Expectations of Birth

Becca Maberly, Co-Founder A Mother Place

If you were planning to run the Marathon, you would start by applying for a place the usual way. You might be lucky and get one straight away, or it might take a lot longer and be more difficult than you had anticipated, it could take years to get that coveted spot. You finally get that acceptance letter and it’s really happening..so what do you do next?

Nothing. You don’t need to train, so many people do marathons all the time, it cant be that hard. Just turn up on the day and start running? You’ll be fine! Realise that you can’t afford any trainers or running clothes and just hope that you will be ok to do it in your jeans and converse. Spend hours googling the subject. Read every book on the subject. Speak to every friend, family member and acquaintance about it and try and take advice from each of them, including Auntie Shiela who has never even run for a bus, Dave at work who once ran 5K and had to get rescued by St John’s Ambulance, a chick you met at a party who runs bare foot ultra marathons in the desert and your best mate Clare who says that she is definitely going to do the Marathon next year.

None of these options is a recipe for success. You need to prepare for the event - by getting some qualified and evidence-based advice from a reputable source. You’ll need some decent equipment, the right attitude and a degree of flexibility for what the race throws at you!

Seeing as you are reading this on the Make Birth Better Blog, you have probably clocked what the Marathon analogy represents…Birth of course!

Giving birth is like nothing else on earth. It is impossible to find the perfect analogy or a description that encompasses every woman’s experience. For some women it is “beautiful”, “life affirming”, “empowering”, for others, “not that bad”, “manageable”, “not a big deal” whilst others call it “painful”, “hideous”, “traumatic”, “worse than you could imagine”. So how do you go about preparing for an event that evokes such wildly differing responses from women who have gone before you? Who do you talk to - how do you work out what your birth will be like?

We think that the answer lies in realistic expectations. We believe that by giving women access to evidence-based, honest and up-to-date advice we can empower them and prepare them properly for their pregnancy, birth and the early years.

Understanding how the body is designed to work, whilst appreciating that that things do not always go as planned or wanted is essential if you are to keep an open mind.

Although women, have of course, been getting pregnant and giving birth in bushes without medical intervention for eons, this does not mean that mother nature gets it right every time.

There are a multitude of reasons why birth is not always simple and is often dangerous or even life threatening for both mother and baby. Thankfully, advances in hygiene, medicine, science and research mean that it has never been safer to give birth in this country BUT there is often a cost to every advance and for the woman that cost is often “intervention”. These forms of intervention such as forceps, ventouse, episiotomy or caesarean section can often take women by surprise and for many have huge negative connotations both before and after the birth.

But by making sure that women understand, before they give birth, how and why such interventions might be needed, what choices they have and how they should be cared for, we are putting them in good stead for a happy and less traumatic birth. Whilst antenatal courses that focus on positive mental attitude and relaxation techniques have a part to play in preparing women for birth, their is no substitute for honest and reliable information from the start.

At A Mother Place we are passionate about this. We believe that every woman is entitled to this honest and reliable advice and that where you live and how much money you have should not be barriers to accessing this. Too many women are going into labour without proper preparation and in some cases they completely misinformed and this is not fair. We have created FREE Online Antenatal Courses with the hope that we can play a part in making things easier for new mothers and their partners.

© Make Birth Better CIC 2019

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