“This is our first pregnancy... I don’t even know what to ask.”
“How do I even prepare for something like birth? It’s so different from anything I’ve ever done before!”
“I just feel nervous about the whole thing.”
Do you hear yourself in any of these questions?
Many first-time parents are excited, nervous, anxious, or not even sure what questions to ask or how to prepare for the journey of birth and early parenthood.
So how do you prepare? Let’s take a look at some ways to move past uncertainty and find confidence as you prepare for this life-changing adventure.
You know yourself and your learning styles and preferences best, so you’ll be able to determine the best way to educate yourself about pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Find an in-person class, an online class, or lose yourself in some great books (I have several I’d recommend—check out the titles in my Lending Library!). As you choose your educational path, make sure your choice honors you as a birthgiver—a whole individual with unique preferences, perspectives, and incredible life-giving power. (Hint: you’ll probably need to look beyond a hospital birth class to find this.)
Ask questions...so many questions
You may not even be aware of all the questions you have. Write down the ones that come to mind. (Yes, even the "dumb questions." Because really, there are no dumb questions!) Did you have a fleeting thought about, "I wonder why doctors recommend ________________ during birth?" Write it down! Did you have a strange dream about giving birth to a monkey, and you wonder what it could possibly mean? Write it down! Did you read something in a birth book that doesn't jibe with the stories you've heard from family members? Write it down!
Once you've got your list of questions, go out looking for the answers. Ask your care provider. Consider whether their answers fit with your preferences and perspective, and whether you felt respected in asking your question. (If not, find a new care provider, and keep asking questions until you feel heard and supported!) Ask trusted mentors: your friends, sisters, care provider, aunts, mom, neighbors, doula, birth class teacher...
Find support you can trust
You may have an older sister or mother who has navigated the journey of birth and early parenthood in a way that you want to emulate. If so, reach out to her, and ask for her mentorship. Involve your husband or partner every step of the way. A doula can also be a great support person to have on your team. Doulas are specially trained to help you prepare and to support you and your family during labor and birth. If you’d like to see if I’d be a good fit to add to your support team, reach out and schedule a complimentary consultation!
Having a supportive birth team will ensure that you’re cared for as a whole person as you begin the journey of parenthood. Your care provider will attend to your and your baby’s medical needs. But birth is also a very emotional and physical process—build a support network that reflects that reality!
I believe that the way we birth matters—it’s the beginning of our experience as parents, and can be the beginning of a strong bond forged with baby that can lay the foundation for an empowered start to parenthood. I wish you the best on your journey!
For clients due in 2020, I've got great news!
Mary Caplin and I are teaming up to bring you the support and expertise of TWO doulas! Mary and I have been collaborating for several months, and we both feel like we're ready to synergize and work together for the coming year. Mary is an incredible support to the families she serves. She has a wide range of experience in the clients she's served, and she's especially good at helping learn how to work together as a couple during the transformative time of birth.
So, what will it look like?
You--the client--will reach out to one of us, and meet with us during a complimentary consultation. That gives you a chance to ask your questions and decide if the fit feels right. After the consultation, you can connect with the other doula before deciding to move forward.
Then, when you book, you'll have two doulas working together to make your birth journey positive! We'll work together to direct you towards helpful resources, answer your questions, and help you and your partner prepare for birth. During your two birth preparation visits, you'll get to know and be comfortable with each of us one-on-one.
When labor begins, the doula you originally reached out to will be your primary on-call doula to join you when you need extra support. Sometimes, though, labor is long. If that happens, you'll want a fresh, well-rested doula to join you so you can continue to focus on the incredible and unique work you're doing. Mary and I will switch each other out to make sure you're getting the support you need.
In the days following baby's birth, you can continue to reach out to both of us via text, phone, or email. One of us will also visit you in your home to discuss your birth and connect you with postpartum support resources.
The services unique to each of our businesses will now be available to you throughout the experience. We'll continue to offer grants for lower-income families, and you can borrow books (about fertility, breastfeeding, pregnancy, birth, and infancy!) from the lending library. Plus, Mary's unique touches of a birth memory letter and a loaf of homemade bread will help you settle in with your new addition.
I'm thrilled to offer this service to our clients! Do you have questions about the partnership? Ask them below!