How to deal with birthing advice
If you’ve recently found out that you are pregnant congratulations first and foremost. We’d hazard a guess that you had barely finished telling people your news when they were offering horror stories of birth and “suggesting” things you should and shouldn’t do. You see, giving birth is such a profoundly unique experience. When you love someone and that someone discovers they are pregnant you simply can’t help but share your experience with them. It’s maybe the very thing that irritated you when you were pregnant but here you are doing that very thing. We firmly believe that these war stories and bits of advice really do come from a good place but it doesn’t make them any easier to hear.
It is almost impossible to compare notes when it comes to giving birth. Every birthing experience is a stand-alone event. It is a certain woman giving birth to a certain baby at a very certain time and place. When it comes to pain it is difficult to discuss it in general terms because everyone handles, adjusts to and experiences pain differently. Some people are better at coping with certain “types” of pain. Some, unfortunately, are accustomed to pain in their lives if they suffer from issues that bring daily pain.
Are you someone who is deeply drawn to a home birth? Has your hospital or midwife scheme enthusiastically supported your enquiries and yet every person you love firmly rejects the idea? Better still, do they judge you for even considering it? Do they speak in a patronising tone about the pain that you just “can’t even imagine”? I suppose we kind of want to tell you to do you. We know how difficult it is to ignore the advice and tips from those around you. Particularly when they are people who love you deeply. But we also know how difficult it is to recognise a lack of support for something that is so important to you.
On the flip side, you may already have decided that no matter what happens you will take all the pain medication available to you during your birthing experience. If you could book in the epidural nine months ahead of time you would. Verbalizing your wishes may be met with judgement from those around you. People may encourage you to wait and see how you feel when the time comes. They might project frustration at a decision that you’ve made based on hypothetical pain. As difficult as it is, sometimes we have to respectfully reject advice and stick to what we feel.
Every woman who has ever given birth feels like an authority on the subject. I can categorically say that as a woman who has given birth. I struggle to keep my mouth closed when I meet a woman who is pregnant. You just can’t help but feel a very immediate connection. I’ve learned to share my experience in an appropriate way if and when it is welcomed, but it’s a skill I’ve had to acquire.
People made fun of me when I was pregnant because I referred to One Born Every Minute quite a bit but it was actually a case of knowledge is power for me. During one of the more difficult stages of my labour, I was familiar with terminology the doctors were using. I was able to ask if what they were saying was X, Y, and Z. Personally, it gave me confidence, even though the show depicts a reality that can be quite different from the Irish maternity hospital environment.
When you find out you are pregnant you immediately feel like a novice – but so did every other person who has ever given birth. Be confident in your own decisions, research and preferences because this is your time Mama. You do you.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at Family Friendly HQ. Tracey also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie