If you’ve hung around my blog at all, you know I love birth affirmations. I love how changing your language can literally change your brain and shift your experiences.
This is especially true for one of my favorite categories of people: moms pursuing a vaginal birth after a cesarean.
After having my own experience with an unexpected cesarean and a subsequent home birth, I can personally attest to the power your mindset has when it comes to your birth experience.
While there are, of course, legitimate reasons for cesarean births, they are over-used in our country. There are still many women who aren’t aware that it is actually safer in the majority of cases for a woman to have a VBAC than it is to schedule a c-section.
If you are planning a vaginal delivery after one or more cesareans, here are a few affirmations to make a part of your routine as you prepare yourself for the birth.
“My body is not a lemon.”
This one is actually a quote from one of my favorite midwives, Ina May Gaskin. In fact, I highly encourage you to read her book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. This is the phrase she uses to encourage women that they are not broken, and should not head into birth expecting things to go wrong.
“My body knows how to birth.”
This one is simple, but often I find that women who had an unexpected cesarean are afraid that their body just isn’t able to birth. Using affirmations, as well as learning all you can about physiological birth, can help re-train your brain and give you a new paradigm – one in which you have confidence in your body’s ability to do the thing it was designed to do.
“My baby wants to be born. He/She will work with me when it is time.”
If your previous surgical birth was due to being “overdue,” this might be a useful affirmation for you. I would also encourage you, again, to study up on physiological birth. “Due dates” are an interesting topic when it comes to trusting our bodies to birth our babies! That’s a conversation best left to its own blog, or better yet, an in-person chat with your Doula! *wink wink*
“I own my birth.”
Women who have experienced an unexpected c-section often tell me that the doctor “had to intervene” or that they “weren’t allowed” to keep laboring. While I am in no way suggesting there are not legitimate reasons or emergency situations, I am very passionate about informed choice in labor. Especially if you choose to birth in a hospital, make sure to arm yourself and your birth companions with a knowledge of birth, as well as the knowledge that you have the right to say “no,” even if something is hospital policy. Hospital policies are not laws, and no one is legally allowed to force you to have any touch, medication, or intervention that you do not consent to.
If you are well-informed, you will feel more confident that you owned your birth experience, even if it were to take an unexpected turn.
“I am filled with the wisdom of the women who went before me.”
If this sounds a little too “woo-woo” for you, hear me out. Birth is an instinctual process. It is a biological function that has been happening in humans for a long, long time. Somewhere in the last hundred years or so, the western world lost the connection that once existed between one generation of women to the next.
That collective wisdom still exists deep within us, and if you don’t have immediate family who can encourage you in your ability to birth, it can be helpful to learn to tap into that wisdom. That can be as simple as reminding yourself that women have done this work since the beginning of time, or as deep as exploring ancient spiritual rituals related to pregnancy and birth.
If you are a Mom planning a VBAC, take two of these affirmations that speak to you, write them down, and put them everywhere.
Say them in the mirror. Say them while you exercise. Say them while you imagine a positive, empowering birth experience. And if you aren’t sure what that could even look like, reach out to me! I would love to help inspire you to think differently about birth, and the power of your body to do it.