Part II: Positive cycle of Confidence-Calm-Comfort in birth
I truly believe in the power of positive thinking, but I also know that birth comes with baggage for many of us. It cannot just be “willed” or manifested, and it certainly can’t be controlled. But we don’t need to control it or have it go an exact way to have a positive experience. I believe and teach that above all. I want to support clients through education and support so they may feel capable enough to give it their all, and to have the tools to make that possible. To push through their own insecurities and give birth to a human being by whatever means and mode. That starts with understanding the negative F-T-P cycle and REPLACING it with a positive cycle you can feel good about. Positive cycle:
Examples of what might build your confidence to trigger the C-C-C cycle:
· Prepare for your birth by seeking education and awareness
· Listen to positive birth stories from supportive people, and address trauma/triggers before birth
· Learn about and place value on birth, allowing you to place greater trust in your body and the process
How confidence responds with calm:
Relaxing allows your body to produce more oxytocin, making your contractions more productive. A calm body should respond by releasing endorphins as oxytocin ramps up, to help you better cope with the pain steadily. Some techniques for enhancing the hormonal processes of physiologic birth can be found here.
How calm leads to comfort:
When you are calm, your brain and body are more receptive to new sensations and coping methods. You are not in "shutdown" mode, but "absorption" mode. You are more likely to try out different things, adjust as needed to better cope, and let yourself be and feel supported by your people. All these feelings and actions lead to comfort (=coping). If your body and mind are physically calm (=relaxed), you can mentally let birth take the lead and let go of the common need for control. We cannot control birth, but we can control our response to the ways in which it tests us.
How comfort boosts confidence:
Calm and comfort, and how your body responds to those positive emotions and reactions, boost your confidence. If the birth environment feels safe, the people around you are positive, supportive, attentive, and respectful, you will feel confidence more than fear. Having physical and emotional coping tools ready (especially if you’ve prepared) will help you keep trying, adjust as things progress (instead of stressing) and do the dang thing!
What’s the magic recipe? It will differ for everyone, but two key “ingredients” to build your confidence are hope and options.
1. Hope · Avoid feeling defeated form the beginning with negative self-talk like, “I’m just going to get an epidural early and not worry,” “I have a low threshold of pain,” or “I’m a wimp.”) SHUT. IT. DOWN.
· Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right." · Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is being able to act in spite of our fear.
2. Options · Being provided with options gives you a sense of control that so many fear losing.
· Empowerment comes in part from taking responsibility in making/owning YOUR choices. Your best chance of success is having a role in creating those options (rather than just being told what to do).
· Good education is more than just accumulation of facts. You need to use what you know to fully understand and exercise your options. You don't really learn how to drive by reading a book, but by getting behind the wheel.
So get started on building YOUR secret recipe for confidence, and skip adding fear into the mix.
Reference: Dick-Read, Grantly, Linton Snaith, and Alan Coxon. Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth. London: Heinemann, 1968. Print.