The negative aspects of labour are often the focus but here are ten reasons to stay positive. - by Emily McElarney
You are not squeezing something the size of a melon out a hole the size of a grape
No you can't believe all you hear in the movies - looking at you Look Who's Talking. A woman's body is perfectly engineered for birthing and so is a baby's.
Firstly, the hormone relaxin softens both mum's and baby's joints and ligaments (including the pelvic joints) making everything pliable, movable and accommodating. Even baby's shoulder blades and collar bone become smaller in span to allow for birth. Then the fontanelles in the baby's skull allow for the overlapping of the bony plates giving the baby that beautiful cone-shaped head and guess what, the circumference is then nothing near the size of a melon.
And now for that hole the size of a grape. The perineum or the 'final frontier' is super stretchy but it needs time to 'unfold' which is why forced pushing to achieve birth isn't recommended. Allowing the baby's head to gently 'knead' the perineum open in its own time usually results in a perfectly in-tact perineum after birth.
It doesn't have to involve pain
If we look at the body rationally, and accept that the birthing muscles are no different to any other muscles in our body, then there is no reason for them to be in pain when they are exerted.
We're not in pain when we're gardening, playing sport, practicing yoga or any other situation where we're using our muscles. We might however feel a bit stiff and tender a day or two after!
Childbirth is certainly hard work, a physical challenge and involves sensations of pressure, fullness, tightening - but not always pain. Pain is usually brought about by fear and the resulting tension it creates in the body. And don't forget the lovely endorphins our body produces.
Nature's own morphine - in fact 200 times stronger then morphine - produced right there in your own body. And don't be afraid of the contractions, as birthing guru Ina May Gaskin says: "Your rushes (contractions) cannot be stronger then you, because they are you".
Childbirth is one of the most empowering things a woman can ever do
There's nothing that even compares to that feeling of giving birth to your baby. That complete euphoria. It's there whether you have a cesarean section or a drug-free natural birth - a complete rush and a total sense of accomplishment and pride. You'll never experience anything else like it! (Until the next baby!)
It unlocks a whole new part of you that you didn't know was there
When a mother gives birth to her first baby it's as if a trap door of emotion is opened within her. Being a mother for the first time is an intense, mind-blowing emotional experience. Lots of parents find a part of themselves they never knew was there when they become a parent.
Relaxing and trusting in the process is the most beneficial thing you can practice in childbirth
When you are relaxed about birth, your body relaxes and stays soft and open to the whole process of changes which take place inside. Stressing out and being afraid tenses the body and causes a conflict of processes.
Adrenaline make the body want to hold off birthing until a safer time. It also causes blood circulation to divert away from the uterus, and baby, and head for the defence organs and limbs. The best thing you can do is lie back and relax and trust in the amazing process of birth.
You'll fall in love with your partner all over again!
There's nothing to bring a couple closer then childbirth. Though the birthing partner may feel like 'a spare' and like they're contributing nothing at all - just being there and whispering little messages of support to their beloved is perhaps the most important and effective third party contribution to birth. Once the baby is out they'll look at you in awe of the goddess you truly are!
There's lots you can do to make it easier even before your baby is due
Baby's position is half the battle. If you get baby into the optimal position for birth before the head engages you've half the work done.
Always check with your midwife/consultant what position your baby is in at each visit from 30 weeks on - not just the head, but where the baby's spine is. The perfect position is head engaged into the pelvis, with baby nestled into your left side, looking over at your right hip.
This is known as LOA or Left Occiput Anterior. Yoga, swimming, gentle lunges and avoiding reclined seats and bucket seats in cars can really help achieve this position.
There's lots you can do to make it easier on the day too!
Stay at home as long as possible - that way you can relax and feel safe and secure. Going in to hospital too early leaves you more likely to be induced or have medical intervention. Be active - move around, work with your body. Help baby make that journey through the birth path with your movement. Use gravity - giving birth lying on your back is absolutely the toughest way. Gravity will help hugely so give birth on all fours, on your knees or best of all, squatting.
There's a reason babies are meant to come out that particular exit
Yes they come out facing your bum for a reason - another nod to nature's amazing design of the birthing body.
On the way down the birth canal, the movement of the contractions expels amniotic fluid from the baby's lungs allowing them to be ready for breathing. Then on the way out, the baby takes a gulp of mum's bacteria found lying in and around the perineum. This bacteria kickstarts the baby's entire digestive system by populating the gut with flora or good bacteria.
Once the head emerges, it's the air hitting the baby's face which allows the breathing reflex to kick in - that's how babies can be born safely under water.
You actually only have to move that baby an average of 5 inches
Yes that's all. If you're in the last weeks of pregnancy, stand in front of the mirror and look at where you reckon the head is and where the exit doors are. It's really not that far. You can totally do this!
Health & Living
- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/life/family/mothers-babies/10-positives-no-one-tells-you-about-childbirth-30477675.html#sthash.oURDlfWD.dpuf
DONA Doulas are now included on the approved list for Health Care by SunLife Financials (the #1 group insurance provider in Canada)
This means that clients who have a Health Spending Account through SunLife can be reimbursed for the fees they pay to their doula. The client will pay the doula and the doula will provide a receipt for her fee. The client will then submit that receipt for reimbursement. NOTE: The doula has to be certified.
Can I tell you a secret?
I'm a little afraid of the Internet this week. August 1st -7th is World Breastfeeding Week, and as a breastfeeding mom, I'm ready to shout my success from the proverbial Internet rooftops. I've nursed Ben for 14 months, and I have been pretty vocal about how I've overcome some nasty hurdles so that I could breastfeed him.
But I am also a former formula-feeding mom. Max grew strong and healthy with formula, and I remember how it felt to see so many moms high-fiving each other during World Breastfeeding Week. Of course I was thrilled for them, but I was heartbroken for myself. I felt ostracized by their celebrations, and became increasingly fragile and sensitive to judgment.
There's going to be drama on the Internet this week, ladies. Moms like to shame each other. We do it because we're exhausted, or frustrated, or feeling unsure about our own parenting choices. So in honor of the warrior moms on both sides of the World Breastfeeding Week celebrations, I officially present to you 30 Ways That Breastfeeding and Bottle-Feeding Are Exactly The Same:
1. You are only half-awake when you have to feed your baby at 3 a.m. And again at 3:45 a.m. And again at 5:15 a.m sweet Jesus why are you still waking up little baby?!
2. You hold your breath when it's time for their weigh-in at the pediatrician's office, and cross your fingers for just a few more ounces gained this time.
3. You cry over spilled milk. That stuff is precious, and it's painful when it's wasted.
4. You pay way too much attention to your baby's poop. Is there enough? What color is it? Will you be in the middle of the grocery store when they have their next blow-out?
5. You become an artful dodger of spit-up.
6. You will argue with someone over how you are feeding your baby, when you are feeding your baby, or what you are feeding your baby.
7. You will wonder if you're doing it wrong, and convince yourself that everyone else has learned how to do it right.
8. You'll start out at the bottom of the learning curve, and look back with pride when you realize that it didn't get easier... you got better at it.
9. You'll rely heavily on a vice to get you through the first few months of constant feeding. Coffee, Sonic drinks, wine, decaf tea, chocolate. Something that is just for you.
10. You will pray that your baby falls asleep while you're feeding him. You will close your eyes and pretend to be asleep, so that they get bored and go to sleep. Mostly, you will actually fall asleep.
11. You will talk to yourself. A lot. As if your baby could actually read your mind, and hear the "Please go to sleep. Please go to sleep. Please go to sleep. Oh my God what the hell was that NOISE?!" prayer.
12. As soon as you sit down to feed the baby, your toddler wants something.
13. As soon as you sit down to feed the baby, the doorbell rings.
14. As soon as you sit down to feed the baby, you hear your 5-year-old dumping an entire bag of pretzels on the floor because he is "big now, Mom" and can get his own snacks.
15. Your baby tries to grab your glasses off of your face every time you feed her. You give up and let her. Who needs to see, when you're pretending to be asleep?
16. Regardless of what you're feeding her, she would prefer your drink. And it's even better if she can put her entire arm in your glass.
17. You will obsess over having "enough" to feed her.
18. You think a lot about feeding your baby, but not enough about feeding yourself. So you eat Goldfish crackers for breakfast and try not to drop crumbs on the baby's head as you feed him.
19. When you are feeding your baby in public, you convince yourself that everyone is watching you... and judging you.
20. You will have to pee as soon as your baby stops crying and starts eating.
21. Your baby will get distracted by the noise of a butterfly cruising by outside the window, or a train coming through the town 30 miles away. Your feeding session will be over when he tries to catch the butterfly, or board the train.
22. You'll cry when you have to go back to work, and let someone else feed him.
23. You'll cry when it hits you that you're never going back to work, and that you're the one who will be responsible for feeding him forever and ever until the end of time.
24. Your mother-in-law will have an opinion about how you feed your baby.
25. Your pediatrician, your neighbor, and the guy who bags your groceries will, too.
26. You'll obsess over whether or not your baby will take a bottle from the sitter the first time you go out on a date night.
27. You are secretly proud of the fact that you are the only one who can get him to go to sleep, because you have that special thing that you do together while he eats, and you sing that special song that only you sing.
28. One day you take a breath, and realize that you did it. You've made it this far, and you really are OK.
29. So you look back and you reach your hand out to the mom who is just starting the journey, and you promise her that you'll teach her your tricks. That she can do it, too. And you tell her that the best part of feeding your baby with love, is that...
30. You will memorize the way his eyelashes melt into his cheeks as he drinks, and live for the moments when his chubby little palm pats your arm. The best part of your day will be the silent minutes when you and your baby relax into each other, and he eats, and you breathe, and you rock.
Kim Simon is a Co-Founder of the I Support You project, which aims to foster understanding and connection between formula-feeding and breastfeeding moms. To learn more about this campaign, please visit the I Support You Movement or Mama By The Bay.
This article is part of HuffPost Parents' World Breastfeeding Week series. Read more here.