I have two kids, and two completely, opposite end of the spectrum birthing experiences.
For my daughter, we planned a midwife attended hospital water birth, in the hospital's birthing center.
It did NOT go that way.
What happened instead, was 36 hours of laboring at home, a trip to the hospital, 10 more hours of unmedicated labor, and stalling for several hours at 8 cm. Then with pressure on the midwives by the OBs for a c-section because it was taking too long, it ended with pitocin, lots of fluids, an epidural and a vaginal delivery. That's a grand total of 55 hours from start to finish.
Talk about a left turn.
Years passed, and during that time, I started professionally practicing Shamanism.
You could say my worldview changed a little bit.
When I became pregnant with my son, I hoped and resolved that things would go differently. This time, I planned a midwife attended homebirth. No hospitals, I decided.
But, as things do, plans changed and we moved completely across the country at the end of the second trimester.
Now without a midwife, I had some choices to make.
I could scramble to find one, or I could do a little more research on having a free birth, a topic I stumbled on early in my second pregnancy and pushed aside.
A free birth is a birth only attended by mother, and optionally a partner. The idea is that birth is not a medical procedure, that women know intuitively what to do, when and how, and that we have within us the power to birth a baby. Naturally. Without intervention, 99% of the time.
With the time I had left, I did my research on having a safe, unattended homebirth. I ordered all the supplies I would need, standard and for emergencies. I assigned reading to my potential birth assistants, my sister and husband, and resolved to reclaim by power from my previous birthing experience.
Yes! I could DO this!
Then, as we got towards the due date, I got nervous. I worried that I couldn't do it.
I needed to empower myself into knowing that I had strength, knowingness, and vitality to birth a baby.
I had to infuse myself with personal power.
I used a mantra and a set of mala beads.
Mala beads are a looped string of 108 beads, that you can use to help you maintain focus in repeating mantras or affirmations. You start at the top bead, and with each bead, you say your thing, then move to the next and repeat. Over and over until you make it back to square one. (Not sure where to get mala beads? Check etsy for a million options!).
Each day, morning and night, starting slightly before my due date, I sat with my beads and repeated on each bead:
"I am powerful. I am ready. My body is meant to do this."
108 times. Starting at bead one, and working my way around the loop.
Then, I visualized my baby moving down the birth canal and out of my body, he & I both in perfect health.
He wasn't born on the due date. He was born 9 days later.
It was an 8 hour labor and delivery, and he was born safely at home, into my husband's hands, in perfect health. Just as I intended. ;)
Psst ~ In this blog post, I talk about power loss. Women often experience power loss in their birthing experiences, which can cause low self esteem, low self worth, and even PPD. I talk more about power loss in my free eCourse, found here.