You’re pregnant with your 2nd baby, facing your second labor and delivery and we’re looking around for something. Looking for ‘something’ is very common after our first birth and we’re headed to our second baby’s labor and delivery. That ‘something’ is meant to fill in the gaps that happened to us or we felt at the first birth whether our first birth was great, ok or horrible. Every single woman who births is left with gaps she wants to fill. Often a father/other feels the exact same way.
Why is that? It’s simple and complex. Simply put … birth is a one-off BIG experience and we’d like to do it well. After all it’s not much different than an Olympic Event or climbing our own Mt. Everest. We are always looking to improve our experience. Yet birth is incredibly complex. There are so many factors … where we birth, issues that we bring into pregnancy and birth, the unexpected, our attitude, how the birth unfolds, the emotions we’re left with for months and years later. It’s like pregnancy and birth are overloaded with noise … all these issues! When we’re having our 2nd birth we now know all those issues exist. Yet we’ve discovered something profound. When it comes time to birth … The Birth is what is happening. The noise becomes factors but The Birth becomes all consuming.
Come with us, Birthing Better families, and let us help you find that ‘something’, fill in the gaps and achieve a remarkable experience no matter where your birth happens, with whom or actually what happens to or around you. You are the focus along with your baby. You are craving ‘something’ and we can satisfy that craving. But you first have to understand why it’s so hard for any pregnant woman whether having a first or 20th baby to know how-to fill those individual gaps … that are really different forms of the same thing. Every birthing woman wants to know ‘How can I birth better?’
This question can mean lots of things. Here’s one of the fundamental ways that language confuses us when we’re pregnant, going to have a baby and will give birth.
Language stops us
Birth, labor/labour and delivery are really funny words compared to many, many others. At least in English, we use each of them as a NOUN:
- I gave birth on Mach 30
- My birth was … x,y,z
- My husband was … a,b,c
- I liked, hated or was ok with my birth
- My labor started at 9pm
- My labour was really quick
- I didn’t know labor was so painful
- They induced my labour
- I delivered my daughter at 3am
- My delivery was delayed and I needed x,y,z
- The delivery was the best part of labor
Thing or doing?
In a very bizarre quirk of language we don’t actually have a verb that explains the activity of ‘doing’ the birth, the labor or the delivery.
- We climb a mountain
- Swim in the pool
- Walk around the block
- Paint a house,
- Sew a blouse
- Cook a meal.
But we ‘give ‘birth, ‘go into’ labor and ‘deliver’ our baby. Delivering our baby is the closest we get to implying an active verb and actions. In reality we think of ‘delivering our baby’ as sort of a POP … there he/she is! We don’t actually talk about how we got to that Time, what we actually did during the Time it takes to get to the delivery or even how we did the delivery part.
You’ve had your first baby. Did you talk about how you ‘did the activity’ of giving birth or how to ‘did’ the labor/labour? Mostly your first birth just happened to you. Really … how can we expect first time mothers-to-be to know how-to do birth before it happens? And this fact … birth happening … is what causes the gaps. We want to know how to birth better!
If you’ve had a labour you just know that labor means work and like many of us that type of labour was very hard work. Let’s be honest it’s painful. And even calling this painful experience … ‘work’ or ‘labor’… is weird. That’s why the phrase ‘Women suffered in childbirth’ was so well known. Women cannot control The Birth. But that’s not accurate!
We cannot control every factor except ONE … how we cope, manage, deal with, work with, stay on top of and in control and handle ourselves. Someone climbing Mt.Everest or doing an Olympic Event knows this reality. Some of us discover this a much bigger Truth. We can’t control much in Life as much as we think we can however, when we have skills we cope better. And this leads you to a shift in perception that will lead you to a shift in actions you’ll take. You are having a second baby and you want your 2nd birth, 2nd labor/labour and 2nd delivery to safe, good, positive and personally enriching.
The role a word places in our mind is important
Because mentally we focus on birth, labor and delivery as nouns, Common Knowledge Trust has a challenge to explain to you why it’s important for you and your partner to:
- Learn skills to prepare your pregnant body to give birth (whether you labor/labour or have a non-labouring/laboring Caesarean or an unplanned one)
- Learn, practice and use birth and birth-coaching skills
No matter where you have your 2nd birth, with whom or what happens to you or around you, you and your partner need to take the opportunity to skillfully birth your baby. You would have done this in your first birth if only you knew that you can, should and how-to. Like most of us we haven’t been looking for the ‘how-to-do-the-activity’ of giving birth, doing the labor and delivering our baby. We just see those things as something that happens to us. In fact, we understand the work, skills, job and tasks of birth providers more than we understand our skills, job, tasks and work while birthing our babies.
When birth, labor and delivery are things, we put a great deal of emphasis on making a Birth Plan. Birth Plans are designed to choose the things you want and don’t want to happen to you in your birth, labor and delivery. This needs to be repeated …every woman wants a positive birth. Every mother and father wants the birth to have a good outcome for herself and baby. We want people around our birth to treat us well and we have a very high societal expectation that we have a better birth because of what others do for us. For example:
- I don’t want to be induced
- I want an elective Caesarean, don’t want one, am being pressured to have one
- I want music, my children, to have my husband cut the cord, have early discharge
But there is no way to know what your birth will be like. This statement best explains why giving birth is a dynamic verb and not a noun. You’ve had a first birth and it probably wasn’t anything like you imagined. This fact always leaves us with gaps. We want control! You know there’s no way to know how your second birth will unfold. You still want control! This is the Mind-Shift.
You have to ‘do’ the activity of giving birth, going through labour and delivering your baby no matter how the birth unfolds. The doing takes Time. For example, if you’re driving to the hospital, being prepped and having a surgical birth you are still doing the activity of birthing your baby during that time-frame and can use skills to participate, be engaged, involved and participating. If you’re labouring at home or hospital, whether with none or heaps of medical care, you are doing the activity of giving birth as you first labor (Time) and eventually deliver (Time). And you are doing these activities at every moment.
Skills are what you use or how you do these activities. When you are skilled you identify with your ability to birth better in every circumstance.
- My husband and I worked together beautifully with our skills
- I had a non-labouring C-section but we used our skills and no one can tell us we didn’t birth our baby.
- With skills my husband/other knew exactly when to help me cope and manage the pain
- I pretty much totally ignored all the interventions and just focused on my skills
Birthing your baby from inside you to outside you has always been and will always be an activity. We need to shift the societal expectation so that you and every expectant mother and father knows the value of becoming skilled.
Why diminish birth?
We must elevate labour and delivery for one reason alone … labor and delivery are a one-off experience that can neither be replayed nor repeats at the next labor and delivery. In other words, women are doing this monumental activity and have for eons yet are not encouraged to become highly skilled. Shame, sad, inappropriate and worthy of our conceptual change. We should want for each of us to be highly skilled and engaged while birthing our baby. Why won’t we want this? So, let’s change.
Birthing Better families understood how important their baby’s birth is to them as you do. They wanted to get as much out of the experience as possible. They fully understood that circumstances and people involved might or might not be able to be controlled but they could control their response throughout the Time it takes to birth their child. They took their power back because they became highly skilled as a team. And you can too! Working through the Birthing Better courses … skills specific for VBAC or skills for every other birth … you have tens of thousands of Birthing Better families who have real-Time tested and improved on all these skills.
Our Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation Online Courses