What do we mean by positive birth? When I talk about a positive birth, it’s where a mother’s feel empowered, that they’ve had ownership over the decisions about their birth as they’ve had access to good quality information, where mums have felt respected, loved and looked after. Where mums can reflect on their birth as a positive experience – even if at times there have been issues. Some might be confuse this to be solely spontaneous vaginal births, water births, home births but this can include mums who have been induced, had pain relief and had c-sections amongst other interventions. For many, they may have made the decision to have a specific intervention either on their own choice or because they have been well informed of issues surrounding their births – they’ve never felt coerced into a decision.
Positive birth is where we trust our bodies to birth and remove fear. We must become primal animals again who trust our instincts to birth. This is something I feel so strongly about given my own situation when I was planning a VBAC and was told my son ‘wasn’t coming out’ – I got made to feel at 42 weeks gestation he was ‘stuck’ yet I didn’t even get the chance to labour. I really needed a doula or friend around me to say – you know what – you wait and your body will do it – of course he’s coming out!
I’ve had an amazing week work wise – I supported a truly beautiful birth on Monday morning at sunrise. The strength of women every time I see a birth is outstanding. Birth wasn’t how it was planned – mum ended up being induced, we were on the labour ward (not the birth centre), mum couldn’t have a water birth, but you know, what I realised, is we, as a team of people – mum, dad, midwife and doula – were a powerful team to transform it and made it into a really positive, beautiful, empowering, gentle birth in line with what mum had envisaged. We even managed to keep the placenta attached for as long as mum wanted. We have that ability to use our knowledge, as humans, to keep birth calm, peaceful and primal by making small environmental changes, making mum feel loved, nurturing and looking after her. I kept thinking the whole way through of Ina May Gaskin’s quote – ‘If a woman doesn’t look like a goddess during labour, then someone isn’t treating her right’ – this mum looked so beautiful throughout. I also kept thinking of something I read recently in a book – there’s a difference between pain and suffering – if people are well looked after they can manage the pain and they won’t suffer. There’s a lot in that – if you feel loved and cared for – you are much less likely to suffer as you are made to feel safe. That’s what’s fundamental in supporting birth – you are made to feel safe.
This to me is what positive birth is about – is trusting our bodies, making fully informed choices about interventions, taking ownership of the birth and feeling in control, making the journey our own and feeling safe and loved – all of this will allow us to reflect positively on our experiences.
If you’d like to know more about positive birth – come along to your local Edinburgh group.
Much love, Tricia xx