Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BIRTH AND ADVICE








In my experience, when it comes to pregnancy, birth and parent hood - everyone with a kid is the holder of sacred, must-be-shared undeniable truths.

TRUTHS I tell you. Facts not to be argued with.

During my first pregnancy I found the influx of information completely overwhelming. I was angered by the constant bombardment of unsolicited advice and opinions. Each told with an air of superiority and an unspoken assumption of compliance.

The thought of a calm birth, caesarian birth, water birth, natural birth, orgasmic birth (oh yes, it exists) and the endless attitudes, beliefs, judgments and suggestions surrounding them was enough to make me make me hyperventilate.

Can a woman not enjoy her pregnancy in blissful ignorance of the imminent birth?

Can a woman not choose to be ill prepared for such an event?

It would appear not.

So on I went, listening and silently seething.

And whilst I was silently seething I was simultaneously visualising the birth canal and wind swept beaches in preparation for a spiritual, connected birth. One where I would painlessly (contractions are like 'waves', don't you know) push a baby from my nether regions and in a candle lit room, have it placed to my swollen, naked breast.

There we would stay for weeks, enjoying a sacred baby-moon.

***

Obviously nothing can truly prepare a woman for the birth of her first child. No amount of breathing, stretching, visualising or planning.

Some women are just blessed with complication free births. Other women are blessed with births that deviate from the plan but still result in beautiful, healthy babies.

***

This time, the third time round, I feel like a powerful wilderbeast* not to be messed with. My ideas are formed, my experiences set. I know what I'm in for and I'm thrilled by what is before me.


Pregnancy and birth, much like parenthood have provided me with endless opportunities to reflect upon my human-ness, my need for a savoiur, for help and support, for confidence and humility.


*I'm completely comfortable with comparing myself to a wilderbeast, whatever that is.



Tell me how did you/do you find the 'information overload' that comes with pregnancy/parenthood?


Wearing Bump Beetleshack at 13 weeks
The Past Two Months
The Beetle Shack is Expanding




47 comments:

  1. When I look back at my pregnant self now I just laugh.
    I remember thinking whenever anyone told me a story, "well my baby is not going to be like that"
    Turns out you can't decide what your baby is going to be like!

    In terms of birthing, I decided early on that I was going to do hypnobirthing.
    I think once I made up my mind about that I just tuned everything everyone else said out.

    And now I suppose I am finally mostly confident enough in being a mother to trust my instincts.
    I do of course doubt myself but I tell myself that I love my boy and that in the long run that is all that matter.

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    1. I do the same when I look back to when Zeph was born.

      Time and experience are wonderful

      xo em

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  2. Yes - completely. All of it was pretty unhelpful. All except 'it's your body and it knows what to do' and 'breathe through it'. I listened to it all about pregnancy and birth with my first Charlie. But when it came down to it, I just went with my body, relaxed and let go. With Rufus... I ignored any medical advice and decided to have a home birth - and gave birth to him in my bed with just Dan to deliver him. It was amazing. No drugs, no midwife - just us. - Good luck gorgeous.. just listen to your body.. x

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    1. Ohhh the home birth! Amazing.

      A dear friend of mine had an accidental home birth not too long ago.

      As for me, my body is not one to be listened too! Naughty body!

      xo em

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  3. To be honest, I stuck my head in the sand, pretty much blissfully ignorant. We had gone to a one day antinatal class, so I had a little prep there, but I waited to read the birth parts of the pregnancy books until 39 weeks. My baby had other ideas & came at 38 weeks to the day. My midwives were fantastic & I wouldn't have had such a positive experience without them. I was blessed with a complication free birth & my body just worked like it should. I know that others aren't as fortunate & my advice would be to a new mum to read a few books, especially about how to deal with hospital staff post birth.

    Anticipating your third birth? Well it sounds like you have got it sorted, more power to you. Exciting times await x

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    1. I also ADORED the midwives we had. So loving and nurturing, even when our births didn;t go to plan, like yours.

      xo em

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  4. I know! I got totally sick of that too, but now I find myself giving advice and have to force myself to bite my tongue. As for first births, I don't think *anything* can prepare you for it anyway... Despite what I'd read and heard and seen, I was unprepared in every single way for my first experience of labour.

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    1. Oh same! It's so bad (but some advice can be good right?!) ;))

      xo em

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  5. Gosh, I really hope we hear from some orgasm birth ladies! THAT was my "overload" point during my pregnancy, just too much of a stretch to believe that could be possible, and kind of annoying that it was even a discussion point. So, I'd love to hear if anyone in the world ever has had one - ever. Even though my labour was incredibly positive and for me (luckily) surprisingly manageable on the pain front - pushing my 10 pound baby boy out was the least orgasmic thing EVER.
    Good luck to you and your third, I reckon after two, you'd be pretty sorted, and know that the best laid plans are often chucked out the window where labour is concerned!

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    1. I watched a doco. Dave and I cringed the whole way through- I wish I was one of the 'lucky' ones though!

      xo em

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    2. Oh golly, I saw a snippet of a doco too during my calmbirth classes. TOO much! here's hoping you crack it third time around? ; )

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  6. I coped best by letting all the unsolicited advice wash over me.. My plan was to have no plan, go in and see what happens - I made no pre-determinations for pain relief, birthing positions etc, I was just relying on my body and also to make the best decisions to keep my baby and I safe... My labour was horrible and in the end I was knocked out cold when my baby was born but despite all that I was over the moon with the staff at the hospital, my ability to cope in a horrible situation and that my boy was born happy and healthy because at the end of the day I think that's all we want really, happy and healthy babies :)

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    1. Happy, healthy babies. The MOST important thing!! Too true

      xx

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  7. I had a freakout moment today where I realised there is a human inside of me.
    I think that's all I can deal with at the moment.
    Human inside.
    Birth.. schmirth.

    From last time I realised that you can be as organised as punch but that baby's gonna come out however it wants to.
    And more than likely it will come out somehow.

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    1. ahahha yep, more than likely is will come out. Thank goodness!!

      HUMAN ON THE INSIDE!

      xo em

      p.s thanks for the ... ehumm.. poo comment on insta! ;)

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  8. I'm always up for *listening* to opinions but now I am in a far better place (two children under my belt), to just do that ...listen, and not always feel the need to take on board advice/suggestions.
    I think you are so right, pregnancy and preparing for birth is a serious time of reflection. Picking through what we have done in the past and sorting out what we want for the future. I ADORE being pregnant and thinking/planning my next birth. I am pretty sure it's what I do best (you know the pregnancy/birth bit. The motherhood bit, well I'm not always the best at that!)
    From your post it sounds like you don't need any advice. How cool is it when we feel so confident in our choices and direction that we can do just that :)

    P.S. This is my first comment on your blog- Hi! I have been reading for a while but your pregnancy news (Congratulations BTW) has prompted me to get a bit more involved in your site. I'm a birth junkie from way back, so your blog title was a sign that now is the time to finally comment :)

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    1. ahah oh it's so lovely to have your input Amber! Thanks for commenting at long last!

      Yes, I so agree- it's time (and experience) that makes the 'listening' come more easily. I think the first time, I just wanted to be left alone and process my thoughts and feelings, ALONE. I do feel like first time mums/pregnant women do get MUCH more advice of a pushy/manipulative nature than mothers of many kids though. Sometimes I wonder if we women like to prey on fear just a tiny bit... no no, thats FAR too cynical!

      Anyways, looking forward to your input- although I hope I don;t disappoint you. Birth is NOT my thing ;)

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    2. Agree! Baby no. 5 on the way here and not a single piece of advice so far. It's so weird. And wonderful! There really seems to be so much focus on the birth as an 'experience' rather than the celebration of a healthy baby don't you think. Especially for the first. Yes, I think birth is wonderful (regardless of the mode) and I love hearing positive birth stories and was fortunate to have natural drug free births myself but things could be different this time around and it really doesn't matter. I really hate the thought of Mums being 'disappointed' that things didn't go to plan. There's enough to worry about once the baby arrives and not a single person will ask you about your births once the kids start school. Just enjoy the pregnancy and Em you are glowing by the way :-)

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  9. After an emergency caesarian and a vbac that turned into an emergency caesarian I have finally made peace with birth. It really isn't something that you can plan is it?! You can go into it with the best intentions yet nature may say, "not gonna happen sister!". And yes, to be blessed with healthy babies really is the name of the game. If they told me they had to rip them out my ear I would have said go for it. I'm saddened that women have become all about the birth. It used to be the breadtfeeding versus bottle feeding, then the private versus public...and now, natural versus all the other possible options. Perhaps we share our stories and opinions as a way to making peace with things, being heard perhaps. Anyhoo, wilderbeast sounds brilliant! Much love and strength to you in this most amazing of times.
    Steph :) x

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    1. Steph, I love every word that has just flowed from your fingertips. We have had the same birth experiences and have arrived at the same conclusions.

      Peace, peace, peace. :)

      xo em

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  10. Oh yes I seethed silently too! I wanted to focus on my natural birth and block out all the complication-full stories that everyone felt the need to fling my way. And that's what I did. There were complications though {birth doesn't really follow a plan I learnt!}, but I still got my natural birth. Second birth was beautiful and calm {once I cast aside the fears from the first birth}. I think because I trusted my body's knowledge and wisdom {and gave it time}. Loads of love to you on your birthing journey Em xx

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  11. I am 40 weeks + 1 day today... time goes by... so slowly.

    This is my second baby after 11 years... It's a huge gap. First time round I was a very young Mum (18), who did a lot by the way my own Mom told me to, showed me to, because all along I was told I didn't know what was best. I am not ungrateful or resentful, my Mom was amazing and the support every young Mum needs... but this time... it's my way. I have taken charge of my body, my feelings, my coping mechanisms. My husband is on board and love him more everyday for making this an experience I didn't necessarily get on my first. My daughter was born 11 years ago, happy, healthy and loved like no other. She is still that way to this day...

    I've noticed in this pregnancy, people are so quick to pass a remark (sure what would I rememer from 11 years ago!) or offer up advice and when you politely decline or just acknowledge their suggestion, you're often met with hostility or condescending opinions. I am not a first time Mum. I have done well in the past 11 years. I have become more than a young Mum statistic. I can do this again, we can do it and I am so excited about doing it too. I will channel the wilderbeast... ;)

    Congrats on adding a bump to the shack :) Here's to happy, healthy pregancies xxx

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  12. I agree with everything that everyone has said about birth being personal, your choice and above all a healthy baby and healthy mama. I do get a tad cross about the whole natural v cesearian birth debate....at the end of the day I think it's up to you to make the best choices given your particular circumstances...birth is birth and rather than feeling guilty for not being able to do it one way or another - we should all feel so proud and amazed that we actually do birth healthy babies. Having battled infertility issues after my first child, for the last two years..I get even more annoyed with the whole guilt thingy that some women seem to lay on others for not doing birth in the 'natural way' etc. So many of us would just so love to be pregnant again and to birth a healthy baby - simple (or it seems not so simple) as that! The only other thing I wanted to say - only based on my own experience - is that a cesearian birth can be beautiful, organic, spiritual, healthy and gorgeous - when I had my son, I meditated, focussed, was alert and never more alive - and he was/is the most healthiest little one ever, we bonded straight away, breastfed till he was 2 etc...only saying this because I think sometimes cesearian births get a bad rap. But - I am definitely not advocating them or anything else to everyone! Good luck with your journey and trust your choices xx

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  13. You sum me up in a nutshell here! Gah! You couldn't have hit the nail on the head more acurately Em, this is EXACTLY how I feel about it all, and you explained the whole thing in a witty, yet sensitive, hilarious way! Love it! Birth process's are natural, but as much as woman like to think it we are in control, we are not completely in control at all. Its a different experience for every human being.
    I love how you are strong and confident, and I love the beastie stuff! Isn't it amazing how the more births we have the stronger/more comfortable we get! I roared more with George my 2nd born ;)
    x

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  14. I remember my first pregnancy, everyone had an opinion. Second time round I found people less inclined to give their opinion when I was with my little girl ....if Abbie wasn't with me then the opinions returned. It's funny.....so much of the advice is negative, that's what gets me. I usually always offer some 'pearls of wisdom'...so I guess I shouldn't talk, however I always try to say something positive.....and about the birth I think it is so important for women to know their options. I wish I knew there was an option to a hospital birth first time...although doing hypnobirthing (who was I kidding.....sitting still through birth......ain't my style!).....I wasn't made aware that home birth or birthing centre was an option.

    Second time around, I wanted a homebirth as I just didn't enjoy the hospital experience.....had a lovely birth with Milly (just 4 months ago) that I really never would have thought possible. Labour less than 2 hours......power of positive daily affirmations for me the pain was manageable - bloody intense but manageable. I like to tell people that.....just because so many people told me birth was just awful and drugs were a must.

    I think making peace with your experience is great. Sometimes there are times the plan doesn't happen.....(like my first) ....go with the flow but know your options.....vbacs are possible :)

    You're glowing Em (loved those wearing pics) x

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  15. hmmm i actually didn't get that much unsolicited advice when first pregnant...perhaps because we were the first in our group of friends to have a baby...I was induced with both births as my body just doesn't go into labour on it's own...that caused much opinions amoungst those that don't know all there is about birthing....I understood that having a baby would not be defined by how I gave birth...I would go with what my body and professional were telling me.

    Since then, every time a friend of ours gets pregnant the only advice i offer is "the best birth plan, is no plan" and leave it at that! Go you wilderbeast Go! Relish in your strength and resolve xx

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  16. I don't think I seriously believed that labour would ever actually happen. It was just something that happened to other people! So much so that even when we arrived at the hospital well and truly in labour (and me a mess) I still didn't believe it was happening. I think it was a defense mechanism
    Every birth is different. People (health professionals for instance) can tell you what generally happens. And everyone will tell you what happened to them. But no one can tell you exactly what the birth of your baby will be like!

    Regardless of what the birth process is like, the very best bit is meeting that baby.

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  17. I don't think I seriously believed that labour would ever actually happen. It was just something that happened to other people! So much so that even when we arrived at the hospital well and truly in labour (and me a mess) I still didn't believe it was happening. I think it was a defense mechanism
    Every birth is different. People (health professionals for instance) can tell you what generally happens. And everyone will tell you what happened to them. But no one can tell you exactly what the birth of your baby will be like!

    Regardless of what the birth process is like, the very best bit is meeting that baby.

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  18. I was like an information, birth/pregnancy story bloodhound! I loved it! I craved and sought more more more. Every book, every piece of information, every single woman's story - I wanted to hear it. And I STILL do!

    I think the one thing that stands out for me is that we women are all so very different, our bodies, our insides, our outsides, what hurts us, what heals us... For me, talking about things made them so much less scary. Sharing with other women made me feel so happy mostly. But after Jude was born what made me feel good was home. Peace, quiet, no talking, feeding, walking, soothing and sometimes just having a big cry. Trying to have a conversation was difficult for me and still is if I'm not in the right headspace.

    You are a beautiful, different, strong, funny, sensitive and loving woman and I will encourage you to do what's right for you and leave the rest behind.

    Grow little sunshine, grow!

    x

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  19. a pinch of salt, honey...listen to them and then use that salt! i say it but its the hardest thing. i think if you act confident people are less likely to put their views on you. so i like to just speak it til even i believe it. so thrilled for you. :)

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  20. Luckily I had a lot of friends having babies a little ahead of me, so I had a great source of trusted knowledge around me. I think there is information/product overload in all sectors of parenting to be honest. But I would always prefer have lots of information which one can choose to ignore if one chooses. The way I see it that's infinitely preferable to some cultures where there is a real absence of information or choice about birthing. I did lots of pregnancy yoga/breathing and was planning a home birth but after going 14 days overdue I was induced in hospital and totally overwhelmed by the whole birthing experience. My second and third, however were amazing and amazing and so much less painful! I feel very lucky!

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  21. I've had 4 babies - all very differently, and like yourself my body wasn't behaving. Lots of advice (and sometimes unspoken judgement). The times that I particularly remember weren't before but after birth. The Mother's Group conversations when people were trying to better each other either with tales of triumphant drug-free birth, or the birth requiring the most urgent medical attention. Bah! When our precious kids are marrying or graduating or whatever... there will be noone commenting on the way they came into the world. These days I try to remember the bigger picture.

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  22. after doing some pretty long-term fertility treatment for our first two bubbas, our perspective on the births of our little people was what an absolute freaking privelege it was to meet these humans we made. we were totally trusting of however the process would turn out. we laughed and joked through the labours. i was still in total shock when our third (surprise!) was born. the pure joy and relief at holding a healthy baby makes the way they arrive unimportant. and i think people often get a little overexcited in sharing their story, and it turns into pushy advice. i just wish everyone could have a beautiful, safe journey, and that we all realise it's just the beginning! take care :)sarah

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  23. It's amazing how nosy people get over such a deeply personal thing as the way we bring our children into the world. Both of my boys were born via cesarean. My next (and final) baby will be as well If the first one hadn't been, one or both of us might not be here. The second one, when I was telling the circumstances of his birth, a midwife I respect said "There is no other way he was coming out." The upside is that while I'm awful at being pregnant, and getting pregnant, I'm great at cesarean recovery. It's almost like it's another way life is teaching me that I can't control everything, or some days anything about my boys, and that I'd better learn to go with it.

    I am bothered by how 'angry' my experience seems to make people, or when they say "Oh, well, you're one of the exceptions to..." The truth is, it's no one's business how another woman brings her babies into the world. End of story.

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  24. As someone who is going to be working on getting pregnant a year from now or so with my husband, it's refreshing to hear people say publicly that there is no "right" way to have a baby. It's frustrating to think that certain paths should induce guilt. Everyone is different and should work out there own birth plan - free of guilt as long as mom and baby are safe!

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  25. The only advice I ever received (from a midwife friend) was to book in at the local birth centre – which as I felt completely lost, and people kept saying which hospital are you going to? ... I was very, very happy to take it.

    The rest of it, I pretty much ignored, no one can tell you what will happen, each birth is unique.

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  26. it took me three pregnancies to get thing down pat, the first complete and utter fear, the second too much of a daze and way too fast to enjoy. The third, not only was the obyn and midwives a blessing but he is our angel, went in for a elective caesarian, came out with the easiest birth I have ever had and no caesarian...?? Now I am about to have a hysterectomy... good ole cancer will do that very time, and the biggest regret ...no fourth baby to have that heaven of a pregnancy every one tells you about!!!! ENJOY this special time, and love your kids too bits now, it all changes when you have more kids than hands!!!

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  27. Totally get what you're saying Em! In my line of work I'm actually paid to give the 'advice', but then people want to argue with me about it!

    When it comes to birth, parenting, and all that jazz there really, truly are certain things that are better than others... it's just that everyone thinks their few gems of wisdom are THE pearls that are the best. (I ran a parenting workshop recently where one mum actually took over! She didn't agree with what I was saying and proceeded to teach everyone what she thought I really should have been saying!)

    PS - haven't stopped by to mention that I love the new look of the blog.

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  28. Haha I actually giggled at the orgasmic birth. Surely not. SURELY not! Sounds like something from a comedy skit.

    When I was 11 I watched my mother birth my little sister. It was such an amazing privilege to be there and to experience it first hand. On reflection, it is one of those cornerstone experiences in my maturing from a girl into a woman.

    And, like you say, to fall pregnant and to give birth (however it happens) is ultimately a blessing, and there are plenty of people out there who sacrifice so much to fall pregnant and stay pregnant, and even those who are unable to bear children.

    x

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  29. You go wildebeast girl. Stamp those hooves and do it your way. I personally channel a good deal of riverhorse myself. Having had an emergency caesar and then an elective caesar despite weeks of hypnobirthing training you just sometimes have to just go with whatever is required. (the hypnobirthing has really helped me at the dentist I might add, keeps me very calm!). mel x

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  30. Oh man ... I soooo know what you are talking about! The guilting and tut tutting drove me nuts. I remember my mother in law asking 3 times in the same conversation if I had had Noah weighed. Then continued to ask everyday over the week until Regan stepped in and told her to stop. Drove me absolutely nuts!!
    Now I tend to just nod and smile and then proceed to toss any unsolicited advice out of my brain :) xx

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  31. oh I found it horrible. everyone shoving their ideas down my throat! scaring me completly! I ended up shuting down and ignoring every bit of advice I got. And well I have a healthy happy 3 month old to show for it!

    Love the wildebeast reference! Im looking forward to reading your journey!

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  32. Love the wilderbeest quote!
    With my first I was so hungry for information, none of my friends had babies yet, so I watched every video, listened to every story and read every book I could... By the third I knew what I was in for and didn't want to hear any more stories!

    Did see that orgasmic birth video and had to laugh. Good on 'em, but that wasn't my experience. Birth was amazing, but not orgasmic!

    Exciting times for you!! Congratulations on the bump x

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  33. With my first pregnancy I read lots and wanted the information, but it all went out the door when I was told the safest thing was for a caesarian birth at 37 weeks. I was fine, but wish I had of read about this too, never thought i would have headed down this path!
    Then with Indi I wanted a VBAC, mostly as I didn't wanted to have to worry about a 6 week recovery, but I also wanted to experience being in labour. I sought information, only from places I thought were true to me (lovely Jodi gave me some great advice), and in the end, just 'went with it'. I laboured, and safely birthed my little girl naturally, which in the end was my goal... it bloody hurt, but was totally worth it!

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    1. Oops hadnt finished...
      I liked to hear peoples advice, although much of it i let in one ear and out the other. I only listened when i thought it was in line with my own thoughts!

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  34. With my first pregnancy I wanted to be oblivious to the whole birthing experience before going in. Friends/any random person, wanted to tell me about their birth story and I Truly found it terrifying. I even hid behind a door once waiting for a cousin to finish her birth horror story before returning to the room.

    But now that I have had number 2 and looking ahead to #3 I could see or hear anything and it wouldn't bother me.

    GO WILDERBEAST!

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  35. I liked to hear every birth story with my first,I wanted to hear the whole spectrum. The little mustached man in the library of my brain likes to file away each experience into the folder of possibility, in case I may need it someday or I may need it to have compassion on someone else. I guess that's how I dealt with the glutton of info, and now as a mom of three I don't get bombarded as much because people think I must be a pro at pregnancy, either that or they don't want to breach the awkward "Are you pregnant/ or just filling out your pants well?"haha

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em