So often we are focused on being prepared for any negative things that might happen, and it can also be freeing to allow ourselves to ask a different kind of "What if..."
What if I have a birth experience that is perfect for me and my desires?
What if I know exactly how I want to be treated during my birth by professionals and I'm treated exactly that way?
What if things go smoothly, my body knows what to do and my baby is born without my needing a single stitch?
What if even if things go a different way than expected, I still feel empowered, confident, and look back on my birth with fondness?
What if I go into birth knowing exactly what my needs and desires are for a "good birth" and those needs are met because I've hired a doula who provides endless support and I chose care providers who respect and honor me in this process?
What if I rock my birth and feel like it was one of the most emotional, amazing experiences of my life?
These what-ifs are not just fantasies!
Here are seven ways you can make these what-ifs more likely to become a reality:
1. Know what birth is like when uninterrupted (what a physiological birth is like without any interventions) and begin working to release any fear you may have. You can learn this by taking a birth class outside of the one provided by your hospital, which will focus more on telling you only what birth looks like in that hospital and their specific protocol. You can also learn more about birth from books and one-on-one chats with your doula.
2. Know your options for pain relief and the risks and benefits of each option. Some public hospitals in Madrid offer things like large bathtubs and nitrous oxide whereas others don't. Some hospitals also offer low-dose epidurals that allow for more movement. If these things interest you, it's great to know about them and where you can find them.
3. Learn what hospital policy is like where you will give birth. Ask questions at the doctor's/midwife appointments and learn what they do as normal protocol. You're never being extra or pushy when you insist on asking questions and getting answers - it's never too early to know the hospital policy. Then ask yourself, "Is this aligned with how I want to give birth?"
4. If the hospital doesn't feel like a place with protocol or treatment you'll feel completely happy with, know that choosing a different hospital (or home birth team) that IS aligned with your birth values is fine to do! It will make your birth much more likely to be a "good birth" for you! If choosing a different hospital isn't an option or something you'd like to do - work with your doula and partner to accept the parts of care you don't feel thrilled by.
5. Know your rights - in Spain you're always protected by something called La Ley de Autonomia del Paciente (Patient Autonomy Law) which means you are allowed to make decisions about your body and treatments during pregnancy, labor, and birth. For example, hospital protocol may state you are required to be lying down during fetal monitoring or cervical checks, but technically you can continue moving any way that feels good to you. Here is where choosing a hospital that offers something like wireless and/or waterproof monitors is helpful if movement during labor is important to you.
6. Practice affirmations, breathing, and movement during pregnancy that you can apply during labor. This could be hypnobirthing or just general mindfulness and deep breathing in addition to affirmations that work for you specifically. Your doula can work with you and your partner to show different movements and massages that you may find helpful during labor and birth.
7. Hire a doula. A doula will be your rock throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and the early days postpartum. Virtual and in-person support both help women feel more confident, in control, and empowered as they make decisions. Your doula is there for both you and your partner...how do doulas support partners? I tell you all about it here.
How are you feeling right now? Have you always thought of birth as something you just have to "get through" to get to the prize of a baby at the end?
How does it feel to imagine a "what-if" where birth is a positive memory to treasure for the rest of your life - not just because of the baby you bring into the world, but because of the experience itself?
Do you have to do all or any of these things to have a positive experience? No. But these seven things do increase the likelihood of having a positive experience.
If that sounds pretty great - keep that feeling with you and take the steps to make it a reality!
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood?
Look no further - book a free discovery call with me (Madison - doula in Madrid) today and let's chat about how together we can work to make your experience a positive one! And be sure to check out the Madoula homepage. If you're looking for doula support during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum please be sure to contact me for a free consultation!
Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life. There are many factors to consider at all times. The support of a doula from home to hospital adds an additional layer of support for both the birthing person and partner. Continuous care and individualized support both increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience, regardless of the birth outcome (C-section, instrumental birth, etc).