Your Birth, Your Choice!
Posted on By Elise
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A sacred threshold is crossed when I woman begins to truly prepare for labor and birth. She walks barefoot and courageously into the unknown, not only preparing for the physical experience of bringing a child to earth into her arms, but also preparing for the journey she must take to become a mother, and all threads of this experience are intertwined like a tapestry that will be the beginning of a new woven life.
YOU HAVE CHOICES:
The choices we make as mothers begin with our birth plan, or the vision that we have of the things we have control over when it comes to birthing a child. Things such as interventions, lighting, music, intentions, who surround us, what surrounds us and even the simplest things, like our breath. The details during this sacred experience matter. Let me say that again, the details during this sacred experience matter! We are mammals, and in order to feel safe and secure giving birth, we create a nest, if you will, that will support us during this transition. The sticks that create the foundations, the twigs, and threads that create the safe walls, the feathers and soft fur that soften and warm, these are the how, when, who and where of our birth plan. There is no other mammal on earth that gives up their voice and autonomy during birth the way humans do. BUT, we are now remembering that it is our nature to birth the way we desire to. We have a choice, we have a voice, this is OUR sacred experience, and if we choose to share it with others, they are our servants during this journey. This applies to family, friends, midwives, doulas, and yes, even medical professionals. The word doula literally comes from ancient Greek, meaning “Woman's servant.” Advocacy is a pillar of support, and in the birthing world, advocacy is defined as supporting the birthing person in their right to make decisions about their own body and baby.
Speaking from experience, during my pregnancy and the birth of my first babe, I felt I had no voice. I felt I had a duty to please everyone else around me and anything I did that did not please others, I was made to be wrong, difficult, or selfish. It affected EVERYTHING following the birth of my daughter. The lack of support snowballed into postpartum, as I felt alone, and afraid. I felt disconnected, selfish and wrong. For the first 6 months of my daughters life, postpartum depression plagued me, and even though I loved my child fiercely and with every ounce of me, I, at times felt like I lost myself and could not connect with my baby because I couldn’t even connect with myself, let alone my beloved, her father. There were threads of our tapestry that were forever severed and the longterm effects are still felt almost 8 years later.
"My Daughter Harlow just 12 hours old."
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. WHAT I LEARNED:
During the pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum of our second child, our son, I took everything into my own hands and consciously chose a care provider that would support my choices. I chose to have a small handful of people who loved me to surround me during his arrival. I chose the lighting, the music, the textures, the voices, the movements. I used birth affirmations posted up on my walls. I tuned out anything that didn’t encourage or inspire me, and guess what? IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. This is a classic example of support and choice.. making a huge difference to a laboring mother.
"Baby Harlow, 12 hours earthside.."
“It is my belief that the way a woman is supported during her pregnancy and birthing experience effects the rest of her life and the life of her family dynamic and child as well.”
"Harlow Michele, my firstborn"
As a mother and doula, it is a piece of my life’s work to use my heart, and my voice to ensure women are armed with the knowledge of how important this is. Whether you are using affirmations to go inward and prepare, creating a solid foundation of a support group through friends and family, or consciously choosing care providers that support birth advocacy, and shared decision making if that's what YOU choose, this is your baby your way sister, and mama you've got this! While I wholeheartedly believe women can birth their children at home, just as I did, my beliefs aren't in alignment with all mothers.. and some mamas feel safer in a hospital setting. Things are changing in this birthing game, and I am honored to have been asked to spread the good word by Mission Hospitals. If you are preparing for your birth, and you are choosing a hospital, I suggest taking a look at Providence California and their care model, where they offer all different options of care, including OB’s, Midwives and limited intervention. Your birth, your way! Please enjoy the film of Birth of my son Taj, which I had captured so that I could document that my choices, my voice and how I planned the birth of my second child vs. my first would be the comeback from a difficult, long, and fear-filled labor that I now call "my passage into motherhood". Notice the handmade birth affirmations strung on the ceiling, low candlelit and starshine lighting, crystals, the choosing of music, free movement, laughter, love and my tribe, of which included my dear sister Lauren Tannehill, who would soon after become pregnant and create The Renegade Mama Birth Affirmation Cards.
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