When you fully answer the question "What kind of birth experience do I want?" you are taking responsibility for welcoming your baby into the world. When you do this, you strengthen yourself and create a strong partnership with the baby. Imagine being born with the knowledge that your mother (father or members of the birth support team) cared enough to choose how they wanted to welcome you. That they went to the effort to choreograph the big event to the best of their ability. That they held your birth as a sacred moment to be cherished and planned for, creatively and thoughtfully.
Birth can be scary, and it can also be glorious, a true celebration of life. Fear of the unknown causes anxiety in many expectant parents. Empowering yourself with information, knowledge, and the support of experienced people can turn fear into joyful anticipation. It can mean the difference between being a passive recipient of health care services and becoming an active participant in the experience of welcoming your child into the world. The combination of going out for information and support and going within (through Creative Journaling) for guidance from the Inner Self has proved extremely effective in empowering pregnant women and expectant couples. Childbirth educators using this method report that moms and dads are indeed experiencing childbirth as a celebration. This is even true for women who are abuse survivors and have had to do a lot of Inner Family healing.
I've been told by childbirth educators and new parents that this method was truly empowering and enabled the parents to take charge of their child's birth instead of abdicating to the professionals. As one young mother said,
"I realized that all the professionals and my support system were there to assist me, not the other way around, the way I had been trained to believe. I put myself, my husband, and my baby at the center of things. We asked for what we wanted, and we got it!"
Perhaps the most dramatic experiences I've had of both parents and child being at "the center of things" was at the birth of my first grandchild. My daughter Aleta was a thoughtful consumer of health care services during her pregnancy and during the birth as well. Upon realizing that she was probably pregnant, she called many doctors to ask them a few questions over the phone before making an appointment. She wanted to know about their philosophy, policies, and procedures. Most of them wouldn't even answer her questions. The first OB-GYN she visited started prescribing expensive tests right away. Aleta went home and researched these tests only to find that they were totally inappropriate considering her excellent health and the early stage of her pregnancy. She never went back to his office.
The next OB-GYN she called returned her call one evening and talked to her for quite a while, answering her questions in depth. She immediately sensed his dedication and that their philosophies were compatible. He became her obstetrician during pregnancy, and he delivered the baby. Before going into labor, Aleta choreographed the birth as meticulously as a theater director. She selected whom she wanted present and what each person's assignments would be. Her husband was there for moral and physical support. Her best friend, who had attended childbirth classes with Aleta, was her breathing coach during labor. I was the presiding grandmother and official photographer. Aleta's sister, Celia, flew out from New York to be present and take care of any communications with the hospital staff and with our other family members who were waiting anxiously at home. Another chum of Aleta's was our all-purpose helper, going out for food and beverages, running errands, and taking care of miscellaneous tasks.
Labor took place in a special childbirth pavilion at Santa Monica Hospital. The room was large and pleasant -- not the typical cold, sterile hospital setting. There was a big rocking chair in the corner, artwork on the walls, and furnishings that resembled a home rather than an institution. The hospital staff were warm, highly competent, and very accepting of Aleta's formidable support team, which later included her chiropractor, who came in to do special adjustments during labor.
Although it was a long labor, which is fairly typical for first births, we all worked together as an extended family team and Aleta received the support she wanted from those with whom she felt most comfortable. It was a truly joyful experience for all of us. Aleta knew what kind of birth she wanted to give her child, and she got it. You can, too, if you know what you want and know that you and your child deserve to have it.
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"The Creative Journal for Parents: A Guide to Unlocking Your Natural Parenting Wisdom" by Lucia Capaccione. ©2000.
About The Author
Lucia Capacchione is a mother, grandmother, art therapist, corporate consultant, and the bestselling author of twelve books, including Recovery of Your Inner Child, The Creative Journal, and The Power of Your Other Hand. Visit her website at www.luciac.com.