When I was pregnant with my son, I read a lot about pregnancy and babies, but not much about giving birth. I figured that there were going to be midwives in the hospital who helped labouring women on a daily basis, so I would be in good hands.

The experience turned out to be traumatic for me, and I ended up having nightmares for a long time after my son was born. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was terrified to give birth again. This time around, I wanted to be prepared, and this is how I did it.

I informed myself

Give birth like a feminist by Milli Hill, The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

I took back my power

by reading “Give birth like a feminist — Milli Hill”

This was the first book I read. It changed my whole perspective on birth.

As I started reading the book, I was very sceptical. I consider myself to be a feminist, but was there really an issue in the delivery room? What’s wrong with just listening to the doctor. After all, the doctor must know best. They spent years studying the subject.

But as I continued reading, I got more and more upset with how the medical world was treating birth. How many interventions are entirely unnecessary and based on fear, financial motives or the convenience of the doctor. They are stealing the most empowering experience a woman can have, and make us think our bodies are not up for the job.

This book opened my eyes to new truths:

  • I am a woman, and my body is made to give birth.
  • I am the boss of my own body.
  • They can not perform any procedure on my body without my consent.

It’s incredible that I had to read a book to realize this. I tend to be someone who questions things and stands up for herself. When it comes to birth, I gave away all of my power.

This book brought up a lot of the trauma of the birth of my son, but it also made me work through it. When I finished reading the book, I was ready to learn more.

I learned about all the options at birth

by reading “The Positive Birth Book — Milli Hill”

The Positive Birth Book gives an honest and complete overview of everything all the possible options and procedures related to birth. If you only read one book during pregnancy, make sure it’s this one.

I learned about the power of my body

by reading “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth — Ina May Gaskin”

Ina May Gaskin is often referenced in other books about natural birth. She founded a commune with her husband in the ’70s. In this commune, there was a birthing centre. The statistics of this centre showed births with fewer complications and fewer interventions than hospital births. I find this book a must-read as it talks about the amazing things your body is capable of during birth. I literally read it in the last days before I gave birth, and it gave me so much confidence and strength.

I learned more about the childbirth industry

I watched:

Both show how the industry of childbirth works. I would at least watch the Sex, Explained episode if you can. It already covers the most important points.

I tackled my fear of birth

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I was terrified of having to give birth again. Reading the books helped me a lot. The more I learned, the more in control I felt.

I learned about HypnoBirthing

HypnoBirthing taught me how important it was to relax my body during contractions. I found this playlist of informational video’s from the Positive Birth Company shortly before my due date, and it helped me a lot. They helped me so much. If I had found it earlier, I would have definitely bought her course.

I watched videos of real births

I actively looked for videos of natural births on youtube and Instagram. I started following accounts on Instagram that would share real birth stories. In the beginning, I would watch the videos with one eye closed. As I got used to what I saw, they became beautiful images of the most natural thing in the world.

I made a birth plan

Before reading The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill, I thought it was a bit silly to make a birth plan. What would I even write in it?

The great thing about the book is that it clearly lists all the possibilities, and it takes you by the hand to create a birth plan. I’m very happy we made one for several reasons:

  • It made me reflect on what I wanted
  • It made me have a conversation with my husband about what we preferred
  • We used it to validate that our gynaecologist was on board with the things we wanted
  • My husband could easily share it with the midwife when we arrived in the hospital on the day I was in labour
  • My husband had a written reminder of our choices

I made sure the people involved in my daughter’s birth matched what I wanted

When I got pregnant, I contacted a gynaecologist that worked at the hospital in which I gave birth to my son. Two of my friends had had multiple children with him and always raved about him. I never felt super at ease with him, and after deciding what kind of birth we wanted, we tried to have an open conversation about this with him. The conversation didn’t go smooth, and I felt like he didn’t want to know or cared about what we wanted. When we left his office that evening, I was panicking. The gynaecologist didn’t feel right. I had been having doubts about the hospital. I felt that, even though I was trying to do everything I could not to have another traumatic birth, it was going to happen all over again.

When we got home, I started researching other hospitals and gynaecologists. We ended up switching to another hospital and another gynaecologist, which left me feeling so much more at ease.

did any of it help?

So you might wonder how my second birthing experience was. My husband wrote about our daughter’s birth story from his perspective. A friend told me, after she read it, that it sounded extremely painful. Interesting, because that was not my experience.

When my labour started, I was incredibly confident about what my body was capable of, and all fear was gone. Most of my labour, I was very in control and focused on my breathing. My husband supported me at every contraction. We were in our bubble together, and it felt very intense and romantic for me. Towards the end, the pain became too much to handle. I asked for pain relief as I didn’t know how to deal with the pain. The midwives stalled (I’m pretty sure this is on purpose) and when the midwife checked, it turned out I was fully dilated. This is actually quite common, right before you’re fully dilated, you’re in the transitional stage, and this is the most painful part of labour. It’s also the part women who don’t want pain relief might end up asking for it. I had warned my husband about this stage and instructed him upfront, that if I would ask in this stage to try to convince me not to get it 🙈 . The second my daughter was born, all pain was gone. Magical.

So yes, my preparation helped me. I was calm. I knew what kind of birth I ideally wanted. I dealt well with the pain for most of my labour. And best of all, this birth didn’t leave a trauma. At least not in the way my previous birthing experience did. As you can read in my husband’s account of my daughters birth, there were some complications in the end.

I hope this helps you. Let me know!

This article is not sponsored. Any links to products are products that we liked and paid for ourselves.