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birth sucks Esali Birth

Ever just felt like pregnancy and birth sucks and you're tired of keeping those thoughts to yourself?

Along the wall, behind the ivy, you'll find a hidden door... inside is a hidden world of ancient beauty, anticipation and hard work.

In this garden, anything goes.

You're excited.  You've plastered your walls with positive mantra posters.  You've encouraged all your friends to take birth classes.  You have a doula.  Maybe you're birthing in a birth center or at home.  You think positive about your pregnancy and birth.  You've prepped for natural birth.  Maybe you've even watched Orgasmic Birth and anticipate an enjoyable smooth labor.

Then, sometimes... birth sucks.

Sometimes, you just aren't feeling the happy thoughts.  Sometimes life happens and pregnancy sucks.  Sometimes you just eat the cookie and guzzle a milkshake and lay in bed all day and pregnancy sucks.  Sometimes you ache, you complain and you're exhausted trying to feel better.  Now where can you turn?  Negative thoughts and negative birth stories are often forbidden among "positive birth groups."

Sometimes, you feel like you do everything "right" and it just doesn't make a difference.  (Maybe not an immediate difference, anyway).

Want to know one of the most amazing parts of having a perinatal mentor?

You can tell me your secrets.

The thing about sharing your negative feelings is that you're able to better let them go so you can focus more on the positive aspects of your pregnancy, birth, and life.  Having a safe space, or mentor, to talk out those thoughts can be an invaluable part of your healing process from a previous birth, overcoming a fear from someone else's birth or working through personal struggles in your relationship and life.  Sharing your journey of positivity AND the not so positive is the best approach to a truly wholesome experience.

Sometimes birth sucks; it's true.  For some women, accepting this reality allows them to remember their birth in a much more positive light than if they felt mislead or their experience was suppressed because it was too negative to publicly share in the group they felt most connected to.  For some women, getting back to some raw feelings during pregnancy or even during labor can help them to move past something that may have annoyed them or angered them and isn't allowing their labor to progress.  We live in a very pc world, but those labor instincts don't always play nice with saving face.  Sometimes you just have to let it out and get raw.

Sometimes, birth sucks because...

  • You're tired.
  • You've been laboring for multiple days.
  • You've had a lot of prodromal labor.
  • You're scared.
  • Your family is annoying you.
  • Your birth team is annoying you.
  • Your birth location is unsupportive of your wishes.
  • Too many routines working against biology.
  • Too many people in your birth space.
  • Too much stuff going on in your birth space.
  • You had to make decisions differently than what you expected.
  • You had a birth experience differently than anticipated.
  • You're hungry or thirsty.
  • You keep vomiting when you eat or drink.
  • Your labor sensations feel overwhelming.
  • You weren't ready for a baby.
  • Your birth team feels too distant.
  • Your birth team feels too in your space.
  • You got the backup provider, especially if you don't mesh with them.
  • You have a physical ailment that is draining your energy.
  • What can you add to this list?

You don't have to love pregnancy.  You don't have to love birth.  You don't have to love breastfeeding.  You don't have to follow some specific protocol about the way you feel about your birth journey.

You have permission to feel like birth sucks.  You have permission to feel whatever you want about your birth, and to stop hiding it.

It doesn't always suck, I promise.  There will always be some positive points you'll be able to experience during pregnancy and birth - these are different for each of us.  One thing to remember is that talking about some of those positive points when recalling the negative points ensures that you don't mentally rewrite your birth story as only being negative.  Our brains are amazing organs capable of tricking us in so many ways and we can use that to our benefit.

[blockquote]"There is a secret in our culture and it is not that birth is painful but that women are strong” - Laura Stavoe[/blockquote]

If you're feeling like pregnancy or birth sucks, let's chat.  Let's explore why.  As a perinatal mentor, not only can I listen to your story, I can provide resources for remedying fears you may have, anger you may feel or just generally needing someone to listen to you tell your story that other groups may not feel prepared to hear.  Definitely a huge benefit of private birth classes and mentoring sessions.  You get to feel all the feels in this space along with guidance for supported your specific situation.

 

So, now you've found this door... how will you use it?  Will you nurture what's inside and allow the beauty to be seen?  It might take some fear, some tears and some hard work - but these parts of you don't have to be a secret anymore. #ALLthebirths

5 Books for Childbirth

Birth books never get old at my house.  Are you looking for some great reads this winter?  Here are five birth books you can cozy up by the fire with and really start digging deep into birth practices, their influences on maternal-fetal health, and how to get started now helping your mentoring clients or making your pregnancy more holistic and comfortable.

Safer Childbirth? by Marjorie Tew

This book is a hard look at the history of maternity practices - from cultural and anthropological influence to studies and evidence completely disregarded and twisted - that literally changed the way we believe about birth and the misconceived perception of safety that runs rampant with many providers and birthing facilities, with research to back.  If you're new to the birth scene, definitely grab a copy of this!  If you're seasoned, especially if you have formal education and find birthing practices and helping women intriguing, definitely grab a copy of this!

Tew tells us, "Action to reduce losses in childbirth still further would have to concentrate on improving the health of the neediest mothers.  In the light of past performance, there is not the slightest reason to believe that the desired objective would be achieved by increasing the medical input into maternity care. On the contrary, fewer losses would result if the medical input into maternity care were greatly restricted, while access to, and uptake of, healthy diets and social support became universal."

Hear, hear!

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, M.S.

Many of you may have read Katy Bowman's interview years ago about the negative impacts of kegels (read: mono-movement) and importance of [proper] squatting (though, in reality - it is movement she's getting at - not just squatting).  You may not have realized that within that time, that interview exponentially increased her traffic and in addition to her amazing Nutritious Movement website, she has many amazing books that are an absolute must read for any... modern human!  What I love most?  She further instills my annoyance over "exercises" and instead encourages fun and functional balanced daily movement.

Movement - rather body alignment which is created from healthy daily movement - is crucial for the body's biological ability to birth smoothly.  There's only so much healthy eating can do for you.  While not a perinatal-specific book, this is a foundational look into some of the most common health conditions of our modern cultures which directly relates to many common birth and breastfeeding complications.

Bowman urges us, "I want you to keep exercise and movement separate in your mind because there are many movements we wouldn't consider exercise that are essential to the tissues of the body.  For example, the workings of an infant's mouth while feeding at the breast are different than the workings of an infant's mouth while feeding off a bottle.  In the end, the task of getting milk is accomplished no matter if you take a boob or a bottle, but the process of milking the breast, it turns out, is important to the optimal formation of the jaw and face bones.  The structure of the face bones and established motor patterns of the face muscles end up affecting other processes, like breathing and swallowing, as ell as the space available for tooth eruption."

mmmmhmmm.... I know - all you mommas out there that have ever interacted with me for breastfeeding support are probably hearing my voice in your head repeating my caution of things like pacifiers, am i right?  This is a great lead into the next dig-deeper book recommendation.

Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, 2ed. by Linda J. Smith and Mary Kroeger

Still one of my most absolute favorite books.  Period.  If I could quote the entire amazing information here, I would.  It is just so good and I am constantly astonished by the persons that work within the maternity industry that not only haven't read this book, but are completely unaware of the information within.  This title is a picked apart, intensely researched, look at birthing practices from the big ones - like cesarean and pain relief - the seemingly insignificant ones with big impacts - like IV fluid and mother's position at birth.  I mean, wow!  It is worth every single penny and I do so hope that if you're a perinatal mentor, that this is already on your bookshelf.  If not, please add this one soon!

The authors explain in the chapter on Effects of IV Hydration on Maternal Stress, Breast Edema, and Lactogenesis, "Postpartum breast engorgement is a major barrier to establishment of effective and comfortable breastfeeding.  Only recently have clinicians differentiated between onset of copious milk secretion (lactogensis III) and edema... Many mothers have left birth facilities by day 2-4, and may not have access to adequate professional support in the critical first week postbirth."

Then the snowball just keeps rolling.

Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding, Revised Ed. by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman

Dr. Jack Newman has some of the most thorough and equally the most effective - simple - breastfeeding information available.  There are a lot of great resources out there, but if you're looking for that one title to add to your shelves, this is it.  It is great for expecting mothers without having to filter through a lot of opinions or outdated support techniques to get to the basics of breastfeeding and likewise a great flip-through reference for perinatal mentors.

Have you experienced this yourself?  Newman explains, "A baby who 'latches on just fine for the first few days' and then cannot latch on when the mother's milk comes in and she becomes engorged probably didn't latch on in the first few days: he pretended to.  If a baby breastfeeds well in the first few days, the mother may feel full when her milk 'comes in,' but she should not be so engorged that the baby cannot latch on."

Did your mentor share this information with you?  This is only the tippity top of the iceberg of information contained within these pages dispelling myths - even in the birth support community.

Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark

You know I couldn't do a list like this without some recommendation of herbal wellness.  Many new mentors and parents are looking for compact information that makes their lives easier and healthier.  This is a great book for the shelf that does just that.  Not limited to children, despite the title, it is great for the whole family by offering pages and pages of whole-family safe recipes and basic herbal care knowledge sharing.  Everything from cradle cap and diaper rash remedies to infestations, infections, and fever support - this is a great go-to for feeling more confident in parenting (always helpful) and having resources available for mentoring clients.

A little excerpt encourages, "Treating a child with herbs can be an effective way to fortify the body and cure illness.  Herbal medicine is the right choice for kids because it blends modern medical research with ancient practices and remedies.  Children generally respond well to herbal remedies, even when they are administers in tiny doses.  Children's bodies are sensitive and react promptly to an herb's synergistic, efficient, gentle effects."

This was one of the first books I ever bought on herbal wellness when my littles were tinies and it just fed my obsession of obtaining herbal awareness.  I still reference this at times for my personal mentoring clients when time is of the essence.

BONUS!

Man's Guide to Birth by Danielle Bergum

Last but not least, a little bonus book - and free with Kindle Unlimited - though I may be a little biased on this title, is Esali Birth's Man's Guide to Birth which is a pocket-guide style summary of the holistic knowledge shared from Esali Birth Mentoring.  From conception through pregnancy, into birth, and during postpartum and early parenting - each page is a tip to follow with a quick summary.  No new parent should be without this guide, and every mentor should have this in their lending library.

Birth Emotions Matter

There are so. many. reasons. why I am rarely ever impressed with a medical team – because they completely disregard one of the most important factors of the birth experience – the LONG LASTING emotional affects of birth. The emotional affects of the way a mother is treated on her milk supply, her postpartum experience, her parenting experience, and her empowerment.

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Tell me your story. I'd love to help you have a happy healthy birth!

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