Yes, You Can Avoid Birth Trauma.
Have you ever warned a child to be very careful or to not do something over and over again? But, you know deep down in your heart, that you can’t actually save this kiddo from the pain if they don’t make the choice to listen. They have to want to follow your instructions. Or they risk learning the lesson the hard way.
Birth work has really heavy parts to it and every birth worker will have different things that feel heavy to them. For me, it's watching birth trauma transpire right in front of my eyes to people that deserved better. There's a small population of women that I sometimes struggle to support. I struggle so hard when people come to me after their birth, sharing stories of struggles and trauma... yet, just months earlier I had tried to share reasons WHY their birth should be a priority, and why they needed to be more INTENTIONAL with their decision making and just how CRUCIAL it is to make sure you have the perfect birth team in place.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force them to drink. Sometimes, proverbs that seemed so dumb as a kid really have a way of gutting you as an adult. It such an internal struggle for me-- personal growth with learning to respect people's choices no matter what balanced with truly wanting to avoid birth trauma for the people I love and even their inner circles.
It pains me to my core to hear of traumatic births stories--because I know it didn't have to be like that.
Stop taking your birth knowledge from movies. Stop trusting your doctor to make decisions for you rather than with you. Stop avoiding exploring your choices because they make you feel a little anxious. Stop being careless when it comes to a major transition in your life. Stop using false societal expectations as your sounding board.
Before now, where has that gotten you?
"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"
As much as I believe in educating women on their choices, I believe that women have MASSIVE responsibility in the way our birth world has turned. I feel so strongly that it’s 2019 and if women are going to be marching in the streets, crushing glass ceilings, and destroying laws rooted in misogynistic views, then we need to take a good deep look inside ourselves first. We have to be ready for what responsibilities come along with changing the world and the future.
Did you know that some studies show up to 70% of women experience birth trauma during their labor and delivery? In 2019, the New York Times featured an article that highlighted how traditional childbirth education fails to accurately prepare women for birth. If you’re an expecting parent, you’ve no doubt noticed the overwhelming information and fear-based education surrounding having a baby! I am a FIRM believer that with the right education and support, you can avoid 99% of birth trauma. This article shares very well just how easy it is to prevent birth trauma...and that's not being intentional about how you prepare for your birth. This means giving women the control to make their own choices after they have been presented with all of their options, free of outside influence or persuasion. The's my goal. That how's we have grown to have amazing stats in our birth community like an average pushing time for a first time mom of 30 minutes and a 3% c-section rate in four years.
"I was my own problem"
All it takes is for someone to ask me what I do for a living and women will cross the room to share their birth story with me. All the time, I hear women say something along the lines of "I didn't think it was that big of a deal. I kind of thought would all work out," and, it did...but did it work out like you wanted it to?
No, most likely it didn't if you didn't prepare the proper way*, or worse, you didn't prepare at all for the actual birth process. If you didn't do any preparing or thinking about your birth experience before you were in labor, then how did you know what you wanted? If you didn't have any idea of how you wanted your birth to go, then what goal were you working towards all those hours of laboring?
Last week, I had a mom say to me share with me her birth story sprinkled with trauma sharp enough to pierce your ears and your heart as the words rolled off her tongue. I could feel the tears literally trying to burst through my eyes as if there were sprinklers coming up for the first spring morning after a long frozen winter. She was sharing how in the moment she trusted everything her doctor suggested and now, having done her own research, realizes that she was terribly taken advantage of.
The worst part? It was a holiday weekend and she now carries the burden of guilt because she knows that played a role in her induction and explains the rush her doctor seemed to be in to get her baby born.
After just a few simple questions and less than 30 minutes of chatting, she looked at me and said, "I was my own problem." I wanted to say, "I know," but how do you say that to a women who is wrangling with too many devils to count and is simultaneously raising a tiny human. Oh did I mention she is a very successful VP of Marketing at a well-known health food company. Yeah, add that. Instead all I said to her was, "You are such a wonderful mom. This conversation alone let's me know that you love your little boy more than the world. I really admire your strength and resiliency."
She knew she could do things differently next time. She knew she had more control already. What she needed was grace.
My first question to you is why would you think things would just work out without any preparing? Because society has taught you this?
Okay, let's dive into that idea: Society has taught you so much about birth, but is it true? Not really.
Society has led women to believe that labor is this grandiose event filled with emergency medicine, lots of sweating and bulging blood vessels, plus hours of screaming and pushing. Let me be clear right now, I do not believe this is normal. This is not how our bodies were meant to birth. This is a clear sign that something is not working and your birth team is responsible for being patient and trouble shooting solutions--likely the answer is more time. Now, do not confuse this to think birth never happens this way, because it does happen, but that isn't the only way to birth. Check out our blog on Fetal Ejection Reflex if you want more information on pushing with The TBH Approach.
Now, back to societal limitations--society has also taught women that birthing in the hospital has to be in the bed, hooked to monitors, and not being able to eat and drink until your baby is here. Again, just not the truth. Of course, you can (and many women do) birth like this, but if it isn't your jam, you have options. However, it's crucial you have to know what those options are when it comes time.
Society has also taught women that birthing on your back is the only way to do it. I do several exercises with TBH clients in the months leading up to their birth and through this I get the opportunity to learn about their existing ideas of birth. Nine times out of ten, women has absolutely no idea what birth can look like other than this:
Again, I want to remind you, I have never seen a birth like this.
You need to keep in mind that no one, and I mean no one, will fight for your ideal birth like you will. Also, no one is guaranteed to make the same decisions you would make for yourself. You can put together the perfect birth team to support you in getting to this goal, but at the end of the day, you are the only one who knows exactly what you want. This mean you have to speak up for what you want and expect that your team will support you in just that!
You have to take responsibility.
If women really want to change the world we currently live in and set the stage for our kids, then let's start with how we bring these kids into the world and the mental health of their moms. We can change the entire world if we begin with a solid foundation of homes that are filled with parents who are properly supported. This means emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Are you nurturing your mind? Are you advocating for yourself? Are you modeling healthy boundaries for your children? Are you constantly striving towards finding a balance that works for you? Are you getting closer to feeling fulfilled every day? If not, something is wrong. You need to take responsibility and make some shifts.
This can be a tough pill to swallow. I say it because I love you. I say it because if I don't, who will? I say it because telling women what’s we’ve always told them isn’t working. I say it because birth trauma shouldn't be an expected birth outcome, but it has become so normalized. I say it because the way women birth in America is unacceptable and our moms deserve better. You deserve better.
So I’ll try my way. Welcome to TheTBH Approach.
*The proper way for you is specific to you. The proper way for your neighbor and your sister and your best friend may all be different. However, every birthing person needs to prepare with the fundamentals.
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