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Surrounding yourself with “YES” people

January 3, 2011

Lately, I have been reading several books that talk about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, who don’t drag you down, who help you learn and grow, those who believe in you.  These books are just about culturing relationships, specifically friendships.  If this is so important to life in general, how much more important is it to surround yourself with loving, nurturing, caring people who believe in you during your most vulnerable time – in pregnancy and birth!

Pregnancy is a miraculous time, a time when another life is being cultivated inside you.   What could be more mysterious?  Instinctively, mothers know they need to care for and nurture this life.   Habits change to give this life the best possible start in life.  Pregnant women who are loved and supported just glow with radiance during these months as they know they are carrying someone very special.

Sometimes well meaning strangers, neighbors, even friends and family just don’t get it.   They do not realize the sacredness of the moment and make some comment like “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Did you really want that?”  And each of these comments is a little stab – like someone cutting off a finger – at this joyous event.   I have not met anyone yet who has not encountered that attitude, be it during their first pregnancy or 10th (sadly, the comments seem to grow exponentially with each child.)  And as a mom you remember, you CHOOSE, to turn a deaf ear to the naysayers and to surround yourself with those who also view life as sacred, who lift you up, care about you and love you through your pregnancy.

Why is it not the same with labor?

Why not choose to only surround yourself with people who do lift you up, who believe in you, who care, nurture and love you through your labor and birth experience?  Why would someone choose to have a person around during labor who doesn’t think you can do it?   Who sows the seeds of doubt and fear at every turn?

Labor is precious, labor is vulnerable, labor is sacred.  You experience your deepest fears, you doubt your ability to cope,  you cry out for help in one form or another as you welcome this very special person you nurtured for so long into the world.    This is not a moment for spectators, this is not an opening for the doubters to chime in.   You need to surround yourself with those you trust, with those who say “yes, you can do it – you ARE doing it!”

To be able to pick this very special birth team, you need to look around during pregnancy.  As you interview doctors, midwives, doulas and even family members you would like at your birth, consider:  How do they talk about your pregnancy?   Are they positive?   Are they supportive?  Are they saying you can do it (especially if you want a natural birth, or a VBAC)?   Or are they negative, saying how terrible labor and birth will be?   Why would anyone choose to suffer through it?  That you could never accomplish a natural birth, or a VBAC?    You need to surround yourself with the former and not the later.  You can choose who to have surround you.   If there is any doubt, ask them to leave, pick a different doctor (I myself switched doctors at 36 weeks to a more supportive doctor), ask for a different nurse, request a family member not to come (they may be sad or disappointed, but this is your birth), or if a friend or other support person ever doubts your abilities, revoke their invitation (yes, even if you already paid them – this is your birth).

As you decide who will witness this once in a lifetime event, as you interview your doctors, friends, doulas, and as you research your possibilities, remember that in life, but especially in labor, you need to surround yourself with “Yes” people.   Choose wisely.

Thank you so much to our guest contributor, Anna Hubbard!  Anna is the mother of four beautiful children.  She is also a certified Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth educator (find her on Facebook) and the owner of Once Upon A Sling, Bloomington/Normal’s retail babywearing store which offers classes and consultations.

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