So…it’s not going “textbook”.
Your water broke before labor started,
your baby turned breech,
your labor stalled,
you have a swollen cervix etc…
Mama’s, labor is totally unpredictable. And the truth is, when it starts you have little control over how it happens.
If if not’s going as planned and something unexpected happens, it’s high time to ditch your Type A personality cause it’s only going to get in the way.
What should you do instead?
If what’s happening isn’t in need of immediate medical attention, but wouldn’t be classified as a “textbook” labor either, here’s what you need to do instead of trying to control it:
1) Relax, it’s not your story to write
Although all of our planning, preparation, and healthy eating and exercising do give us an advantage to having a textbook birth, it doesn’t always work out that way.
The bigger picture is that this is your baby’s birth, not yours. It’s the beginning of your baby’s story and as much as s/he is a part of you, s/he still has a story to write and play out in this life apart from you.
Dramatic entrances don’t have to mean doom and gloom for your child. It could actually be a source of strength for them when they grow older.
The best thing you can do when something unexpected happens in labor is to relax and go with the flow of the birth energy.
A great way to relax and get in the flow is to…
Is it hard for you to relax when things seem out of your control? Do you suffer from seriousitis? Do you often get in your own way in life?
Mama, life is way too short for that shit.
I used to be that way until I started practicing laughing with intention.
What is that you ask?
It’s just that – laughing with intention; not because something’s funny, but with intention.
I started laughing with intention about a year ago. Recently, I completed a 21-day Joy Experiment to see what would happen when I made my joy a priority. It was life-changing to say the least.
This laughing bit isn’t just for when things aren’t going your way in life. Laughing with intention can also help you when things aren’t going your way with your labor and birth.
Are you taking your birth too seriously? Are you going to be upset if it doesn’t go exactly as you planned?
Get up and dance, cackle, whiz and whirl, get out of your head… LAUGH when things don’t go as expected.
Doing so will help you loosen your grip and let birth happen as it wants and is in the highest good for all involved!
Starting a laughter practice before you give birth will give you the best chance at being in the space of ease and flow during labor and birth.
Join me and a bunch of other awesome people for the next 10-day Joy Experiment hosted by my friend Anne Timpany November 9-18, 2015 to help you lighten up and get out of your own way with your birth plan!
3) Focus on what IS going right
You’re having a baby! Regardless of how it’s all going down, you’re having a baby and becoming a mother hell or high water.
There will be time to process all that’s happening that wasn’t in your plans. But, while it’s happening isn’t the time to do that.
When something unexpected happens is when you need to get and stay present, connect, relax, and get in the flow of the energy of your labor the most.
You may not have control over HOW it happens, but nothing will correct issues or speed up the process more than choosing to focus on all that already is right and building on that energy.
What you focus on WILL expand!
4) Call in your support system
First off, to get a baby down and out, you have to be comfortable. You need people who are 100% supportive of your choices.
Hopefully, you’ve carefully selected your birth team and have chosen supportive people to be with you.
If you’ve hired a doula, AWESOME! She will be able to help you with the physical aspects of your birth to get things going in the right direction. (Check out the spinning babies website for amazing tips to steer a non textbook labor in the right direction.)
However, you may find that when things go unexpectedly, someone you thought would be supportive is no longer supportive of your choices…What to do?
Tell them to leave or if you’ve hired them, fire them.
If you have to, go lock yourself in the bathroom until you feel safe. Let your primal brain kick in and go with your gut…always.
Don’t worry about being kind, proper, polite. When you’re having a baby isn’t the time for pleasantries.
You need to get down to the nitty gritty and do the work that’s ahead of you NOW.
And if someone isn’t supporting you, they simply have to go.
You don’t need to apologize either. But, if you feel you need to, you can do that later.
5) Establish boundaries when writing your birth plan
As the saying goes – “knowing what you want is half the battle.”
When you know what you’ll say “hell yeah” to and “hell no” to when it comes to common interventions and newborn procedures in labor and birth, you’re halfway to getting what you want already!
What are you willing to accept if something unexpected happens?
What are you not willing to accept if something unexpected happens?
When sitting down and writing your birth plan (that’s really for you btw, not as much for the docs), you give yourself the opportunity to evaluate your ok’ness with common interventions and newborn procedures with your doula.
Your doula should be going through all of this with you or helping lead you to information to help you get the facts before making up your mind.
When everyone knows what you want, they can support you and help you better if things don’t go as planned.
Establishing boundaries ahead of time will also allow your support people to emotionally support you because they aren’t busy helping you make up your mind in the moment.
Usually not the way you want to go – making big decisions about your birth in the moment – if you can avoid it ahead of time.
Establishing boundaries beforehand = everyone knows where you stand = no one can take advantage of you = you have an empowering birth experience no matter what.
Are you digging these 5 tips to help if your labor doesn’t go as planned? If so, I’m 100% sure that you’ll LOVE reading my free eBook – Bringing Back Empowered Birth: Reclaim Your Feminine Power in Childbirth. Download it here.
In it you’ll learn 7 things you can do to have an empowering birth (especially in the hospital setting) no matter what.
Go get your copy here!
With so much love,
As a doula, most of my clients are willing and determined to have a natural birth. Not all of them get one. Does this mean their birth can’t be empowering? Hell no. In fact, quite the opposite.
For my clients who need a medical intervention, my job turns into something else than a bringer and barer of various comfort measures and physical labor support. They need me to bring and bare emotional support.
For the mama’s who carry the intention for a natural birth but end up needing medical intervention, we have to acknowledge that needed medicalized births carry with them hidden potential for personal empowerment too.
Let me explain the 3 hidden potentials for empowerment of the needed medicalized birth:
When a mama chooses an intervention because the medical benefit would outweigh the medical risk, she is faced with more challenges than she would have otherwise. Each challenge she faces is but another opportunity for her to remain in her power.
The first challenge that a mama faces when a medical intervention is needed is that
1) She may still have to get through “labor land”
Many times she’s already in labor before a medical intervention becomes needed. The potential for empowerment here is the same as it is for a natural birth. This potential is the challenge of letting go of any remaining fears of birth.
For the mama’s and birth professionals who know, we call this “labor land” – the place where she zones out completely because she’s looking within for the strength to get through it when she may be fully convinced that she can’t. She’s fearful that she won’t.
Through being told otherwise by her doula, midwife, and/or partner, she will get through “labor land” unscathed.
When a medical intervention is needed, however:
2) She’s faced with the challenge to let go of an outcome she didn’t necessarily want.
Not only does she walk through “labor land”, she walks through and right there in the middle she’s faced with lions and tigers where she now has to choose a path quickly – none of which she probably would have picked for herself because of the terrain.
To consciously choose a path you don’t really want but that you need…right there…that’s where letting go is the hardest of all.
Think of all the times in your life (usually in life or love) where a door has been shut. You did everything right because you really wanted to go down that path, but life’s not offering it as an option. What do you do?
You gracefully let go and chalk it up to universal protection; you pick up your big girl panties and move on right from where you’re at. Begrudgingly and all. You pick yourself up and refuse to let this stop you. You keep going.
Well, that’s exactly what mama’s have to do in labor when something unexpected happens and a medical intervention becomes needed. For you to stay in your power, you have to let go of your ideal story and deal with what you’ve got right from where you’re at.
Forget about the “why’s” and the “but I don’t understand’s”. There will be a time for that, but now (during labor and birth) isn’t it!
It’s time for you to STAY FOCUSED on how you want to feel. Do you want to feel strong? Do you want to continue to stand in your power or do you want to let the situation get the best of you and give it all away to someone who DOES NOT know better than you?
There are no guarantees in life, or love. That life part, well that most certainly includes birth.
There are no guarantees that you will have the perfect birth you’ve envisioned. But you are guaranteed the choice to choose how you react to it.
Your choices are 1: Step into your power, or 2: back down and crumble because you’re not willing to let go.
For the mama willing to let go of her ideal story and stand in her power anyway IS empowerment.
She’s claimed the parts of the story that she does have control over and let the rest be what it be’s.
The third hidden potential for empowerment of the needed medicalized birth:
3) She faces the challenge to stay present while moving through her rite of passage into motherhood
Staying present while giving birth is vital. Although not everyone is given the opportunity due to general anesthesia, doing a birth visualization exercise once conscious can be very healing for the mama’s who aren’t able to remain conscious through birth.
The entire birth event is a rite of passage. Staying as present as possible while going through it is vital.
Our culture has nearly abandoned the practice of celebrating rites of passage. It’s sad because so many people are becoming young girls, women, and mothers without the proper acknowledgment and celebration.
These days, we even dread most of these rites of passage. Getting your period? Disgusting. Becoming a women? Dirty and sinful. Becoming a mother? Who would want their freedom taken away…
And we wonder why women’s health and rights are on the line…
The mama’s who are able to remain conscious while undergoing a medical intervention during birth face the challenge of staying present and focused on walking through their rite of passage into motherhood.
It’s easy to get caught up in the sadness of having to let go of your ideal story.
But don’t worry. There will be time for the sadness to surface and come out later.
During the birth event, you need to remain present and focused on what’s happening regardless of how.
Staying present will give you the opportunity to celebrate and honor your rite of passage into motherhood. Give yourself permission to walk through this rite of passage regardless of how it happens. Doing so will empower you further.
The key is to stay present.
Honor the present.
Honor what your body’s going through.
Honor the birth event and it will honor you.
Did you want a natural birth and ended up needing a medical intervention? Did your experience feel empowering? What 1 thing helped you stay in your power? Tell us in the comments section below.
I can’t even tell you how many women want to hear from you. We read all the books like Spiritual Midwifery and hear the beautiful birth stories from mama’s who’s births went as planned.
But, so many women don’t get the birth experience they were planning for because of something that may have been completely out of their control. (breech, prolapse cord, multiples, placenta previa, placenta abruption, pre-eclampsia, way post-date etc…). Let us hear from you and how your birth experience was empowering anyway!
With so much love,