Why the preparation before my second birth is so important that I write a separate post about it?
Because we prepare for new unfamiliar experiences differently from the way we prepare for second-time experiences! Birth is no exception!
The second time around some of us probably feel stronger, or relaxed, or frightened, even terrified or simply exalted.
Definitely more determined- determined to make our next experience better- empowering, beautiful, rewarding, meaningful. We all strive for experiences that build us up.
What I did to prepare for labor
Maternity yoga – just ten minutes a day- was so beneficial. I could only start from the second trimester as the first months were physically challenging for me with morning sickness, weakness, and I had to work while caring for my older son, during a hot humid summer. Once I started feeling a little stronger mentally and physically, I picked myself up and tried short daily videos of yoga that grounded me and gave me hope I could handle things.
Walking, moving, staying active- After my first birth, I was convinced that staying active played a big part not only in keeping fit during pregnancy but also in having a smooth delivery. I knew it is a good investment of my time and effort. Read more about Pregnancy and Birth preparation.
What I did better this time around was:
A. getting better informed
B. getting better-prepared mentally
that would help me take a more proactive role throughout my pregnancy and the birthing process.
The best resources I came across were on Alexia Leachman`s website Fearfree Childbirth and through her work, network, and podcast I could access invaluable information and precious support that made a big difference not only through pregnancy and birth but for life.
- Learning about hormones during labor and how they work (oxytocin, endorphins, adrenaline)
- Learned about fear- pain- tension cycle, explored my fears (fears about birth and any other general fears), and worked hard on clearing my fears. Alexia Leachman’s method worked well for me and I also listened to her fear clearance meditations and fear clearance mantras.
- Researched a lot about natural birth
- Learned about natural body positions during labor (staying upright vs lying down, staying on all fours vs lying on your back, etc)
- Watched videos of positive calm births
- Watched videos of animals giving birth (also together with my 4-year-old- read more about How to prepare older kids for a new sibling)
- Switching my old beliefs to new ones that birth is natural and we are made to give birth
- Learned and practiced relaxation techniques and meditation
- Practiced deep breathing, controlled breathing
- Learned to listen to my body sensations and experiences; practiced how to stay focused on here-and-now; learned how to relieve my tension and to keep calm my body and mind
- Took sophrology classes (very similar to hypnobirthing) at the clinic that mostly focused on relaxation and breathing practices but also explained in detail some of the clinic procedures
- Believe in my body- my body helped make this baby, my body knows what to do to bring the baby out, I would let my body take the lead
- Believe in my baby- my baby knows how to be born, I would encourage him and would not disturb him
- Imagined what the perfect birth looked like for me. Shared with the baby what kind of birth I wanted for us. Shared with my partner the perfect birth I was envisioning. Again, I highly recommend Alexia Leachman’s work- her podcast and her book Fearless Birthing, which was not published in time for my second baby but I was able to use it for my third pregnancy.
- Wrote down all the things I did not want to happen to me and the baby during labor. Accepted that even if these bad things happened, we would still be ok.
- Worked on my relationship with my partner- open talks about us as a couple, as parents, sharing our fears, sharing how I was preparing for labor; he was not always in the right mood to listen to me but he always respected me. Shared with him my expectations of him supporting me. We took together a sophrology class for birth preparation. On daily basis, I learned to appreciate my partner more- I looked for the small things he did that made my day easier and brighter. This goes beyond birth and parenting. Scientifically proved.
- The last few days before labor I did all I could to stay calm, fear-free and positive. With my first I went 13 days past my due date so this time around I was aware that I needed all the patience and peace I could hold.
- I had a moxibustion treatment to naturally start labor and did moxibustion by myself at home for three days before the baby arrived.
All the preparations I did work amazingly well for me. Read about my second birth here.
We are all different, we all need different things. Find out what works for you so that you can create your beautiful birthing experience. Do come back and share!