“I will accept the way my birth happens, even if it’s not what I wanted.”
This was the one VBAC mantra I missed.
The 10.5 months of my pregnancy with my son could be described as a total makeover of my interior self. I became committed to conquering my demons, my fears, and my negative self-talk. I read and studied about natural birth and in doing so, gained so much appreciation for birth that I decided to become a birth worker myself.
I used natural products, and I filled my life with positivity and beauty. I used affirmations heavily and that is a practice I maintain today as a means to call me to my higher self and a more human way of thinking. It’s my way of combatting the natural inner critic whose voice so easily drowns out the truth. I made cards and put them on a beautiful board, which I still have to this day.
I visualized by natural VBAC every day as I knew this would help me. I learned so much and made huge strides in personal development during this time of gestation. In a way I was carrying and forming a new me as well as a new baby. When my son was born, so was a new woman-a more positive one. But my birth was not what I had been envisioning and praying for all along. It was the quite the opposite. While it was not traumatic, it was far different from the lofty goals I had set for myself.
And surprisingly, I was ok with that.
When, during my labor, things began to shift in a different direction, it became imminently apparent that I needed to face a reality beyond my control. A reality that all of my affirmations and refusals to acknowledge a possible negative outcome, had not prepared me for. The one thing I had never allowed myself to do the entire time I was doing the good work of preparing my heart, was the very thing I had needed to do all along...to let go of my ideas about how this needed to happen.
If I could go back and do anything different on that journey, it would be to be OK with the idea that my birth might not turn out the way I wanted it to. I didn’t allow myself to go there because I didn’t want to set myself up for negativity. But in refusing to acknowledge that birth is not something we can “control,” and that the outcome was not really up to me once it actually began, I subconsciously denied a fundamental truth about birth.
Birth is wild. Birth is beautiful. Birth is natural. Birth isn’t something we can harness. We can only prepare our hearts. We have to know our bodies, our options, our abilities, and we have to hone our skills, but the biggest part of natural birth is letting go of fear. And part of letting go of fear is opening up to what may come. True freedom from fear means facing down the giants that are whispering in your ears about what is ok and not ok.
Prepare your heart and use this time of pregnancy as an opportunity to become your free-est self. But don’t let your entire sense of this universe rest on the outcome of your birth. The most successful birth experience is one in which mom and baby are respected and loved and heard, no matter how that ends up looking on an affirmation board.
Lauren resides in Oklahoma with her husband and two children. She is a birth advocate and an aspiring writer. In her spare time, she loves to work out, drink copious amounts of coffee, and spend time perusing old and new bookstores.