When I talk to women about their feelings regarding birth, they initially fall into one of two camps. Either they will say something like, “It would be too hard for me to do without drugs,” or if they have decided to pursue a drug-free labor, they may say things like, “I hope I am strong enough.”
Unfortunately, society spent most of the last several centuries downplaying the power that women possess. If we hear about a woman embracing her power and accomplishing something difficult, she is usually presented as a magical unicorn who is unique in some way that most women aren’t.
But what if we, as women, embraced our power and saw it as just another part of who we are? What if we looked at birth and said, “It will be difficult and I can do it.” If we were able to think this way about ourselves, I believe it would not only affect how we approach birth, but also how we approach other challenges in life.
So how do we go from questioning out abilities to believing in our bodies and their capacity to birth our babies? How do we embrace our fierce power and deep instincts when it comes to pregnancy and labor?
It will, of course, be a unique journey for each woman. We are all wonderfully different, and therefore our perceptions and understandings of ourselves will also be different. However, if you are looking for ways to begin your journey towards embracing your power, here are a few ideas.
We can’t really believe in ourselves until we know ourselves. Taking time to write out your thoughts and dig deep into your experiences is a wonderful way to honor who you are while also recognizing the areas in which you might still need to grow.
Speak to a Professional:
If you are having trouble believing in your body, there is often an underlying belief or experience hindering you from embracing your power and moving forward with confidence. Speaking with someone who is trained to help you discover and process those things is a wonderful idea not only for new moms, but for anyone wanting to pursue personal growth and self acceptance.
Surround Yourself with Positive Stories:
There are plenty of negative birth stories out there. Just sit in any group of moms for any length of time, and someone is bound to bring up their own, or someone else’s, horror story. These stories are valuable and need a place to be spoken and processed, of course. One of my passions as a doula is to create a safe place for vulnerability when it comes to sharing birth stories. However, when you are pregnant is not the time to listen to these stories. Now is the time to watch, listen to, and seek out positive, empowering stories of normal birth experiences. The more you surround yourself with them, the more you will come to realize that if all these women can do it, so can you.
Body Positive Affirmations:
Most of us spend a lot of time talking down to ourselves about our bodies. In order to re-wire our brains to believe in our bodies, we need to be speaking, out loud, positive things about them. “My body is capable and strong. My body knows how to grow this baby, and it knows how to birth this baby.” Write down a few that really speak to you, and put them somewhere where you will see them often.
Educate Yourself About Birth:
This is huge. So many women aren’t even sure what is happening with their babies or their bodies during the birth process, because it’s not something we are really taught in-depth. Once I started diving into learning about how our bodies adapt to carry and birth our babies, I was amazed at the sheer power and instinct involved in the process. Knowing what the female body is capable of when it comes to birth is so important for our own belief in ourselves. So take a childbirth education course, listen to podcasts, read some books! It’s so worth it.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on your journey. For a more personalized suggestions on how to prepare for your birth journey, hire a local doula or send me a message to see if virtual birth planning is right for you!