I remember telling a friend in my early 20's that I thought it was ‘absolutely mad’ that someone would give birth with no pain killers. Having watched so many movies in the 90s and 2000s (and even now!), where there are images of women screaming and pushing during labour, I always thought that it was some kind of medical emergency or traumatic event that really should be avoided.
But, when I got pregnant and met my doula, my mind-set on labour really began to change. I learnt that it was possible to have a positive birth experience and I could do it in my own house and on my own terms.
When I first mentioned it to my husband and family that I wanted a home birth, they were shocked. There were so many ‘what if’ scenarios, giving birth in the house sounded down-right dangerous. We visited the hospital to see if indeed we would feel better giving birth there, but it soon became apparent that we’d unlikely get the birth we wanted there, as the water baths were on a first-come-first-serve basis. So, we did some research and, with positive affirmations from our doula, prepared for giving birth at home.
And WE DID. I gave birth at home with no interventions at all and, when I look back, it really was the best day of my life. The truth is, the movies are wrong. There was no pushing, no screaming and no drama (at least for me). I trusted my body and it did what it knew it could do. My husband and I had rehearsed the breathing exercises, we had a hot tub set up for the birth, our doula taught us about positive birthing and I refused to hear any birth horror stories from friends leading up to my due date. Other than that, my body just did what it needed to do.
It’s interesting watching movies now where there is the whole dramatic labour scene. It’s like I know a secret. WE CAN. That’s all there is to it. I find it amusing when I hear ‘So and so delivered so and so’s baby’. The truth is, the mother and her body delivered the baby. Because WE CAN.
I would say giving birth for me has been so empowering. For years I’ve struggled with anxiety and general mental health issues. But, my birth experience was so powerful, I’m able to take strength from that special day when I feel too scared to do things. Because I have learnt the secret. I CAN. If I am capable of bringing a baby into the world, I can do anything right? The truth is we are capable, we just need to start believing it more. Because WE CAN.
Kim & Rhodri 2023