I’m having my second baby at the end of November and really want to have a non-medicated birth. I have a 14 month old son who was a forceps delivery. He was fine but it really did a number on me and took me a good 8 weeks to recover physically and even longer to recover emotionally. I have a great midwife this time around and really want to have a more positive experience but when I get tired or down I start to have a lot of self doubt. Do you have any resource recommendations or tips on staying positive? Most people I talk to take the “all that matters is that you have a healthy baby, so quit worrying” attitude, but I feel like my son’s birth really affected our relationship negatively from the start and I don’t want to repeat that.
It sounds like you want to have a positive attitude about your upcoming birth despite the difficulties you had with your first birth. Good for you for knowing you have a choice about this. Writing about, speaking about this intention is an important step to making it so.
First question is: have you had a good opportunity to cry, scream and grieve about the difficulties of your first birth? These strong emotions may still be held in your body and need release so you can meet this new pregnancy/birth in a positive way. It may be as simple as asking a friend to give you 2-3 hours when you can tell the whole story, feel your feelings, and let your emotions be heard and witnessed by someone non-judgmental who will let you say and feel what you need to. So hopefully you can find a good friend, a therapist or a grief-support group somewhere for this release. You’ll feel much better once you unload the story and feelings.
In addition to getting these old feelings out of the way, I suggest you write up some “affirmations” (short statements that declare you are strong, your body is strong, prayers for a wonderful birth etc) that help you cultivate a positive, confident attitude. Post these around your house and say them aloud every day and every time the negativity starts to niggle at you. Hopefully your midwife is also affirming your strength and reminding you that this birth and baby are likely to be very different than the first.
But of course, there’s no guarantee everything will go smoothly. Giving birth is a great mystery. So it is also important to temper your optimism with a realistic attitude about how much around birth happens without you having any control over it. Ya just never know!! This is one of the biggest teachings of the blood mystery called motherhood — surrendering to the mystery, but somehow staying empowered and positive as you do it.
The ability to “go with the flow” and learn from this transformative, amazing (if challenging) experience called pregnancy and birth is how you are growing your womb-an wisdom. You have already been through the initiation ritual into motherhood that was your first birth. You found yourself to be challenged emotionally and physically, but you have grown as a result. Look for the pearl of wisdom you gained from it and move on.
Hopefully this next birth will be smoother, easier, less challenging. But whatever happens, you are strong enough to deal with it and will keep learning and growing in life-affirming ways. May the goddess be with you and please let us all know how it all turns out!