January 27, 2017

With one birth under my belt and a traumatic one at that, I wanted to take a different approach to my second pregnancy and birth. If I have learned anything along the way it's that we can always improve ourselves and learn from our experiences, whether they are good or bad. So over the past year I have reflected back to what went wrong the first time around and why I lost so much control during my labour. It was hard for me to pinpoint the exact reason, until I became pregnant this second time and started to meditate and educate myself on HypnoBirthing and connecting with my body.

When I was pregnant with Oslo I was hungry for information. I read every book, watched every documentary, and visited every blog I could about natural birth. I couldn't get enough information on how to have a dream natural birth. In a way I viewed my birth like a test that I needed to mentally prepare for with tons of facts and information. But what was lacking was the connection to my body. Instead of practising breathing techniques and learning how to connect with my body during contractions, I was studying endless information and feeding my brain all of this knowledge that in fact let me down in the end. The thing is I was in such uncontrollable pain during my labour, that my mind was not switched on to the facts that I spent so much time learning. What I needed was to connect with my body, slow down, and reassure myself that I can do this, but because I hadn't taught myself how to do that, I simply lost control.

If you have read my birth story, then you will know that because I lost control and the pain took over my body went into shock, and it's no wonder that I ended up in such a horrific state after Oslo was born. Like any bad experience through time we learn and grow from them, and now I can see so clearly what I really needed during my first pregnancy was to connect with my body and baby. During labour your mind sort of fades away and your body takes over, so the best thing to do is give in to your body's natural control and connect with it. So this second time around I have made a huge effort to do just that.

Now I should say connecting with my body meditatively does not come naturally to me. When I started to look into prenatal meditation it seemed like a joke because my mind is always full of silly thoughts, and I thought there was no way I would be able to clear it in order to meditate. So I knew I needed to find a program that would assist me in daily meditation and help teach me exactly how to do it. I found an amazing program for beginners like me called Expectful. Expectful is a meditative program for expectant mothers and new mums, that simply and clearly assists in daily meditation. It's a monthly program you sign up for that takes your through your entire pregnancy with trimester specific guided meditations. Each audio meditation focuses on a different aspect of pregnancy, from connecting with your body to gaining confidence to breathing. You can choose between ten or twenty minute meditations, which is great because you can always find a little time in the day to do it. I have been following the program for two months now and what I quickly learned is that thoughts are not the enemy and are quite normal, so just go with it and accept your thoughts, then go back to your cleared and meditative mind. Now my daily meditations are something I look forward to and I am seeing the huge benefits to it.

Another thing I am trying this time that I did no attempt last time is prenatal yoga. I noticed after my first birth I became very inflexible and stiff, so I thought it was a good idea to loosen up my joints and become a bit more flexible for my second labour. I just searched on Youtube for beginner prenatal yoga and stretching and found the channel Tonic. They have a bunch of videos on pregnancy yoga that are great if you don't have a lot of experience with it. I try and practice three times a week while Oslo naps and I have found it has also helped with my breathing when I do my meditation. It seems yoga and meditation go hand in hand, and I have found it has made me so relaxed and confident throughout my pregnancy so far.

I have learned based on my last labour and birth that you cannot prepare for what kind of experience it is going to be, but I do feel that this time I can help myself and baby by better preparing my body and not my mind. I guess only time will tell if it has paid off! 

As always I would love to hear from you! What helped you during your pregnancy and labour & what advice would you give to me for my second time around?

Thank you!

(Photo of Oslo by Alex Neary of Wild Eyed Photography)

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  1. I so admire you Jules! I was so scared I didn't prepare in mind or body. If I had another I'd definitely want to go down the hypnobirthing path, as well as the things you have been doing which you mention in this post. Such a helpful, brilliant post for expectant mothers xx