Positive Birth News

birth stories, news and articles to encourage and inspire

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Birth Story – a journey from traumatic caesarean to healing

The following powerful story published on the Improving Birth website takes us from that place of hurt and betrayal from an unplanned caesarean birth, through a beautiful journey of learning and healing.

First and foremost, I needed to value myself as a woman and mother. If I had no self-worth, how could I expect that the experience of birth would offer me any more value than I already had for myself? What my second birth taught me is that when one values herself even just a little bit, her confidence prompts others to treat her with respect. I needed to take that sense of self-worth further, and rise up out of victimhood and into empowerment.

Read the full story on the Improving Birth website where they are celebrating April as Caesarean Awareness month.


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Give Joy and Peace

25 Ways to Joy and Inner Peace is the second beautiful book and meditation CD from Danette Watson and Stephanie Corkhill-Hyles (artist and Birth Journeys contributor).

This is a beautiful collection of inspiring and joyful images and an affirmation CD for new mothers offering a powerful way to recharge, relax, feel centred, nurtured and filled with love for themselves and their new baby. What a wonderful way to feel!

After benefiting from meditation, relaxations and hypnobirthing in preparation for birth, I found a void in my life once my babies were out in the world and in my arms. Although I was over the moon in love with my babies, I missed the wonderful energising, grounding and calming effects of meditation in my life. This book and CD set helped me to slow down and give back to myself as well as my new babies.

With meditations like these (following), 25 Ways to Joy and Inner Peace for Mothers has positive and reassuring messages for every new mother.

Breathing in… I trust that I am the perfect Mother for my baby.
Breathing out… I am exactly where I am meant to be and I have everything I need within me to handle all that Life and Motherhood brings.”

“Surround yourself with love and support.
Breathing in… I choose to gather nurturing, supportive people around me who extend love and caring.
Breathing out… I feel love and support flowing easily to my baby and me.”

“Be patient and forgiving with yourself.
Breathing in… I know there is no one right way to mother and no one mothers quite like me. I am special.
Breathing out… I am patient and gentle with myself…I allow myself to make mistakes as I learn and grow.”

I really recommend this as a special gift for new mothers or for women who are mothers to a baby growing within.

25 Ways to Joy and Inner Peace for Mothers is available from the Birth Journeys website for $29.95 We have only TWO copies!


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Making a Positive Difference to Midwives & Women in Cambodia

Making a Positive Difference to Midwives & Women in Cambodia

Last July I attended and spoke at the Homebirth Australia Conference in Hobart. The conference theme was Birth Rites Human Rights and there was an inspiring mix of speeches addressing the themes of birth as a human rights issue around the world and birth rites.

My eyes were opened to all the positives of birthing in Australia and how privileged we are (despite  barriers, negativity and issues with finding mother-baby centred loving and respectful care). At the conference it was suggested that we all contribute some money to buy a tuk tuk for (see the link for a photo and the story) and here it is!

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Inspiration – Bonding Before Birth

Spend a few moments with your eyes closed thinking about your pregnancy.

Place your hands on your pregnant belly and think about your changing shape, your baby growing inside and how wonderful it is that you don’t even need to think about growing your baby. Your body knows just how to nurture your baby in the womb. Incredible!

Imagine what it must feel like for your baby, so secure, so content, nestled inside you growing and waiting. Whisper, sing or speak to your baby. Welcome your baby into your life, thank them for being here, and let them know your love for them.

Your body knows exactly how to grow and birth your baby. Your body gives your baby everything needed to become healthy and strong. You are everything your baby needs as a mother.

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Birth Story – a family centred caesarean

Published on the Improving Birth website, this is a wonderful read for women who need or choose to have a caesarean birth and are seeking to be empowered and at peace with this choice and this experience of birth.

“So, what happens if you are completely committed to “going natural” and things don’t work out? How do you deal with being told, “This baby is at risk. We need to deliver via cesarean”?  All that matters is a healthy baby  – you just need to get over it…right?”

Get over it? Just like that?

Of course the ultimate goal is a healthy baby, and of course you are going to agree to the cesarean for the well-being of your child. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to let go of the experience you’ve been envisioning for nine months, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to grieve that loss.”

Read the whole story here on the Improving Birth website.

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A Positive Birth is Sensible not Selfish

Mention that you are looking forward to birth and you are quite likely to encounter negative comments, criticism, discouraging stories or jokes. Many people react with strong emotions to the desire for a positive birth experience or a positive attitude towards birth, but why is this negative view of birth the norm in our society? And why are the responses so vehement?

Unfortunately, many men and women have experienced a frightening or complicated birth first or secondhand. Their experiences and anecdotes are taken as proof that birth doesn’t work and a safe and uncomplicated birth is unlikely. Each story becomes part of our cultural script about birth; teaching us to be worried and scared, teaching us to believe giving birth is an unpleasant but necessarily evil to be endured on the path to having a baby.

People who are frightened of birth are more likely to have frightening experiences of birth. Fear or anxiety can interfere with the progress of labour, and this can result in a need for medical assistance and a more complicated and risky birth.

Our emotions colour our perceptions. So a frightened person perceives and experiences a dangerous and risky event, while the health professionals present may see it as “normal” or “everyday” and not requiring any special care or additional emotional support. As long as there are mothers and fathers who are frightened of birth, and who are inadequately supported and cared for during labour and birth, there will be discouraging and negative stories to tell. Negative and frightening birth stories continue, in part, because as a society we have so much fear and so little confidence and belief in our bodies and the ability to give birth.

It is not surprising that the majority views birth as unimportant and unpleasant at best, and like a horror movie at worst. When people say “all that matters is a healthy baby”, they may still be coming to terms with a stressful, traumatic or disappointing birth experience of their own or someone close to them. In this context, hearing that a woman’s feelings and experience matter may be quite challenging and hard to accept. Within our negative birth culture, it could seem naive or even self-centred to care about anything other than making it through.

A woman’s yearning for a positive birth is too often equated with wishes for music, candles, dolphins and other things intended to make women appear frivolous, ludicrous and out of touch with reality. The word “experience” is trivialised too – an experience is understood to be something extra and unnecessary that women want for their own benefit and at the cost of their baby’s wellbeing. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

This surface level interpretation distracts and prevents people from understanding what women mean by a positive birth and what women need to emerge from birth feeling healthy and whole.

From bringing together the Birth Journeys book and reflecting on the experiences of many women, I learnt that a positive birth isn’t about achieving a perfect or ideal birth. It is not about being inflexible and stubbornly sticking to a birth plan no matter what happens. It is not about having a particular type of birth or only one kind of birth either. It is not only for women who choose to have their baby at home or in a birth centre. A positive birth doesn’t mean having a natural birth, a drug-free birth or a pain-free birth either! Each of these is possible and may be the perfect path for you and your baby’s birth. Each of these may be incredibly empowering and transformative, but these are not the key to a positive birth.

While each woman will have her own unique birth wishes based on her self-knowledge, her understanding of the birth process and her circumstances; a woman who wants a positive birth has one deeper underlying wish. She is not at all crazy, hippy or selfish although she may be called all of these.

A positive birth comes down to the mother’s feelings during the birth of her baby, and her feelings are strongly linked to the way she is cared for and supported.

So what kind of care does she need and want? Respect. Dignity. Compassion. Love.

Above all else, she needs to be treated with humanity.

A woman who feels loved, respected and well supported is most likely to have a straightforward and uncomplicated birth with a healthy baby (because of the interaction of hormones that drive labour when a woman feels safe and secure). She is likely to avoid unnecessary medical assistance that may complicate her labour and introduce new risks. She will also be better equipped to cope with an unexpected outcome or complicated birth because of the wonderful care and support she has received and will continue to receive after birth. Her wellbeing is protected and may even be enhanced by a positive birth. Women are likely to emerge from a positive birth as healthy, whole and empowered mothers – what a wonderful foundation to a lifetime of motherhood.

If we had a supportive culture of birth, built on respectful and loving care for all women giving birth, whether they experience labour or have a caesarean birth, then there would be no need for this discussion. We might not need to work so hard for a positive birth and we would not run up against so much resistance. Clearly, we have quite some way to go before this is achieved.

As you prepare for your positive birth, be strong in the knowledge that there is no selfishness in placing a high priority on your feelings and wellbeing in pregnancy and birth. It is sensible, not selfish for you to desire, seek and insist on a positive birth experience!