In the month of January, we start afresh, a new year, new ideas. Hence, our participants have looked into the topic of “Birth and New Beginnings”. Take a look at the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants.
I’ve been preparing for my second birth, which should take place sometime in late July or early August, by using the Hypnobabies home study course. I did the same during my first pregnancy, but this time it means so much more. This time I have a toddler following me around, repeating the “Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations” she hears me listening to daily. One of those affirmations provides a reminder that, “this is a new birth and a new baby, unique unto itself.” While I consider my first birth to have been a beautiful experience, all but perfect for the time and place we were in, I am looking forward in so many ways to the opportunity to have a new and different experience with our second child.
There are a handful of specific things I’d like to do differently this time, starting with the birthing place. I plan to be out of the hospital this time, either in a birthing center or our home. I would like to wait longer to have the cord cut, set the tone even more with candles and flowers, have someone take photos, allow my water to break on its own or my baby to be born en caul, and so on. More than anything, though, I have a general sense of how I want this birth to feel. In a word, I am looking forward to a greater feeling of awareness.
My first pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience set me on a journey toward greater awareness of my body. I had never considered the idea that I may be more equipped to make the final decisions about my own care than a doctor. I had never thought to question the medical system or the accepted way of doing things. The more I learned about birth and pregnancy, the more I realized that what’s “standard” is not what is best for every woman. There is value in medical opinions. There is value in understanding the stances of various medical organizations and the rationale for them, yet at the same time there is equal, perhaps even greater, value in awareness of one’s own body and individual needs. There is also value in opposing opinions and alternative ways of doing things. I am so grateful to have discovered this early on in my first pregnancy, and to have had the opportunity to make my own decisions with regard to my birth experience.
The sad thing about growing up in a culture that believes that doctor knows best is that such a belief diminishes, or even eliminates the need to be in tune with one’s own body. There is no need to pay close attention to signs and symptoms when sophisticated diagnostic tools at the doctor’s office make the final call anyway, right? Growing up with this belief, I was so out of touch with my own body that a mere hunch, not any of the physical signs that seem so obvious to me now, was what caused to me to look into the possibility that I was pregnant shortly after my first daughter was conceived. Once a home pregnancy test confirmed my hunch, I was plagued by stress until I could finally see a doctor and confirm the health of my baby-to-be.
As my pregnancy progressed, I learned more and more. I began to listen to and trust my body, and the natural birth of my healthy baby turned out to be a truly empowering and enlightening experience. Following my daughter’s birth, choosing a method of birth control led me to learn about another process entirely: my menstrual cycle. Paying attention to the different phases I pass through, knowing their purpose and the hormones associated with them, and understanding how this relates to my ability to conceive seems so simple, and it seems absolutely crazy now that I had never given it any thought before. Knowing how my body ought to work will serve me well into the future, as it will make it easy for me to detect any problems or abnormalities as they appear, well past the time in my life when I’m conceiving, carrying, and birthing babies.
I am so grateful to have this place of trust and awareness as my starting point this time around, and I hope that my awareness of the goings on inside my body will only increase with my growing belly. Reading birth stories helped me to prepare for my first birth by giving me a sense of what I could expect, and what birthing women are capable of, but this time I’m reading them from a different place. This time, I’m understanding how my first birth could have been different, and looking forward to full awareness as I bring my next child into the world. I love reading about the sensations women had as they progressed through labor, some even aware of their cervix opening and stretching, or their baby physically moving down and engaging. I feel such excitement when I read stories of women who felt their baby’s head as it crowned, watched it in a mirror, or perhaps even held their newborn and guided them from the birth canal to their chest, unassisted. I get chills when I think of the full involvement in, and awareness of the birthing process these women felt. It’s an experience women can only have so many times in their lives, and I want to embrace it fully.
I loved the process of birthing my daughter, but I was preoccupied by so many things, afraid of the unknown, and focused on managing the strong sensations of labor. I was simply waiting for the urge to push, and it’s all a blur from there. This time, my body is a trusted friend and I look forward with great anticipation to being fully present in it as I birth this new baby, and by extension a new family.
Visit Authentic Parenting and MudpieMama to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 27 with all the carnival links.)
- Becoming Intentional with My Time Valerie at Momma in Progress shares the beginning of her year-long journey toward more intentional living.
- Alirik’s Birth Story: Sweet Surprise Lauren at Hobo Mama tells the sweet surprise unassisted home water birth story of her second child.
- My Rebirth: An Honest Look Darcel at The Mahogany Way talks a little about some of the fear and insecurity she’s felt over the years since starting her parenting journey and her blog.
- Trusting My Body: Ailia’s Birth Story After a very challenging birth with her son, Dionna at Code Name: Mama was nervous about having another natural birth. But practicing relaxation techniques and birth affirmations proved to be just what she needed to have her perfect, peaceful, unassisted homebirth.
- My Homeschool Philosophy Paige a Bay Dust Diaries shares her new year’s resulution about homeschooling.
- Yet Another Resolutions Post... Zen mummy‘s resolutions for a better 2012
- Renewing Green Passions in the New Year Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction talks about renewing a passion for green living in the new year
- Birthing and New Beginnings… And Better Mothering Sheila at A Living Family shares her first ever New Year’s resolutions to be a more mindful, compassionate and respectful mother to her two-year old daughter after the recent birth of her son.
- An Open Letter to MTV Regarding 16 and Pregnant Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delivers a pointed message to MTV about how they misrepresent birth and parenthood on 16 and Pregnant.
- Setting Intentions Megan at The Other Baby Blog shares another way to ring in the New Year.
- Spencer’s Birth Story Momma Jorje shares her family’s story of birthing her son with Down syndrome.
- Looking Forward, Looking Back Erica @ ChildOrganics shares how she is able to look back at the loss of their daughter and yet move forward with her family at the same time.
- Unique unto Itself. Melissa of Vibrant Wanderings has chosen a word for her second child’s birth: awareness.
- The Unassisted Birth of The LIttle Buddha. Laura at Authentic Parenting shares the birth story of her new baby
- Birthing and Resolutions: Keeping Good Things in Motion. MudpieMama shares her VBAC story and why she skipped making resolutions in the traditional way.
- The Birth of a New Era by Mandy from Living Peacefully With Children