Choosing a Birth Support- Is everyone welcome?
Not everyone deserves to be with you for birth. There I said it.
Just because you’ve always promised your bestie, doesn’t mean they are the right person to support you. Just because your Mom told everyone she’d be there, doesn’t mean she should be. Even your partner, near with me….If your partner is anxious about birth, they need to get informed and confident quickly or they may change the course of your birth. And it is your birth, not a spectator event. You are either adding value or you shouldn’t be in there.
In my personal experience, my mother told me she was a bit anxious about birth. Birth was “managed” was very different when she gave birth to me. She’s also not been exposed to many positive birth stories so her fears around birth have never been challenged. I discussed this with her and I explained that her energy and fears may affect how I birth. So we agreed if she found overwhelmed at any point she’d duck out of the room for a little bit to compose herself. I appreciated this so much and when I did birth, she was right there behind me holding our 4 year old on a chair so she could see her sibling be born.
These are important conversations to have with your birth support.
Your birth support should be 100% behind you and how you want to birth, they may even need to help you advocate for yourself so your birth preferences should be their priority. They need to be interested in birth, its not an everyday event for anyone so they should know the phases of birth, perhaps attend birth education classes with you and share positive birth resources with you.
A birth support is one scoff away from being asked to leave. The moment you feel undermined, belittled or unsupported is the moment you need to decide if this person is going to be the best support for you.
A birth support is one scoff away from being asked to leave.
Have you seen The Birthplace Birth Comb? It’s a simple but really effective way of managing labour.
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A Birth Support Must Respect Your Choices
How your birth support views birth or birth themselves does not apply to your birth. If you want to birth painted blue in a field, is your birth support going to bring the paint? I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. Your birth support may not agree with your options but they must support them.
A Birth Support Must Know What To Expect
If you witnesses birth for the first time it may be a daunting and maybe even frightening thing to see. Invite your birth support to your birth education classes, hypnobirthing classes or perhaps share a book you like about childbirth. Spoiler Alert: If they don’t want to learn about birth, they might not be the best support for you.
A Birth Support Should Be Someone You Are Comfortable With
Not just comfortable with them seeing you poop either. Would you ask this person to hold you hand on the toilet? Are they going to be ok with it as much as you are? It worth asking. You may be speaking to someone that birthed in stirrups under a sheet and you may rock in to birth suit naked as the day you were born. It worth chatting about.
Do you trust them? Can you sit in silence with them? Trusting and being relaxed in the presence of your birth support is integral to being able to move through the phases of birth.
Will they take offence if you say something a bit mean, it happens and its completely normal during birth. Communication from the birthing woman is often minimal, fractured and vague at times. It might be up to the birth support to fill in the gaps in communication.
A birth support is the one of the greatest birthing comfort “tool” there is. Physically and emotionally holding space for you while you move through labour. Listening and allaying your fears, reminding you how powerful you are and supporting you to meet your goals.
Resources for Birth Supports
Hypnobirthing /Calm Birthing Education
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkins & Katie Rohs
Birth Without Fear by January Harshe
Are You Planning A Calm & Connected Birth?
Birth Affirmations are a great way to tune in to your body’s power and trust the process of birth. Your body listens to what you tell it, make you your body knows how capable it is of birthing. Read How Affirmations Work Here
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