Someone asked me yesterday what I was going to use as a coping mechanism during the upcoming birth of my son. I should mention that I plan to have a homebirth, with as little intervention by ‘outsiders’ as possible. I would love to have an unassisted birth, and I do think that I could handle it, but I know my family would be more comfortable with someone ‘trained’ attending the birth, and so, I’ve made that decision.
Regardless of where I’m birthing or who will be helping me, I still need a reliable method of getting from beginning to end without a total mental breakdown. I will say that having gone through one birth so recently that it is still fresh in my mind is acting as a sort of motivator. Anyone who hasn’t given birth (and maybe even some people who have) wouldn’t think that being able to vividly recall another birth would be a sense of motivation or calm, but it is. Birth – the actual process whereby I brought my daughter into the world – was not difficult or ‘painful’ at all. Sure it ‘hurt’, but it was a good, productive kind of hurt. It is a different sort of pain than anything else you can experience – it has an element of utility behind it that motivates you to work WITH the pain, instead of against it. At least it did for me. When I was pushing my daughter out, all I could think was ‘it hurts! that means she’s almost here! I need to push more!’
And it is because I can so vividly remember thinking that that I know this time I’ll be even more prepared to let my body do it’s thing. And so, in answer to my friend, I will be using a sort of mindfulness meditation to help me through labour. It is a combination of ideas culled from various different birthing courses and coping techniques, combined with my own ideas about childbirth and healing. Unlike so many coping devices, I have no intention of escaping from the pain. To me, it is a strong motivating force. Trying to ignore it is counter productive. I strongly believe that it was my decision to focus on and work with this pain that made my daughters birth go from zero to ten in a matter of minutes.
I also plan to use herbs and traditional practices to strengthen my labour. I already drink a daily infusion of red raspberry leaves to help tone and strengthen my uterus. Once I get closer to the day of delivery I will also start taking evening primrose to help prepare my body, and when I’m in active labour plan to take blue and black cohosh to help move the contractions along. I believe strongly in the abilities of herbal medicine, and see no reason why THIS time I should submit myself or my babe to anything else.
So, that’s my plan everyone. I have no preconceptions about what the labour will be like (I think my biggest downfall last time), but I do have strong opinions about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to move forward with it. And now, I’m off to hang upside down in an attempt to dislodge my son from my tailbone and to encourage him to flip around.