A healthy baby is NOT all that matters in birth

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A healthy baby is NOT all that matters in birth

Very often when people say, “a healthy baby is all that matters,” what they mean is that the baby survived birth. But that is not the only thing that matters. Certainly it is very important for the baby to be healthy!! But a higher standard can and should exist. We should strive for a healthy baby, a healthy mom, and a positive birth experience for everyone.

Birth is an experience that sticks with you. Just ask any mother and she will likely get very emotional when telling you about it. Improving Birth.org talks about this very thing:

“Our birth stories affect the postpartum period (baby blues, anyone?), our relationships with our babies and families, and our attitudes about ourselves and future births.” (source)

Yes, birth is an unpredictable experience. We may have to make tough decisions and may not foresee what happens, but if the mom-to-be and dad-to-be are treated with respect and the right to make decisions – this is what creates a positive birth experience. When the mom, dad, doctor/midwife, and doula are all on the same page and working together – this is what creates a positive birth experience. When there is minimal distractions/interventions for the mom in labor – this is what creates a positive birth experience.

“The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” ~Heather McCue

 

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Normal Birth

The Power of Birth Language is a powerful post (a must-read!) that talks about how using the words “let” and “deliver” changes our mindset in regards to giving birth. If we talk about the doctor or midwife “letting” us do something – it’s taking away power from the parents. Instead, think of the doctor/midwife supporting your decision to …(give birth in water, delay cord clamping, etc.).

You will have to read the post to see what she says about the word deliver! I love the following quote from her post:

“As advocates of normal birth, we believe that birth is the property of the mother, not the care provider.” (source)

 

I like to think of the labor and birth that I went through not as “natural and unmedicated” birth, but a “normal” birth. I was leaning towards having a natural birth early on in my pregnancy, but then after seeing “The Business of Being Born” (affiliate link) I knew for sure I wanted to try to give birth as naturally as possible.

Why you need a Doula

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My labor was certainly harder than I expected, but I definitely had a positive birth experience! I know some of the contributing factors were:

  1. I had a wonderful support team.
  2. I had thought through pain coping techniques I was going to use.
  3. I had practiced the pain coping techniques with my husband.
  4. I had done lots of reading on what labor would be like.

I am SO so thankful in particular to have hired a doula (who was my friend already!) for the birth of my son. First, I believe she helped me approach birth feeling more empowered in the first place! Through her expertise and her willingness to research to answer my questions, I was able to prepare for birth and the decisions I may face in the process.

I would encourage you to read my birth story, or any of the articles below if you are thinking about hiring a doula. Whether you plan on doing a hospital, birth center, or home birth a doula is in her element. She is there to “mother” the new mom. She is there as an emotional and physical support.

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My doula, Brooke, was great about thinking of little things that would help me during labor: stroking my hair, holding my water bottle so I could get a sip, pressing a cold cloth to my forehead, or suggesting a heat pack for my back. She even suggested to my midwife that the baby might be asynclitic – and she was right! Her suggestion prompted us to work on turning the baby’s head, which we did successfully!

I know my doula was one who was so encouraging and helped to create an environment in which I was constantly feeling encouraged and empowered!! I became more brave and determined as I heard her positive words, and in turn, my husband’s positive words.

I would definitely encourage you to check out the Mothers Matter Doula Care facebook page. It’s a great resource for pregnancy women and new moms. Brooke is constantly posting relevant articles that will help you stay informed about pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

Other Must-Reads on this Topic:

The Difference a Doula Makes {A Birth Story}

Doulas are for Women Who Want Epidurals

Planning a Medicated Birth? You can still Benefit from Hiring a Doula

In the Labor Room: A Doula’s Tips for Friends and Family

What’s in a Fee? – this breaks down all the work the doula does, before and after labor

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation
by Pam England

The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin