnancy and birth, just as they will as a dad.
I want to help my couples feel confident in their choices and approach. To help them work together to find out what works best for them and their baby and to do what feels natural. Once they know what the Hypnobirthing tools are, they can make them their own and it often works best when they do.
I have recently created a new relaxation.
This relaxation is is all about bringing in more compassion and kindness to pregnancy and birth. Helping to take the pressure off and go with the flow instead. This is about tuning into your resources and acknowledging that you have an inner strength and flexibility, meaning you can adapt to circumstances if you need to. Because if circumstances change, choices might need to change.
Why is this so important? Because I don’t want a single Hypnobirthing mum to feel that she has failed in any way if her birth has not gone to plan. I want her to feel proud of herself no matter what. Any birth is natural, whether it is vaginal or assisted. It is your body giving birth to your baby.
It is also important for motherhood. Because sometimes a baby will do what you want or hope them to do, and sometimes they won’t. Being able to adapt to whatever the moment brings is the only way to enjoy it.
As Jools Oliver puts it: “Keep calm and carry on! I never listened to any advice anyone ever gave me so I say, do it your own way”.
If you believe that you intuitively know what is best for your baby...
You will find yourself walking on solid ground. Take it from me, it’s much easier to push a buggy like that.