We have all heard the expression backseat drivers, we all know one, and you may even be one yourself.
Those people who think they know better, they have more experience than you, they know a quicker route, don’t take the scenic route, just get in the fast lane and get there. Sound familiar?
This can also apply to birth.
Negative Birth Voices
The backseat birthers. The women who tell you about their bad experiences, those that say you might as well rip up your birth plan, it’s a waste of time and unrealistic.
Then there are the health care professionals, the ones that are belief based preaching when they should be evidence based teaching.
Let’s go back to the driving analogy for a minute, you go along for a routine oil and water checked, your mechanic says you need your tyres changed. Would you question it or just go along with what is being suggested?
The chances are you would question it and you may be surprised to hear that actually nothing is wrong with your tyres but because they have seen cars with bald tyres in the past they want to change yours now before they show any signs of wear. You would think that was utter madness and glad you questioned it.
When presented with information you should ask yourself, Are you getting all the facts? What are your options? Often the language used may give the impression there isn’t any options but there always is.
Like a car, if it’s not broken don’t try and fix it?
Often people have their reasons for behaving in this manner. Just like our drivers who have sat in too many traffic jams, been in a few scraps and broken down one to many times.
They have had negative experiences and they carry it around with them.
So what are you going to do when you set out on your own journey?
Great birth instructors
When you learn to drive a car you find a good instructor.
One that is going to teach you all the basics of how a car works, you need that basic understanding of the mechanics to be able to operate the equipment. They will teach you the skills you need to manoeuvre the car efficiently in the way it was designed too. Antenatal education is no different. Learn how to equip yourself for labour, get an understanding of what your body is going to do. A women’s body is like a Rolls Royce, engineered to the highest spec, with a brilliant service history, women have been birthing for millions of years, it’s what you were designed to do.
Once you have the basics of driving covered you then practice, practice, practice!! Until it becomes second nature.
The same goes for labour preparation, try things like yoga, Pilates and hypnotherapy all good methods of relaxation. Hire a Doula, someone to support you emotionally and practically. Keep practicing those skills you have learnt until, like driving, it will become second nature.
Make it your birth
Then comes the day of the “test”, will you pass or fail?
Your instructor has done all they can to prepare you, this is it.
It’s all about you now. You are the one in the driving seat.
The examiner siting next to you with the official clipboard, and dual controls, it can feel like they are just waiting for you to make a mistake so they can say, “you’ve done well but on this occasion you’ve failed”. What! Hang on a minute; even the Highway Code has multiple choice. Where were my options?
Remember it is your birth, own it, take responsibility for your experience, you are the one who will remember it in years to come, so make it a positive one.
Educate yourself, in birth ignorance is not bliss, it’s selling yourself short. Know that you are in control, question everything, and know what your options are so you can make an informed choice. There is no wrong or right way to birth your baby but there is a positive, empowering way, where you feel part of it.