Birth will surprise you.
After talking to friends and family, I've learned this. After photographing over sixty births, I've seen this. Birth will surprise you.
The moment you say to yourself, "I know how this is going to unfold" is the moment you should start preparing yourself for the surprise (or the shock) of birth. Below is a very non-comprehensive list of birth "surprises."
- the duration (labor was long or labor was lightning fast)
- the sensations (back labor, intense nausea, less pain, more pain)
- the recovery (breastfeeding, healing)
- your support team (did they succeed? did they fail?)
- your baby and his ability to move through your birth canal
- your baby and her ability to adjust to breathing/eating in the outside world
Whether you're a first time mom or this is your sixth baby, each birth is unique with it's own joys and challenges (just like each baby). Despite our ability to plan and organize, each of us will have diminished control in birth. Our bodies will take over. They will work with our babies in a way that can't quite be predicted. Our birth stories are written by an invisible and creative narrator.
And friends, there is beauty in this.
There is also relief. Relief that comes from the loosening of our grip. We really do have to let go. We have to let go of our sense of control and allow our bodies to birth. We have to trust our care providers, our support team, and our bodies to work together. We have to trust that the process will happen, and we must move out of our minds and into our bodies.
Birth will surprise you. Each time, you'll be reminded that your plan must change and adapt. And what a perfect beginning to parenthood - a journey that demands adaptation and growth and change around every corner.
So what can we do in the face of birth and it's many surprises? We can use our minds to find the right birth space, the right care provider, and the right support team for our unique story. We can't necessary control birth, but we can find a safe place and safe people to go on the journey with us. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions, to imagine a wide variety of scenarios. Who do you want beside you when those surprises come? Where do you want to be? Make the choices that you can...and then trust that your birth will happen...and that it be just as unique as the child that it brings into the world.
Are you looking to add a compassionate and professional doula to your birth team? Cord Doula Collective provides labor and postpartum support to families in Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. Learn more about our doula services here.
Monet Nicole is the co-founder of Cord and a birth photographer. She has a two year old daughter, and lives in beautiful Colorado.