Positive Birth News

birth stories, news and articles to encourage and inspire

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Estimated Due Date – Dealing with the waiting time

When your estimated due date is fast approaching it can feel like a count down to the big day. Remember that the estimated due date (EDD) is just that – an estimate – and until you reach 42 weeks you are not truly ‘post dates’. Your baby will signal to your body when it is ready for birth by releasing a hormone that triggers labour. If your EDD has become a cause for anxiety, impatience and pressure on yourself, or pressure from others to ‘hurry up and have your baby’ then take this as a signal that it is time for you to do exactly the opposite and slow down.

When people around you are asking all the time about the baby, remember they are just very excited and they do mean no harm. People really do love a pregnant belly and news of a new baby. It is exciting and sharing in the news brings joy to many people.

If these curious questioners are close to you, you may choose to tell them that you appreciate their eagerness and you will certainly let them know when your baby is born! Let them know that you would like to spend the last weeks relaxing and feeling emotionally and practically ready. Maybe they can help instead by picking up some shopping, baking a meal, looking after older children for a little while or doing some errands for you. They will feel involved and this is what they want. You will get some peace and avoid some of those outings where everyone wants to comment on the size of your belly and whether it is normal to be that big or declare that you don’t look big enough, are you sure the dates are right!

If you are able to give over your jobs out in the world to someone else then do this so you don’t have to have the same conversation with the person at the shop or the mums at school every day until your baby is born!

You may feel tired of preparing for birth and begin to feel a little lost or emotional. This is all a part of the waiting time where your body and mind are getting ready for labour and the transition into motherhood. Don’t be afraid to let go and have a good cry. Open up to your doula, midwife or a supportive friend and share how you are feeling. Allow yourself to be a little dreamy and disconnected from the rest of the world. Connect with your baby in any way that appeals to you, nurture yourself, do a little last minute nesting, and protect yourself from negative thoughts and feelings.

From women’s stories we can see how common an emotional release is shortly before labour begins. It is a great way to clear out fears, anxieties and become emotionally ready for birth and your new baby.

Try these ideas:
• Put your phone on answering machine – put the world on hold.
• Stop watching the news,
• Avoid discussions online or in real life that cause you stress or irritation.
• Have a massage, chiropractic adjustment, or other relaxing treatment that will help put your body and mind in a great position for birth
• Meditate or listen to positive affirmations. Try a fresh meditation that you haven’t listened to before. My pick is “25 Ways to Awaken Your Birth Power
• Have a fear release session with a birth hypnosis practitioner,
• Do a yoga/meditation class,
• Read positive birth stories and avoid any stories that make you anxious even if they are supposed to be positive. Only you can decide what is helpful for you to read or view!
• Read your favourite feel-good books. My picks are light hearted romantic comedies for pregnancy.
• Create an artwork about your baby, birth or becoming a mother,
• Begin a craft for your baby (you may not get to finish it!).
• Cook and freeze a celebration cake for after the birth,
• Write a letter to your baby, your mother or your partner.
Remember, nature does not hurry, but everything is accomplished.

naturedoesnot hurry



Positive Birth Story – My Monkey Self

My Monkey Self

This is an excerpt from Birth Journeys. Christina’s journey is one of healing and accepting responsibility for her wellbeing and birth. After a traumatic first birth in hospital and the break down of her relationship, Christina moves to be near her family. She is pregnant with her second child and now faces pregnancy and birth on her own. Her baby is born in a beautiful water birth in a birth centre just as she had planned and dreamed.

Although I knew I was in labour, part of me was still in denial. I had been waiting for this moment for so long that I was beginning to think it would never arrive. When I phoned my midwife, I told her, in between contractions, that I might not be in labour. Anna laughed and said that I was definitely in labour and to meet her at the birth centre in 30 minutes.

By the time we arrived, the contractions were a couple of minutes apart and very intense. I promptly vomited! The midwives Anna and Penni were wonderful. They were very relaxed about the birth. Anna filled the most amazing bath I have ever seen, and I gladly stripped off and hopped in.

Kneeling in the bath, with my arms resting on the rim, was the most relaxing pose. With each contraction, I would lean over a bit more and Penni would massage my lower back. These massages were heaven. I would concentrate on the feel of her hands, and before I knew it, the intensity subsided.

After a little while, Anna asked me to lean back into a squatting position. She was unable to see what was going on and wanted me in a better position before my baby arrived. I really didn’t want to move. I was so comfortable.

At first, the contractions were hard to cope with as I had lost my focus – I started fighting them. I said to Anna that I didn’t think I could do this, and she replied, “Of course you can. You’re designed to. Women give birth every day. Why do you think you can’t go on?” I really needed that. With Lucas’s birth, when I said I couldn’t go on, no one talked me through or encouraged me. They just got the drugs out.

I remembered my little chant – “my monkey self can do this” – and I felt strong and empowered. Of course I could do this. Amazingly, the contractions slowed down. I relaxed and listened to my body. I even fell asleep between contractions. I was enjoying the experience again.

Every feeling was intense. It started raining heavily, and the rain on the roof was like a drumbeat that went through my body, relaxing me even more. I was able to sense my baby. I knew where he was, and I was able to visualise him moving down. I lay back in the bath and thought, “How beautiful! Here I am, lying in a warm bath with scented candles all around me, soothing music in the background, the sound of rain on the roof, and I’m bringing my baby into the world.”

Soon my waters broke, and all the pain melted away. Time seemed to stop. I was able to reposition myself so that I could reach down to touch my baby’s head – very much an out of body experience. I watched his head pop in and out, before coming out fully. All the pushing stopped, and I breathed my baby into the open. I watched in amazement as he turned around and slipped gently into my hands. It was a beautiful, heart-stopping moment.

I placed Noah on my chest straight away, and he stared intently into my eyes.

Christina and newborn baby Noah

You can read the complete story of Christina’s journey to this beautiful water birth in the Birth Journeys book.

Birth Mantras

Christina’s story is called ‘My Monkey Self’ because this mantra helped her to refocus and surrender to labour when she was feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed.

She explains, “Positive affirmations were important to me. There was a quote in Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin – ‘My monkey self can do this!’ For me this meant that monkeys don’t think about birth or fear it, they just do it, it’s a natural part of life.”

What mantra or phrase do you plan to use or have you used to help yourself, or others in pregnancy, labour or in everyday life?

Share your mantras and positive affirmations in the comments below.

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Must Read Birth Books From My Bookshelf – Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method

Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan is an exciting book that opened my eyes to the possibility that birth could be amazing! This book explains how your muscles will work in labour and how fear impacts on this process. It illustrates how being calm and relaxed will give you a smoother, easier and even pain-free birth.

Hypnobirthing offers advice on selecting and communicating with your care providers, ways to help you bond and fall in love with your baby in the womb, relaxation exercises, positive birth affirmations, ideas for partners to support you, suggestions for positions, relaxations and breathing that will be helpful during labour, and much more.

Regularly listening to the hypnobirthing relaxations will help you to become deeply relaxed and enter into an altered state of consciousness. If you able to reach this state during labour it is possible that you will experience birth as pain-free (I did!). Feeling calm and relaxed will help you to have a more positive birthing experience, however your labour unfolds.

Hypnobirthing offers the knowledge and techniques that will help you to become less fearful, less anxious, more comfortable, more confident and accepting of birth.