How many of you were flooded with negative birth stories the moment you started telling people you were expecting? What is the deal with that?! Everyone from your sister to the supermarket checkout lady can’t wait to tell you how many days they were in labour/stitches they needed/painful it was/traumatised they were etc etc etc.
Add to that the horrendous (and, often fake or dramatised) births we see on tv, in films, online forums-is it any wonder most women approach birth with a sense of (at least) anxiety about the day their baby enters the outside world.
Not only is this not in any way helpful it’s also really bloody unfair! Imagine telling an athlete over and over again that they would never be able to finish their marathon, their legs would give in half way round, they’d probably trip and need to be carried over the finish line on a stretcher. Or telling Ed Sheeran he couldn’t really sing all that well, his guitar playing was…ok, but at his next show chances are his mic will fail, his fingers might seize up and he’ll probably have to bail halfway through. Would you ever tell your children that they would probably find their exams really hard and probably not do very well? Hell no!
In fact, is there any other time in anyone’s life when they are about to do something hugely important and special and amazing and wonderful and kick ass, but everyone around them tells them how dreadful the whole thing is going to be?
Negative thoughts and suggestions permeate our subconscious minds and can really fuel fears and cause stress and anxiety. This in turn causes us to operate in our sympathetic response, producing adrenalin and hindering the production of oxytocin. Not at all useful in pregnancy and especially unhelpful in labour.
Filling your mind with positivity increases confidence, helps you remain calm, comfortable and excitedly anticipate your baby’s birth. Repeating positive affirmations to yourself daily will help to cement these thoughts in your mind and give you a better chance of being able to relax in labour and have a better birth.
So please please, stay away from One Born Every Minute, seek out positive birth videos instead, there are hundreds on YouTube. Find some affirmations you relate to (my course comes with lots of them ready to print as well as a set of affirmation cards) and stick them up around your house, on your desk, on your phone wallpaper and just notice them. And, from now on, if anyone starts telling you their birth horror story you are well within your rights to politely ask them to zip it.