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.


Beautiful! I love this list.
Carolee Beckham said…
Your blog is one of my new favorites- NO JOKE. I find everything you post to be inspiring, motivating and spot-on. I love your insight and perspective. When I read this post, I immediately printed it out and have it now on my desk. I am using it to prepare for my baby's delivery. Thank you for putting it so clearly into 12 steps.

Anyway, I was just given an award for my blog from a fellow blogger.. and felt that you were more deserving. So i've featured you as one of the lovely blogs worth following. :)
This is fantastic!!! Exactly what I need as I prepare for birth in the next 4 weeks!
Court said…
Wonderful! Thanks so much for posting. I especially need to focus on #7 right now. I'm about to start interviewing midwives for the next baby (not yet conceived) because I had such a bad experience birthing my son that I want to be fully prepared.

Sometimes I think I'm preparing "too much" - I have 8 or so birth books on my nightstand at home - and that my long list of questions will annoy the midwives. But then I remember that I have the right to ask these questions and get the answers I need to feel comfortable. : )
Elizabeth said…
I can't tell you how much I needed this today. I am 20 weeks pregnant with number 2, and I have been struggling to work through issues related to my traumatic 1st birth experience. I am planning a homebirth this time and I have been doing a lot of the things on this list already, but I need to work on them even more!