Today's post features a guest blog from Jenna Rutherford, doula, pregnancy yoga teacher and Positive Birth Movement Facilitator.
When Megan asked me to write about the Positive Birth Movement for her blog, I was delighted. I am so passionate about anything to do with birth and women having positive experiences and love to help women feel better about birth. I started up the Positive Birth Surbiton group a couple of years ago to support the women in my local community. As a doula, my wish is for every woman to feel the beauty of a positive experience and take that empowerment into motherhood. However I do think the term 'Positive Birth' needs clear definition. There are mixed messages about what this means and the confusion is leading to some women feeling excluded if they didn't have a 'positive experience'.
Milli Hill founded the Positive Birth Movement out of her kitchen a few years ago. The idea being that women would share their positive stories and help each other learn about birth, normalise birth, seek the right information and support and have better experiences. This movement has grown to over 450 groups in 36 different countries and is helping women feel less fearful and more in control. Her mission statement is clear:
Nowhere in the mission statement does it state that women have to have natural vaginal births with no drugs which is a bit of a misconception around the term positive birth. You can have a birth like this and it can still be really traumatic and equally you can have an emergency caeserean birth and it can be super positive. For me working as a doula, the difference I see, is having a CHOICE.
If every step of the way, you are deciding, considering, being given time, options, being involved in what is happening to you and your baby, you feel empowered. You are taking responsibility and making the decisions for yourself. Yes, you are being given suggestions but it is you deciding. To do this you need to be deciding from a place of information and knowing what all these choices mean, so you know what is right for your birth and your baby and you are making the best decision that you can in that moment. There is a lot of trust in the medical professionals but women are forgetting to trust themselves.
During pregnancy more than at any other time in a woman's life, she is at her most intuitive. Women sense things more than ever. I always say to my clients, if something doesn't feel right to you, then it's not right. I then encourage them to explore it until they have found peace with it. That may mean looking at the evidence, it may mean sitting down with a consultant or Senior Midwife, it may mean debriefing a previous birth experience but the work needs to be done. Leaving things to chance is not an option in birth. I often hear women say 'I'm just going to go with the flow' thinking that it's a great idea to be adaptable and flexible but it isn't. It means you are choosing to give your power away. Policies and protocols and out of date evidence can drive decisions in the wrong direction and holding all the info in your hands, means you can steer it back again. Women need to know it's ok to ask questions, have discussions with doctors and midwives and write their wishes down. Milli Hill who also wrote The Positive Birth Book, which is super informative and covers all aspects of birth, comes with an awesome visual birth plan which you can download for free....http://www.pinterandmartin.com/the-positive-birth-book-visual-birth-plan-free-download.html
Becoming a Mum can be overwhelming and sometimes it feels easier to let others make decisions but when you do face your fears and get informed, it gives you a chance to grow into your mother role with new super powers of self confidence and fearlessness. So will you join the movement?
If you are pregnant, check out your local group. It's a completely free service, offering antenatal education surrounded by like minded women and men who want the best for birth.
Jenna Rutherford is a recognised birth doula with Doula UK, a positive birth movement facilitator, a pregnancy yoga teacher, Mum of two and runs birth confidence workshops.
www.theminimalistdoula.com / @theminimalistdoula
Antenatal and postnatal yoga classes