"We just hope everything goes well."
"I'm hoping to have an unmedicated birth."
"My doctor is worried the baby is too big for delivery. I hope not."
"Oh wow, I hope this labor isn't too long."
"I hope I don't have to have a c-section."
Today I've been doing research for a client who is facing a few challenges as the birth of her baby approaches. I came across this quote from Canadian midwife Betty-Anne Daviss.
"She can't get through her labor if she doesn't have hope."
Wow. I had to sit back in my chair and think about that for a minute.
"What does it mean to have hope?" I thought. I looked for a dictionary definition of hope.
"a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen"
"grounds for believing that something good may happen"
"a feeling of trust"
"to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment"
"to expect with confidence"
As I continued to consider the meaning of hope, the following phrases came to mind...
hope against hope ~ hope for the best ~ hope springs eternal
As I thought about the challenges that labor and birth present and considered how hope plays a part, I thought about the quotes above and how I have heard them or phrases like them so many times from clients and friends. Obviously, nobody hopes something goes wrong in pregnancy and birth... The most famous phrase about hope is the answer to the eternal question: "Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?"
"We just hope it's healthy."
Well, obviously. But perhaps hope needs some help. Maybe there's a little more to it than just hoping...
When it comes to having a baby, hope introduces the possibility that the desired outcome won't come to pass. I hate to say that, but it's true. And while it is impossible to plan the way a birth will go, there are some things you can (and should) do to give hope some backbone.
Get educated. Take a childbirth preparation class, read some books, talk to your health care provider. Don't just rely on stories or advice from friends, look to qualified sources of information that can help you prepare for your birth.
Nix negativity. It is so fun and easy to tell a terrifying birth story, and your pregnant belly will just invite "helpful" family members to share their scary experiences... Don't hesitate to cut them off with a gentle "Wait... do you have a happy story to share with me?" Let your friends and co-workers know ahead of time you are excited to hear positive and affirming stories. Search YouTube for positive birth stories- there are loads and they can be so encouraging.
Hire a doula. Avoiding a cesarean birth, shortening labor, positioning the baby for birth, achieving an unmedicated labor... Almost all of the concerns listed above can be helped tremendously by having dedicated trained labor support. A doula provides education, emotional support and hands on guidance to make your childbirth hopes more of a reality. And in the event your labor or birth aren't going the way you were hoping, your doula's support and guidance will be an amazing asset as you adjust to the unforeseen challenges.
I hope with all my heart you have a safe and healthy pregnancy and a satisfying and positive birth experience. As a trained birth professional, I know you need knowledge and support to help you have the outcome you are dedicated to. Now's the time to take action- seek out the reinforcements you need to keep hope alive!
If you are interested in more information to find out how childbirth education or doula services can make a difference in your pregnancy and birth, click the links above or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org