HOW THE WORDS WE USE TO TALK ABOUT BIRTH CAN CHANGE HOW WE BIRTH

Can I really transform my birth from one of
 Pain to Power,
Fear to Confidence,
Tension to Relaxation,
Doubting my ability to do this naturally
To
Knowing that I am Stronger than I Think
And
Braver than I Knew?

YES YOU CAN!

YOUR LABOR ISN’T STRONGER THAN YOU
BECAUSE IT COMES FROM WITHIN YOU!
IT IS THE NEW FOUND SURPRISING
STRENGTH OF HOW POWERFUL
 YOU AND YOUR BODY ARE
WHEN THINGS ARE NORMAL AND SAFE!
I BET YOU DIDN’T THINK YOU HAD IT IN YOU;
BUT IT WAS THERE ALL THE WHILE!

 

How can you do this?  First, we need to escort FEAR out of your birthing space.  Fear is an appropriate reaction to threat of bodily harm or survival.  Birth does not harm your body: it is a normal bodily function. So Fear energy in your birthing space is misplaced, and it could be a big risk factor for you needing to use medical intervention that does come with risks of potential harm.

Birthing normally and naturally is nothing to fear.  We need to change our expectation of childbirth from one of intolerability, danger, fear, and reliance on medical technology to one of power, confidence, trust in your body to work normally, and personal strength and joy.

Our experiences often match our expectations We have re-written our birth lexicon so that we may help to transform our expectations of birth from the negative, violent, painful imagery our society has previously used to refer and talk about birth, to an expectation of birth being the more normative, positive, natural, pleasurable, and powerful event that birth really is.

Part of this transformation involves using different language when we talk about birth that depicts a more relaxing, comforting, and normative expectation of our birth experience.  So let us change our birth language from that which has saturated our traditional birth culture involving violent imagery, negative connotations, and being a passive participant (like you being a “container” for your baby), to a new language that changes our birth expectations to that of safety, strength, power, confidence, positivity, and you being an active participant who will birth this child yourself.

OLD NEGATIVE LANGUAGE

CONTRACTION The word even sounds painful, like a spasm, but that is not what defines labor: labor is defined by the opening, stretching and softening of the cervix, the doorway to your uterus, so that you can release you baby and bring your baby into your arms!

LABOR: Hard work that hurts

FALSE LABOR: Contractions that don’t mean anything and do not mean you are in labor. Forget them.

RUPTURING THE MEMBRANES; BREAKING THE WATER: Violent and hurtful words are not helpful in facilitating vulnerable birthing women to escort fear from their birthing space.

MUCUS PLUG CAME OUT: Sounds gross, like a snot ball.  It taints this normal beautiful bodily function with a nasty, displeasurable imagery.

STRETCHING AND SWEEPING THE MEMBRANES; ROTO-ROUTER: These words sound violent and painful; the roto-router is a reference to plumber’s fiddling with blocked toilets….this does not conjure up relaxing images. This is a procedure that can be done safely at term to help a woman enter her labor.

FAILURE TO PROGRESS (FTP): A medical model terminology implying that the labor has failed, the baby won’t fit out, or “I give up” instead of knowing how to facilitate a baby to find its way through the twists and turns of the pelvis journey out into the world.

DUE DATE: This date is generated by a logarithm based on a woman having a 28 day cycle, and most babies are not born on their due date.  First time moms are averaged to go into spontaneous labor –if they weren’t induced prior—at 41 weeks and 3 days.

BABY IS DELIVERED: These words shift the ownership of the accomplishment to the health care provider, implying that the birthing woman was a container that, like UPS, delivered a baby into the world.  Any woman who has given birth knows that is a complete misnomer!

NEW POSITIVE LANGUAGE

Waves, Surges, Expansions;These connote gentle rising of strength waves that will come and then will go and recede, all the while expanding and opening for your baby to come out safely.

BIRTHING TIME That’s what we are doing; birthing, and the time is now!  And it is big and powerful and beautiful!

PRE-LABOR: Sensations women feel as their body begins the process of birth; there is nothing false about them; the waves the woman feels are doing the work of ripening your cervix, and if they wane, it means that those sensations will not lead to the birth of your baby yet, and you will have a chance to rest. We are grateful our bodies are doing the work of enabling the cervix to be primed for when you enter your active birthing time.

RELEASING THE MEMBRANES OR WATER: The baby has been swimming in a pool of nourishing amniotic fluid. As we birth, there will be a time when the membranes holding this pool release, and that facilitates the baby making the descent down and out.

BABY GEL OR BABY JELLY: In the cervix during pregnancy your body has made a barrier so that unwanted pathogens do not enter the “private” swimming pool of the baby.  As birthing time approaches, it is released and comes out, showing yet another sign that your body is doing the right things to get ready for the big day.  The baby gel should not sound or be conceived as gross; it’s natural and miraculous.

STIR THE SOUP: This is a gentle maneuver that your midwife can do to help your own body go into your birthing time naturally:  It is gently insinuating the midwife’s fingers between the amniotic sac and the wall of the cervix, and circling around the entire 360 to separate the thinnest connection between the cervix and the membranes to help the woman’s own body to release her own prostaglandins to help initiate her active birthing waves. These words sound nutritive, gentle, and honoring of that which is stirred.

FEAR- TENSION-PAIN OR FAILURE TO TURN POSTERIOR
Both of which midwives avoid #1 and know how to fix #2. We prefer FTP to stand for FABULOUS-TRANSFORMATIVE-POWER

GUESS DATE: The initiation of active birthing is an intricate interplay of a myriad of different physiological events occurring and responding between mother and child.  The child can be born within a 5 week window and be considered full term (37-42 weeks.)

THE MOTHER GAVE BIRTH! Yes she did (either vaginally or by C/S), on her own steam, her own courage, her own strength that she didn’t know she had it in her, her own concern for keeping her baby as safe as possible, and her first initiation into giving unconditionally to her child, not because he/she earned it, but just because she/he needs it.

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