‘A healthy baby is all that matters’ is perhaps the most unhelpful phrase anyone could say to a new mother. The mother matters too, does she not? Of course, all parents want a healthy baby – but if a mother is physically or emotionally damaged from the experience of giving birth, then she is less likely to connect with her newborn baby, and more likely to be depressed and anxious. Birth is important.
To increase your chances of a peaceful birth, seek out positive support from family members, friends and online/group organisations such as the Positive Birth Movement. Learn about how your body works, read up on the importance of physiology, and strategies to help you during pregnancy and childbirth. Write down what you would like to happen when you have your baby, and talk to your doctor. Choose supportive birth partners who know and understand what your preferences are, and who will advocate for you. Remember that this is your baby, and your choices and decisions should be respected at all times… And lastly, believe in yourself, and your own power!
Sheena Byrom is a consultant midwife in the UK and author of ‘Catching Babies’ and ‘The Roar Behind the Silence: why kindness, compassion and respect matter in maternity care’. She will be presenting the Natural Birth and Breastfeeding conference and will also provide a one hour lecture and a workshop at the retreat. To register click here.