When pregnant, we get confronted with a lot of choices.
Do you want to do any possible test to monitor the development of your unborn child? Do you want to take vitamin supplements to prevent possible deficits you might or might not have? Do you give birth in a hospital to have the doctors and infrastructure nearby in case things go wrong? The list of questions could go on and on.
You can choose to do so, or not to. But make informed decisions. Consult second opinions. Think out of the box and remember, women are built to give birth. It happens all the time, all over the world and is the most natural thing to do.. well maybe after making the baby 😉
Further down I am sharing our personal experience and the choices we made. By no means the best or only way. Some things might work for you, others not at all. But a lot of it is definitely a bit unusual and less well known. I hope to offer support and information for other women on less popular routes.
I feel that nowadays pregnancy and birth are seen through a very medical point of view.
You are a patient, as if pregnancy was an illness that needed treatment. But you are not sick, you are pregnant, the most natural thing in the world! Most woman a scared of the pain involved and try to smooth the effects (pain) instead of working on the source (how to have minimal pain). But birth is a process perfected over millions of years. If you change some components of it, the whole process will get changed. The first drug you take usually leads to the next one to fix the side effects of the first one and so on.
The other thing I realised with doctors that it’s hard for them to give time to each patient and her individual circunstances and that they work with statistics. Which means that they prescribe something to 10.000 women, because statistics have shown a certain outcome, but it doesn’t mean that all of these woman really need the prescribed drug. Vitamin pills are a classic example. So I think it is important to use common sense and take into consideration your personal situation. Of course doctors know what they do and are highly skilled, but there are many different opinions out there and I often found interesting alternatives after a bit of research and consulting the second opinion of a midwife.
As for birth itself, a couple of books really opened my eyes and inspired me to go for a natural home birth:
Not that I actually got into hypnosis, but just the information on birthing through the past centuries and how important the surroundings are, really opened my eyes and made me reconsider the initially planed hospital birth. As for Active Birth, it just provides you with no frills information and exercises before and after birth. Hebammen-Sprechstunde is a German classic that answers a lot of questions that arise during pregnancy and after birth.
I personally made the choice to live pregnancy as natural as possible.
After analysing my personal diet and reading through possible side effects, I declined vitamin supplements and ate really healthy instead. I researched which vitamins and minerals I needed most and included food that contained them into my diet.
At that point of time, I didn’t personally know any other women who wasn’t taking artificial vitamins. With pregnant women being one of the main target groups of the pharmaceutical industry, not taking the vitamins nearly made me feel like I was putting my baby at risk, which is total nonsense, but that’s the underlying suggestion and emotion which is why pregnant women are a very easy target group.
I kept doing the sports that felt right for me.
Running the first few months. Mountainbiking till month 6. SUPing, swimming and sailing whenever I was on the ocean. And hiking and trekking till the day before birth. I probably couldn’t live without sports and being out in nature and exercising just felt good, although my pace got slower and slower.
Yoga was on my daily routine as usual, but modifying some exercises around the growing belly and strengthening the pelvic floor.
I used plain olive oil on my wet skin after showers, and nothing else; before and after birth.
A friend gave me a half full tube of pregnancy cream and somehow I started smelling it and tried how it tasted and it was just awful. Little babies slobber everywhere especially the area around your breasts which is where the creams are supposed to go as well. Felt much better to have nothing on the body that you couldn’t eat as well. After all, the skin is our biggest organ, and can absorb chemicals just as well as our stomach.
I relaxed and read.
Overall I just did what felt right for me and listened to my body. I think there is a very valid guideline for pregnancy: Happy Mama, happy baby! It is very special time of your life, enjoy it, don’t worry, don’t stress!
As for birth, I really enjoyed the setting of just being with my husband and midwife.
In an intimate surrounding and to welcome our baby into this world in a natural and way. Maya was born in the water and although I wasn’t keen on the birth pool in the beginning, it felt great once I was in it. Returning home soon after and having a midwife coming by to check on us was perfect too. I could not have imagined staying in hospital for a week. It was very important to have Seon with me at all times and it just felt more natural to be at home and start as a young family in our home, rather than in a hospital setting.
We also let us surprise by the gender and even forgot to check if it’s a boy or a girl for a few minutes after birth, being so absorbed by the event. We had no names either, since Seon wanted to get to know the baby first and was convinced she would tell us her name. I had my doubts but so it came; on her second day with us, the name Maya popped up suddenly in Seon’s head and after thinking about it, researching the meaning and trying how it would fit our little baby daughter, we knew this was it!
Pregnancy and birth was such an amazing experience for us.
It brought us even closer as a couple and deepened our connection. Maybe we just got lucky that everything was so easy. Maybe it’s naive to think everything will be alright. But our mind is so much more powerful than we realise. I am a firm believer of self fulfilling prophecies. I think the more you worry about what possibly might go wrong, the higher the chances that something actually will go wrong.
Trust your body. It knows what is best for us, we just have to listen.
Believe in yourself.