Why is your birth experience important?
Why should you even care how your birth goes? As long as everyone makes it out healthy and alive, that’s all that matters - right?
One of my favorite hoodies that you can find me wearing like ALL THE TIME says "Your birth story matters". But why?
I want you to think of a baby chick for a moment. The baby is chillin’ in it’s egg under a nice warm chicken butt, just growing and doing baby chick fetus things. All of a sudden (due to things I don’t remember from 4th grade) the baby chick decides it wants to come out and play - and it begins to use its beak to break through the barrier that has held her in. She does this through instinct, and with every bit of strength she has. And when she’s done, she is stronger than ever before, able to navigate her chick life with every bit of strength and confidence that has ever been bestowed upon chickens.
But what happens if you come in - seeing that the chick is struggling? You want to help the “poor chick”. She seems like she’s having a tough time. Afterall, that’s a hard shell for such a tiny beak to poke through. It’s taking her a long time. Her chirping seems to be indicative that she’s suffering. Your well-meaning heart goes over to the bouncing egg and pulls a piece of the egg shell off. Then another. You feel so good that you’re helping her. She will surely thank you when it’s over because of how easy you made it for her.
But nature designed this process so perfectly. The chick was meant to move past that barrier, to become strong and confident enough to navigate what comes next. The chick you just “helped” is now weaker than her siblings who hatched themselves.
This might be a stupid metaphor (no, we aren’t chickens. I'm a birth photographer, not a philosopher. LOL), but this concept has been weighing on my mind and heart a lot lately.
I think that when we are empowered to actively move through birth (instead of passively letting the medical providers map the way), that feeling of empowerment lingers, and even grows, as we enter the journey into mothering that baby. When we are ACTIVE in the process, from the decisions we make about how, where and with whom to labor - we unconsciously reinforce the idea that WE know what’s best for us and our babies. We have guides along the way, sure. And they are valuable team members. But as soon as you allow someone to drive the car for you, you are robbed of that power. You set yourself up to forever be looking for outside of your own instincts for confirmation that your next move is the right one. Or maybe you won’t even make a move at all, because you don’t believe you can. And trust me, that is not where you want your parenting journey to begin...
DISCLAIMER: Yes, it IS important that everyone make it out alive and healthy. I believe that medical intervention in birth is absolutely a blessing when used appropriately. Thank goodness we have the technology and access to life-saving measures. If your birth requires such intervention, that does NOT mean you *aren’t* powerful - so long as you put yourself in the driver’s seat, educated yourself about your options, and used your own power to decide, instead of having decisions made for you. Being empowered in birth does not always mean having an un-medicated birth in the water with lovely music playing and a lavender scent in the room. It can look a million different ways. But for the love of Michael Scott, PLEASE be an active participant.
YOU are the one who knows your body and your baby best. YOU are the one who is most qualified to make the choices from the time your test comes back positive all the way through your baby’s graduation into adulthood. Don’t give away your power.
So where do you start to take an active role in your birth? Are you pregnant (or hoping to be soon) and have no idea where to begin? I got you. Check out my FREE guide that will give you 8 simple steps you can take now to feel more empowered in your birth experience.