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Belief in yourself, belief in birth.

Believe in yourself, believe in birth.

I read a message by someone else this morning on believing in yourself. She wrote that as children we believe with absolute ease and certainty, but then over time our belief is drowned out by voices of fear.These voices of fear then replace loving belief with the louder voice of doubt.

So over breakfast I spoke to my 5 year old about it, I wanted to hear his response, which was more profound than I had expected.He finds is difficult to communicate sometimes but clear as a bell he said “ I believe in myself, and I believe in you”.That small affirmation sent a warm glow through my body, a little burst of endorphins. Does he really know what he believes in?Does it matter? He takes each moment as it comes and lives, mostly happily, to the next without fear, or doubt of something which may never happen, clouding his happiness and self-belief.

As women birthing we lose our belief in what we are capable of, often doubting the birth, and doubting in the amazing ability of our body to deliver our babies to us.We often teach trust in nature’s way, but what about trusting in our way? Your body knows how to birth your baby better than anyone else. Yes nature is amazing, yes we should trust nature and believe in its power to shape and create life, but we should also believe in ourselves. We should recognize and trust our own role in nature and our contribution to life in this beautiful world that we share with other animals and plants, all recreating as we do.

The television documentaries we watch, the books we read, the stories we are told, those voices of doubt, all take us one step further away from that belief and understanding, they are the dissenting voices in nature and in our belief about birth.

Once we lose our self-belief, our focus shifts from what we are capable of, to what we are not capable of.Couples very often focus on what may go wrong, instead of what will go right. When this happens, we begin to live in fear and our actions become fear based.

For just one day turn off those dissenting voices.How would it feel for a day if you just focused on what can go right, let thoughts come into your mind about how amazing your body is in creating new life, how each kick is a part of a playful game between you and your baby, how each time you listen to your baby’s heartbeat it’s an affirmation of your amazing ability to grow life within you.

Focus on how capable you are, how strong you are, how you are designed to give birth.Read some positive stories and articles about birth (have a look at our Facebook page) there are lots of them out there.

Then over the next few weeks see how sowing a seed of self-belief may start you off on a different path and create a more gentle, kind, loving and compassionate journey towards birth for you and your baby

 

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Trust your instinct when baby cries.



Last week, I took my three year old, Kurtis, to his first swimming lesson. Even though he is my third, I was still excited. As I arrived, somewhat late (very little changes, even when you’re on your third baby!) and when we approached the side of the pool ready to get in, the lesson had started. There was one child in the water, sobbing, and crying for his mummy, who watched anxiously from the side. He kept trying to wriggle out of the instructor’s arms, looking over at mum, pleading and desperate.

Now, of course, I don’t know that he was desperate. That is my interpretation. My interpretation would also be that we “should” listen to the child’s distress and respond. I guess the mum’s heart was telling herself that too – but for reasons of her own, she resisted that gut feeling. We are persuaded, often, in our society, to put our maternal instinct aside and the result is that mum hurts too. Luckily, that is changing, but only because science is now producing evidence that love and care are brain food for a baby. I decided that her way of doing things belongs to her, and my way is different. So I stayed on the side, waiting for my son to want to get in the water (I knew it wouldn’t take long, because although he was anxious, he won’t be able to resist for long.) I had done this with previous lessons, and of course, we do it when settling children in to nursery or pre-school too. Anyhow, after a couple of minutes, the instructor took him into the water, unwilling and beginning to cry, and asked me to move to the viewer’s area because it was disrupting the class to have me there. I think she meant I was disrupting her, because the other mum in question had also come to the side, after over ten minutes of her child sobbing and appealing to her.

I wasn’t happy to have him cry, so I hauled him out, comforted my distressed child, and left. As I was leaving, three mums came running out to me to comfort me. At some level, they get that this process hurts mums too. They “reassured” me that he would only sob for four or five sessions, and then he would love it. I felt the pressure to bow to an institutional system which I disagree with. I felt the sense of inadequacy that I was pandering to him, and that I had been a disruption to the smooth running of the class.

After we were dressed and leaving, the class was finishing. The child was still crying and sobbing. Half an hour must be a long time in a three year old’s life. My boy skipped out of the room. Did he become “spoilt” in that he got his way? Who knows.

As parents, we are caught by two evolutionary driven systems. The system to conform to society and learn from others. This helps us work within our society and raise children who can function in it. It makes us sociable humans. But the maternal instinct sometimes works in opposition to the social system. The maternal instinct is to flush with pleasure when baby smiles, and to be distressed when baby cries or refuses food. I’ve had my fill of controlled crying (9 years ago when I blindly followed the advice of books) and of not sleeping with my baby (heightening my nocturnal anxiety about his welfare- that isn’t neurosis, it’s natural when separated from your baby). I’m so pleased things are changing with regards the advice coming out.

Why Love Matters is a book which summarises the science beautifully. But, and it is a big but, all advice can be interpreted as a “should”. “Shoulds” put pressure on us, make us feel like others know better than us, and introduces the possibility of failure. There is very little out there to tell a mum to listen to her heart, her instinct, and her baby (we need a new version of Dr Spock). To love to love, for love’s sake. Not for science’s sake, or even baby’s sake. If you do it for baby’s sake, you forget to give yourself a break, and to realise that sometimes you just need a cup of tea on your own, and that is okay. If you do it because your heart tells you to, you do it genuinely, and, by the strangest coincidence, that is when your baby gets the most from it too.

So, I was quite proud of myself (after debriefing with two friends to help me make sense of my feelings) that I listened to my maternal instinct, and not societal pressure. Our classes and cd do give advice, but they also help you to listen to your heart, body and baby, during pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.