This blog is a bit different from usual… it’s not about tech, not about professional challenges.. but still, it’s about learning and life challenges! A few months ago, I became the mother of a little boy. It came with very special moments of happiness and struggle. Being a mother turned out to be much more than I expected it to be and even though I was lucky to be in a country that supports parents, I found it hard to deal with the first few months. However, I prefer to start with my before birth experience, because I believe it’s a very important phase with a lot of things that can be done to enjoy the pregnancy and to stay sane and safe emotionally and physically!
Starting from the end: I remember my pregnancy as a beautiful journey. Let’s see how I succeeded to make it so!
As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I was, of course, so interested in having a healthy baby and being healthy during my pregnancy. The first few months were a bit hard with excessive tiredness and loss of appetite, but then things started to ease and I thought it’s time to do some Prenatal yoga in order to help my body be ready to its biggest experience ever :). Prenatal yoga is very helpful to stay active, relax/ relieve stress, prepare your body, and meet other moms to be, all at the same time. Isn’t it great? So, after work, once a week, I went to my yoga session which I liked so much, even though it was in German. but I found it a good opportunity to get used to German.
Apart from that, I heard that swimming is a nice practice, even recommended, for pregnant women, especially it helps to relieve back pain coming from the additional weight. Fortunately, there was a public swimming pool nearby, I enjoyed going there from time to time on weekends. I also tried the prenatal swimming class but didn’t like it.
Time went by and I started finding it harder to overcome every new day, when I started to find it uncomfortable to sit, to sleep, to walk :)). Fortunately, I didn’t gain much weight, so this only started in my last 2-3 months of pregnancy. Around that time, I started thinking it’s time to start being informed about how birth happens, what are the different possibilities, and how to prepare myself emotionally.
At first, I didn’t want to read about bad scenarios like c-section, induction, etc.. because I was afraid it makes me stressed and worried, as I wanted a natural birth. I wanted something that speaks about the natural birth and luckily I came across a book that was the right start for me: Happy birthing days – Jutta Wohlrab. The book introduced me to the magical orchestra of hormones that result in birthing. Besides, Jutta explains in the book how to be involved in the process and support this orchestra to welcome the baby (breathing, visualizations, massages, partner support, the right environment for birth, etc..).
Then, I joined Jutta’s birth preparation course with my husband, it was a good opportunity to understand together what is birth about, how it happens, how he can help me and collaborate as a team together. There were also other couples and it was nice to share our expectations, fears and to know that we are not alone. By the way, Jutta is a passionate midwife, and a positive person, which I had the pleasure to know during my pregnancy. She also was there to support me when I needed her at the end of my pregnancy – while doors were closed in front of me.
During the birth preparation course, we also practiced imagination: closing eyes, remembering a beautiful moment, live it again.. and honestly, it wasn’t that successful in my case (couldn’t focus and stop my mind from thinking about other things), so I thought hypnobirthing won’t work for me, because I’m not that person with strong imagination and I felt like it’s an unrealistic trick that will fail. But then, I was reading some positive echos from a pregnant forum (in what to expect app) about hypnobirthing that triggered my curiosity and thus decided to give it a try, and to at least understand the science behind hypnobirthing, maybe it convinces me. In the end, it did convince me! The nervous system responds in two ways:
1-The emergency response system triggered by fear/stress, etc – known as ‘fight or flight’ response,
2- the confident response system – known as the parasympathetic nervous system.
I was impressed by the science behind hypnobirthing which is basically about working on activating the confident response system when the birth starts (more details). So it sounded logical to me, and as it was a bit late to start a hypnobirthing course, I was in week 36, I preferred to just do it on my own through resources available on the internet. I ordered The hypnobirthing book (ebook version) of Katharine Graves and read it in a few days because when I started it I couldn’t stop! I really liked her style and was impatient to practice hypnobirthing and see how it impacts my experience. I bought also the mp3. I started listening to these mp3 every day! It was so relaxing to hear the magic carpet MP3 before sleeping and to wake up on the affirmations. The secret to experiencing the positive impact of hypnobirthing is to repeat. Slowly the mind starts to respond correctly and to stimulate the right feelings of trust and confidence in your body. Honestly, by following Katharine Graves hypnobirthing book and listening to her MP3, my whole perception changed .. I felt more in control of my body, I felt trust in my body and baby because birth is natural and being informed is the best key to make the right choices depending on the circumstances! Thus, I really recommend it!
wow, it seems that I wrote a lot, but it’s still not enough for a whole 9 months pregnancy :p. I have much more to say, but I will try to be brief 😀
With that spirit, of being in control of my experience, I made affirmations that I stick into the wall, I also watched some Youtube visualizations and I recorded my voice saying positive imaginations.
I also followed the B.R.A.I.N decision-making method in order to deal with different cases, so that, even if it won’t be a natural birth, I still can make the best of it. There is a one Youtube channel that really helped me to gain this necessary knowledge, it’s Sarah Lavonne – Bundle Birth.
Otherwise, because of the German language barrier, I also chose to have a Doula, in order to explain to me what Midwives say in the hospital. And fortunately, I did! My doula gave us (me & my husband) a big emotional support by her presence. I had two meetings before birth with my doula: in the first one, we spoke about my fears, my expectations. After that, I wrote my birth plan and we had the second meeting where my husband was also present and she explained to us the stages of labor and what we can do in each stage.
Then, the spring came, with blossom tree flowers 🌺 🌺 🌺 🌸 🌸 🌸 .. while also my heart was blossoming.. ready to welcome my baby! I had faith, love, and the best birth team members (Me, my husband, my baby, and our doula).
I printed my birth plan to share it with the midwives responsible for me in the hospital, wrote it also in German, and I was enjoying the last days before my baby decides to join our little family. I visited a couple of parks, to get some inspirations that will help me in my hypnobirthing during birth.. and in one of the visits, contractions started… but that was at 41 weeks + 4 days (yeah, I was overdue, with all the stress that comes with, haha) and after going through a session of ‘stand up for my right’ 😀 to not be induced at 41 weeks + 3 days in order to let my baby come when my baby is ready!
So if you’re pregnant, embrace the experience and live it to its fullest! Being pregnant is not a handicap or just a ‘waiting phase’, a lot can be done.
And if you were pregnant and did some activities that helped, let us know in a comment 🙂
Where I did Prenatal Yoga: yogacircle
Where I did birth preparation course: elementsofbirth