My first birth was 10 years ago now. It seems like a very long time ago and sometimes it seems like just yesterday. I can still remember it so clearly - the bullying, belittling, feeling so powerless. The event itself was HUGE. And the ramifications have been far reaching.
And this year I wanted to give a little time and emotional space to the lessons that I've learnt on reflection.
Cringe worthy memories
Ugh. I'm sure that we all have some cringe-worthy memories from our first pregnancy and birth. I've learnt so much about physiology and politics that some of the things popping up in my facebook memories app just make me want to puke. Especially when I got my first stretch and sweep and mentioned that "it wasn't that bad".
I've since taken these memories and used them to help remind me that I can grow and learn. And I can make different decisions.
I didn't know what I didn't know
But these cringe worthy memories meld with compassion for my past self. I didn't know what I didn't know. In all honesty - all I really knew was that I didn't want anything to do with hospital. Yes - I had midwifery care (well...obstetric midwifery care...but that's another story!). Yes - I had independent childbirth education. Yes - I asked questions and declined things.
I've since learnt that I didn't really understand how birth worked. I didn't understand how powerful the hospital system is or even how it works (or doesn't). This is why my mentoring program focuses a lot of politics, power, and relationships within the system.
Your people are fucking important
OMG - the amount of crappy, completely non-aligned advice that I was given along the way!! I know that all my friends meant well. They didn't understand the impact that birth would have on me. The didn't know how their advice would lead me down the path to trauma. Or that years later I would wonder why everyone seemed to want me to give my power away.
I have since learnt that our cultural stories about pregnancy and birth are pretty fucked up. We all have our own thoughts, beliefs, experiences etc and these may not be useful to share with every other woman. It's so important to check in with what a woman's birth goals and philosophy are before you start having conversations about birth and dispensing advice.
I am strong
This one took quite a bit to come to. After being beaten down by the system and (I thought) my body and baby, I thought that I must be lacking something. Some sort of strength, that other women must have. So I spent my second pregnancy exercising this strength - I said NO to everything.
Ooops - turns out I wasn't lacking anything. Except knowledge of how the system works to beat women down and keep them powerless. Once I learnt how to access my own power I realised that I had been strong all along.
My story has meaning
But the big learning from this is... It would have had meaning even if I had not experienced trauma. Even if I had been treated well. Supported. Loved. Encouraged to stand within my power.
Because birth and birth stories ALWAYS has meaning.
I hope that these learnings can help you in your journey and to access your true power and the meaning of your story.
You are amazing, strong, and powerful. x
Much love, Lizzie.
PS: If you would like some help gathering powerful learnings from YOUR birth journey and putting them to good use - Contact me to book in a free chat to see if my VBAC mentoring program would be right for you. My passion is helping you see your own power and step right on in to it!
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