Friday, 9 July 2010


Don't worry! This isn't a birth story! While I have no objection to reading other people's or telling people about mine I have a bit of a weird thing about committing it to paper (virtual or otherwise) and sharing it... Same sort of thing with photos, I didn't want any taken of the birth or immediately after because I'm never going to forget what it was like and no one else needs to know! I also wanted John to spend time with his new daughter too rather than fiddling around with the camera. Also, as John said, after I'd given birth it looked like someone had been murdered on the bed and no one needs to see that!

First photo; post birth, post first feed and post shower.

Anyway, to get back to the point, I was inspired by a friend's facebook status to write this and it's directed at anyone who is due to give birth in the near future (and there seem to be a helluva lot of you!). Like everything to do with parenting (nappies, breastfeeding, sling use etc) people have very strong opinions about the birth itself. Some consider it as an unavoidable experience which will be horrific, some would prefer to have a c-section, some are desperate to give birth naturally etc etc, the list goes on and on.

One thing that is for sure is that childbirth is portrayed very oddly in fiction. According to most TV shows and films women are likely to have their waters break very suddenly then be doubled up in agony instantly before giving birth while screaming themselves stupid. Or the actual birth is quite easy and doesn't spoil perfect hair and make up. In reality most (not all) women go into labour slowly and have a gradual build up. I was in labour for over two days at home so although I had had very little sleep in that time I'd also had a nice long build up. By the time we got into hospital I had worked out how to deal with the contractions and was happy to see how I got on without drugs.

I should probably point out at this point that Jess was lying in the perfect position for birth (bless her little soul) and as we didn't have any major complications things were "easy" for me and I know that's not the way for everyone.

When I got pregnant though I was terrified at the idea of giving birth (mainly because I watch too much telly) but by the time I actually came to it I was feeling quite positive. One of the reasons for this was a book called Ina May's Guide to Childbirth which a lovely friend brought me and it was just fantastic. Ina May is the midwife who has documented orgasmic childbirth and if you can pop one out while you're giving birth I'm delighted for you but it is the rest of the book that's so fantastic. She makes it very clear that childbirth is what a woman's body is geared up to do. It's all designed to stretch and push and yes, it probably will hurt but it's a very positive pain. Also, unlike most pain, it's not destructive, it's happening for a reason and it doesn't stay with you. She talks about visualisation techniques in a useful way too, I could never get my head around trying to visualise yourself on a beach when you're quite blatantly in hospital trying to get a baby out, maybe my imagination isn't up to scratch! Anyway, I found it much more useful to visualise what each and every contraction and later on every push is doing. It's a way of focusing positively on what your body is doing rather than trying to remove yourself from it.

I also found it quite useful to ignore people a lot of the time.... I had a really positive conversation with a work colleague who, when I told her I wanted as natural a birth as possible (she asked!), told me not to be so stupid and by the time I was in labour I'd be screaming for all the drugs they could give me. Cheers for that.

I'm not saying I do or don't advocate drugs in childbirth, they can be incredibly necessary but I feel strongly that going into labour thinking it's going to be awful and you want to be completely dosed up is a bit counter productive. And I know some of you are reading this knowing I didn't want an epidural because I'm scared of people putting needles in my spine. I hold my hands up; I'm a wuss! Throughout my labour though I wasn't thinking I don't want any drugs, I was thinking, I'll see how I go and if it gets unbearable I'll think about having something and then Jess was born and I hadn't had anything and I'm so thankful for that because I remember it so well and now, six months later, I just look back on it as a massively positive experience and I still get a kick out of it.

I know a lot of people who haven't been so lucky so I know that things don't always go to plan but I think anything positive you can take away at the end should be what you dwell on, the biggest thing obviously being that you have produced a beautiful baby.

So meanderingmothers top tips for childbirth are:

  • Be positive, you and your body can do this
  • Don't feel pressurised into anything, if you feel you need drugs go for it, if you want to give birth on your hands and knees or what ever, go for it!
  • Visualise getting the baby out
  • Count while you're breathing, for some reason this really helped me although I couldn't stop after she'd been born....
I hope you all have the births you want or as close as possible to what you want. Unless you're not pregnant in which case giving birth in the near future would come as a bit of a shock anyway. Especially for the boys....


  1. I think you are spot on about keeping an open mind on pain relief and all other aspects of birth. If you think negatively you'll probably have the awful time you expected, think positive and hey - you might be right! Toughest point in my labour for me was being at home when my contractions weren't strong enough to 'qualify' for more assistance. It was early days, not quite what I'd expected (he was back to back) but I was stressed, scared and in pain. Had the great advice of taking a nap which worked for me and although the later labour was tough in many ways I'd stopped stressing out which helped me physically, mentally and emotionally. Anyway, enough rambling, sorry!

  2. "Ina May is the midwife who has documented orgasmic childbirth and if you can pop one out while you're giving birth I'm delighted for you"

    Ha! Lou, that's my quote of the day!! Good post - I'll pop back to this if Lady Fortune ever smiles down on me... XX

  3. Lady Fortune will smile! Maybe lots and you can, you know... Have fun while you're in labour!

    And thanks jenmum for your comment, I agree, the less stress the better. Have heard a glass of wine is good for early labour but I didn't try it myself! Next time I'll get the champers on ice and have a water birth with any luck!