The Joy of Childbirth
Having a baby is a joyous occasion. Then why are so many women and men terrified as the days of her pregnancy grow shorter? There are two general ways to have a baby--with joy and with fear. When it comes to childbirth, fear is learned. While it is clearly not a comfortable, easy experience, it can be a joyous one. This depends upon expectations. The woman who expects to suffer, will, indeed, suffer. The man who cannot bear to see his wife go through "that terrible pain" will indeed not be able to bear it, nor be able to help her!
Childbirth Is Natural
Now, childbirth can indeed be unpredictable, and complications can occur. But the reality is that in this day of adequate nutrition, it is less common than we are led to believe for the birth process to require serious medical intervention. Most women can easily, safely, and "naturally" deliver a baby. Most complications occur when the woman has had inadequate prenatal nutrition or was in poor health prior to conception. And even then, given the presence of clean, efficient modern hospitals, a Caesarian delivery is a disappointing inconvenience, but quite safe, and the discomfort, again, is often less than what is spoken about over lunch and on talk shows.
A Sense of Control
What are the ingredients for a joyous childbirth experience? The first is the desire to enter the new life of parenting and with this, a commitment to proper self-care throughout the pregnancy. The second is adequate assistance. The third is adequate preparation. The last, and most often neglected, is a sense of control. Whether you choose to have your baby at home, in a birthing center, or in a traditional hospital setting, having a clear understanding of the process of childbirth and being able to control the many decisions that get made throughout the preparation and the birth itself are essential factors in creating a pleasant memory to tell your baby about one day.
Knowledge Is Power
As a psychologist, my role in this process most often begins toward the end. Couples who come to me have often chosen their birth attendant and their birth setting, but are seeking the preparation. I do not use one of the standard schools, Lamaze or Read, but rather an eclectic approach combining intimate knowledge of the process of labor and delivery with relaxation and hypnosis, all of which are aimed at producing in the parents a sense of ultimate control over the process. This means not only being able to tell your attendant what your expectations are, but also getting what you need and preventing unnecessary procedures and interventions through the entire labor and delivery. In this consumer-oriented world, childbirth is dramatically different and much more parent-focused than it was even 20 years ago, but there are still standard procedures in many locations that might not be right for you and your baby's arrival. My role in this is to teach you the questions to ask and the requests to make to give you the best possible outcome from the standpoint of both safety and comfort for parents and infant.
Having a baby should be a most joyous experience from the first awareness of pregnancy to the baby's first breath. Taking the words "fear" and "pain" out of labor and delivery and putting you, the expectant parent, in control dramatically enhances the whole process. Call the Center for Conscious Living to begin your journey to joyous childbirth.