“How you do anything is how you do everything.” – ancient proverb
Birthing a baby does not make us exempt from who we already are. Who we are when we’re birthing is the same person we will be at work, or shopping for groceries, or in traffic, or at dinner with friends, or on vacation. The intensity of the birth journey doesn’t change us – it just turns the volume all the way up.
The woman who is having the baby will be that woman in labor. The analyzer will analyze, the micromanager who cannot surrender control at work will refuse to let go of a single detail in the birth room. The woman who is half an hour late to every appointment will likely still be packing her birth bag before heading out the door. The woman who screams and swears at her husband about how he does the dishes will scream and swear about how he offers comfort measures. The woman who hates her mother or sister because it’s Tuesday will not be comforted by her presence in the birthing space. The woman who bases her self-esteem on the approval of others will look to how her support people think she did, and the perfectionist who truly believes that she can’t do anything right won’t be happy with her birth, no matter how beautifully everyone else in the room may think she did. The woman who believes that nothing good happens without a fight will find a challenge, while the one who has the skill set and knows that it’s ok to ask for what she wants, no emotional charge necessary, will find that her support people are happy to comply.
The woman who accepts change and goes with the flow will take one contraction at a time with grace, and accept change in the face of an emergency knowing that she is making the best decision available at the time. The introvert will appreciate quiet, and the extrovert will accept the support of being talked through.
To have a birth that is full of joy, know yourself. Know who you are bringing to the experience. What do you believe to be true about yourself, about your own birth, about the experience of birth? What you believe determines what your experience will be. If you want a calm and peaceful birth, start today on being a calm and peaceful woman. If you want loving support, start now on asking for what you need in a positive and constructive way. (Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication is a great place to begin). Begin today in practicing gratitude and celebrating even small accomplishments, and this will carry into your birth experience. Love yourself, deeply and completely, and you will love your baby, your birth, and your life.
So may it be.