As seen in Coles Baby & Toddler Magazine. By Katrina Zaslavsky.
As a first-time mother, you’re no doubt anxious about what lies ahead, not least the day you go into labour to give birth.
Mum-of-two Katrina Zaslavsky remembers just what that was like. She was a public health professional when she first fell pregnant and although she might have been in a better position than most to think calmly and rationally about the labour ahead, she recalls being filled with “fear and anxiety”.
“Yet I was committed to going natural all the way and consciously worked through my fears during my nine months in waiting,” she says. “I transformed my experience from being terrified of the birth process to feeling at peace, having complete trust in birth and my body, and actually looking forward to the big event. The result? Two incredibly life-changing, fear-free, drug- free and virtually pain-free births to my beautiful girls.”
Katrina now works to help other mums-to-be have peaceful birth experiences through her online community, coaching services, empowering birth resources and workshops. Here she shares some of her tips.
FILTER OUT THE HORROR STORIES
“We hear a lot of horror stories [about birth]; we don’t hear a lot of positives. And unfortunately the media and Hollywood don’t help, because they paint birth in a very negative and dramatic light. You watch any Hollywood movie and it’s always a lot of panic and drama. It’s always a big medical emergency. It’s like we see ourselves as a medical emergency waiting to happen rather than it being a normal and natural part of life.”
LISTEN TO THE POSITIVE STORIES
“Immerse yourself in positive birth stories,” says Katrina. “That will give you a new possibility of how it can be and help you to view birth in a positive light and restore the normality of it. We tend to build it up as this big monster because of all the negativity that we hear around us, and think it’s something awful that we have to endure, but with the right preparation and the right mindset it can be one of the most powerful experiences that we’ll ever have.” (Immerse yourself in inspiring birth stories in her book A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth here)
FIND A POSITIVE BIRTH COMMUNITY
“Often doctors don’t have a lot of time to explore all your options with you and to discuss the pros and cons of all the drugs and procedures on the menu. When you’re part of a positive birth community, you can actually talk things out – and work through fears together. That community can provide a lot of support and reinforcement and encouragement. You can go to real face-to-face meetings with other women or you can find an online community, because now the whole world is online. There are some wonderful groups out there but you have to seek them out.” (Click here to join our positive birth community!)
CREATE A STRONG SUPPORT TEAM
“There’s no perfect formula or one-size-fits-all [about birth support]. It’s very personal and individual to each woman,” says Katrina. “Often it will be the partner. Some women want their mother there – other women wouldn’t dream of it. You might consider hiring a doula. Doulas have been shown to improve birth outcomes and they know how to support you, whereas your partner, with all the best intentions, may not know exactly what you need or how to look after you in that setting.”
REMEMBER, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
“Often our biggest fear is the fear of the unknown. So make it known! Get informed. Do your research. Know what you want. Often, attending a recommended independent birth course is a positive step and rather than feeding your fears, will show you that birth can be beautiful.”
TRUST IN NATURE’S PERFECT DESIGN
“We’re so advanced and tech-savvy and we’ve got it all happening with our career – and we forget that we’re still mammals at heart,” says Katrina. “Birth is a very primal thing. Right now, your body is running all these intricate processes that you’re not even aware of: your body knows how to breathe and it knows how to birth a baby. You just have to trust in your body and get out of its way so that it can do what it’s supposed to do. It’s almost like we’ve lost belief in ourselves and how amazing our bodies are – and yet this instinct is within every woman. It’s there. This is what we’re made to do.” (Need more trust or belief that you can do it? Check out Empowering Birth Magazine and discover your magnificence!)
Did you find these fear-free birth tips helpful? Can you relate? Please leave your comments below! x