“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!