Birth: The 12 Step Program
Sometimes it seems that we have lost our way so thoroughly when it comes to birth that we must literally re-evaluate, re-think, and re-learn some basic and innate knowledge.
1. First, I must take responsibility for my and my babies' birth. I will remember that it is ultimately me that will take this baby home. It is I who will deal with the physical, emotional, and mental results of the birth experience. I will own it. I will be strong and educated in my choices.
2. I will recognize the importance of feeding my baby and myself well during this sacred time of gestation. I will remember that eating well will not only make me feel better but it will be an integral part in our achieving a natural birth.
3. I will remember that my sedentary lifestyle may have left some important birthing muscles weak. I will strengthen them as I take time daily to embrace this baby, this birth, and the different strengths that I will need. I will believe that doing so will help not just with comfort, but strength and proper positioning.
4. I will research my choices and options. I will not let experts, others or fear dictate what I choose. I will not just listen to what other people think, but I will start learning to tune in to my inner mama strength and the intuition that I need in the coming months and years.
5. I will learn about labor and how it works. I will always remember that laboring is normal, instructive and POSSIBLE. I will keep in mind that I can do ANYTHING (even relax through a contraction) for a minute and a half. Nature is kind in her ways of bringing the baby into the world.
6. I will push my baby out under my own power. I will remember gravity and that she is my friend in this process. I will also not underestimate the ability of the baby to know how it should arrive and let him turn and twist as he needs to.
7. I will carefully choose my care provider, birth class and birth place. I recognize how important they can be to the overall birth and that this cannot be left up to chance. I will ask questions. I will not fear them because they have degrees I don't. I will dig for answers and I will find somebody else if I need to. I will remember that I am the consumer and that I will get what I am paying for.
8. I will learn and then practice daily relaxation. I will learn the power in my body. I will become familiar, along with my birth partner, with the ways that I relax, feel good, and let go. My ability to relax will become automatic as I tune into myself and my loving birth partner.
9. I will prepare myself by listening to the good and shutting out voices of negativity and rudeness. I will read positive birth stories and talk with women whose births were empowering. I will be strong in tuning out negativity, televisions shows, and my own fears. I will practice daily affirmations for my birth. I will recognize that where I am mentally and emotionally will deeply impact my birth.
10. I will face my daemons and move past them. I will recognize that past experiences in my life or in my births can come up again in this birth. But I will remember my own power and recognize the healing effect that a beautiful birth can have on me as I prepare to birth consciously.
11. I will look forward to this baby. I will prepare to nurture and feed it. I will joyfully plan to breastfeed and make sure that my birth team regards the first few hours between mom and baby as sacred and unforgettable.
12. I will remember that I have done all that I can to prepare for a good experience. I will let go of my anxiety as I hope for the best and let go of the rest. I will be at peace as I wait for this birth.