Here are some ideas that might get you thinking about what to think about. Do pick and chose what resonates with you, and let me know if you could add others. Happy Birthing!
1. Breathe. Learning ways to stay calm and tuned into your body will help your birth experience be better, no matter what kind of birth you plan or have. Find what works for you - yoga, meditation, massage, hypnotherapy… As a bonus those breaths can centre you through breastfeeding, toddler tantrums and teen troubles. It's a good thing for life.
2. Learn. Gain knowledge of the birth process to help you and your birth partner know what to expect. Go on a birth preparation course, read and discover more about your body. I'd recommend the wonderful midwife, Ina May Gaskin or ‘The Positive Birth Book’ by Milli Hill. Check my resources page for online resources.
3. Plan. Research, read and discuss. Get a sense of what you would like to happen in your birth, based on what you've learnt. Get your head round not just the what-if scenarios, but your feelings about being in certain situations. We all have worries, if you can face them with knowledge, confidence and support they become smaller.
4. Release. Know that birth is unpredictable and things can change, including your feelings; in the moment you may not want a water birth, a massage, an epidural, to be in the bedroom. Baby may come at a time or place you're not expecting. Birth plans are a fantastic way of educating yourself and knowing your options. BUT try not to hold onto your plans too tightly and make your 'birth plan' a moveable, flexible thing. When you're writing a plan, try to keep it simple for your midwife - you may want a more full text for yourself and your birth partner.
5. Talk. Make head space - give yourself time and information to make decisions. There is almost always time to talk about options so you are in control of what is happening. You may also need space to talk with other friends, relatives, birth partners to get any emotional 'stuff' aired before baby comes along. You could think of it as making stress-free nest for baby.
6. Baby: Don't forget the baby - or the placenta! What would you like to have happen for the delivery of the placenta? Do you want to keep it? How would you like to meet baby or learn baby's gender (if you're having a surprise) etc. You can also plan for those first moment meeting your child. Skin to skin with mum and maybe dad too?
7. Postnatal. Will you want visitors immediately? Make sure there's a wish list of helper jobs or even a rota - people can cook you meals, help with siblings, cuddle baby while you shower, walk your dog, put a wash on, make cups of tea - whatever you need. Don't feel the need to 'entertain' visitors. If you don't think you'll have enough support find out about a fab cleaner, cook or ideally a doula to help you though the practicalities and emotions of those early weeks with baby.
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