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I am including this post in my 31 Days of Preparing for VBAC series, but in transparency, I am seven months postpartum as I write and this post is back-dated.
I’ve learned a lot in the last seven months. Little Brother’s Birth (along with several other unrelated circumstances) has brought me into a place of renewed faith in the healthcare system and of questioning the validity of much that comes out of the “natural health” community. I’ve made a lot of health decisions based on “research” that I’ve done on the Internet. I’m realizing that much of the advice I have utilized in those decisions may or may not be based in true scientific evidence nor accurate assessments of risk.
This has left me very conflicted about what to do with my VBAC series. It’s one thing to have made decisions based on bad resources. That is an integral part of my story, and I have no interest in rewriting or whitewashing it. But it’s another completely to continue to share those resources with expectant moms and possibly put them at risk for making poor decisions that could have negative impact on the health of them and their precious babies.
I am slowly reevaluating each post in the series and hope to make some positive changes to many of the posts, share BETTER resources based in BETTER evidence, and correct much of the misinformation that I believed while preparing for my VBAC that I shared in my series. I hope that you will hear me with an open mind and heart as I humbly admit areas that I was wrong.
Birth affirmations. Those wonderful mantras that mamas repeat to themselves in pregnancy and birth to maintain a positive outlook on birth. When I was preparing for my VBAC, I ATE THEM UP! (You can view the complete list of birth affirmations I used in pregnancy here.)
Looking back, I almost find it humorous. Other times, it makes me really ticked off.
The one that has settled most in my mind is the one that says, “My body will work. My baby will fit.” And my body DID work. It worked harder than it has ever worked it its life. But my baby did not fit. Which is why I’m more thankful than ever for the cesarean that allowed him to be born safely.
No amount of wishful thinking or meditating on a birth affirmation was going to work against genetics. My baby wasn’t going to fit.
Lindsey from Mother Rising addresses this problem SO very poignantly in this post, The Problem With Birth Affirmations:
You see, many (probably most) birth affirmations do not allow for the possibility of the unexpected.
And when women don’t plan for the unexpected, this leads to some very confusing and upsetting mid-birth and postpartum emotions.
This is what she proposes as a solution:
What if we taught that it’s impossible to think a particular birth outcome into being? That you can absolutely influence your birth, make great informed decisions, increase your chances of a particular birth, but in the end you cannot control everything.
Embracing the unexpected, the unknown and losing control is part of birth and therefore should be part of prenatal preparation.
Embracing the unexpected, the unknown and losing control is part of birth and therefore should be part of birth affirmations.
We need to be mindful of what we say to ourselves so that come postpartum, after we give birth and are holding our sweet babies, those things we repeated over and over during pregnancy and birth don’t come back to haunt us, telling us we were weak and failed.
To which my response is YES! YES! YES!!!!
I recently connected with a doula on Facebook who was attempting to make a set of affirmations that did just that. I and a few other moms collaborated with her, and she designed a set of beautiful inclusive birth affirmations for ANY birth – unmedicated, medicated, VBAC, planned cesarean – these affirmations cover it all. With her permission, I am sharing these here on my blog so that all moms can benefit.
All pictures were made by and belong to Kaya Edwards of Cowichan Doula.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission before distributing/using them.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THESE INCLUSIVE BIRTH AFFIRMATIONS
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