With the guide you can:
📔Put down the books, stop memorizing physiology, and build your confidence in your inner knowing to guide your homebirth
💫Prepare for your intuitive homebirth with three of the Sacred Cycles your ancestral Wise Women followed to give birth intuitively
🌹Practice the 6 included inspirational affirmations to help you embody the Sacred Cycles and connect more deeply with your intuition
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© 2022 | NaturalBirthCompass.com
Prenatal Care, Spiritual Homebirth
Prefer to Listen? Find the accompanying podcast episode on the Unschooled Homebirth podcast, Episode 61, wherever you get your podcasts!
As you may know if you've been following me a while, I have been supporting families during the childbearing years for over a decade and there's a few patterns I have noticed during that time. Today I'm going to share three of those patterns and while these affect the majority of birthing families regardless of birth location, since my focus these days is in homebirth, that's the framework I will be using to cover these. Homebirth is also, quite honestly, the place where families have the most resources to avoid these patterns simply because that's naturally one of the benefits of homebirth, but that being said, I have seen families correct these patterns to have a deeply empowered hospital birth or birth center birth as well, it just takes a lot more work when you're not on your home turf.
To begin, the three most common and most harmful mistakes I see in birth preparation are:
Birth culture is one of those areas that changes quite rapidly in some areas, and yet very, very slowly in other areas. Much of what changes is driven by families who demand more for their birth, things like more respect, more autonomy, complete freedom in choice. The slow to change aspects are those outdated policies and procedures that don't seem to shift in the industrial health complex we call maternal care.
As homebirthers, you are not subject to these policies and procedures if you choose not to be. Now they do exist commonly in the homebirth setting today as we work through this state of medical homebirth midwifery we find ourselves in, where women experience things like cervical checks, fetal heart tone monitoring, postpartum pitocin, cord traction and fundal massage and all kinds of things that most of the time are unnecessary and arise out of trying to control those aspects of birth that are feared by birth professionals.
Often the fear-based influenences of birth professional are able to exert control over women and their partners in birth because families are simply underprepared for what's to come.
Cue the Mistakes
Here's what most expecting, hopeful families do, especially women: you read a lot, all the popular natural birth books and even some of the newer ones that seem to be published so frequently today. I'm not saying you shouldn't read books and inform yourself, but most homebirthers are doing this in the wrong order, as I'll expand upon below.
Most women are reading a lot, gathering all this information, and then in an attempt to integrate all the information you're are learning from books, you start binging birth stories on podcasts, in hopes that your birth will be a positive birth, thinking if you can learn enough and hear enough positive influenences it will all come together, digging yourself deeper into becoming a hopeful homebirther, relying on hope and luck rather than true confidence and knowing.
Then it gets a little bit worse. Now you've gathered an unbelievable amount of information, you've listened to all the stories of other people, what other women did and how it worked out for them, and now you find you have this intense need to embody the feeling of birth, so naturally, you start watching the birth videos. If you're at least half way through your pregnancy, you're probably at least halfway through the catalog of births on YouTube and wondering where you'll get more.
While you're in this stage leading up to your birth, it feels like all these resources are helpful, and I completely understand why you feel that way, because you've likely been told we need to know a lot about birth, about physiology, about possible interventions, so this is what you think you need to know in order to make our own decisions. But how do you know when you know everything you need to know? The anser is, you don't, subconsciously you know that and that's why you get drawn to birth stories, to hear what happens to other women who've gone before you, where you think you're listening for gaps in your knowledge, for things you need to go back and review or add to your knowledge base.
As you binge all the stories you can find, still never quite knowing if you have filled in the unknowns, not knowing if you have learned enough, you attempt to live the experience through videos thinking if you can live through the experience of enough other women, then surely you will cover any unknowns and be confident in what you know, confident in your preparation, right?
As much as I want to tell you that this is all helping you prepare, I would be doing you a major disservice if I just allowed you to continue this way, thinking you can somehow learn everything you need to know from external information and hearing and seeing what worked for other people.
The real truth is, what worked for other women, might not work for you, and there is no amount of information that will ensure you are prepared for anything. Even obstetricians and midwives with decades of experience see things they haven't seen before from time to time, you just can't predict that. Continuing to believe that this approach is going to fully prepare you for your birth experience keeps you stuck in the state of the hopeful homebirther, just hoping that everything goes well, that your labor will start on time, that your labor won't stall, that your placenta will detach easily without too much bleeding, and so on.
But I don't believe that just hoping is the best state to be in when it comes to your birth, you need something more concrete, something that you can rely on, because you can't rely on hope, but you can rely on yourself.
Shifting to Your Inner Guide & Confidence
Making that shift from hope to being confident in yourself requires you to do some deep internal analysis so you can change your habits and your approach toward preparation in a way that builds your confidence in yourself rather than looking outward to books, to birth stories, to birth videos. Then you can use those same books, the birth stories and birth videos appropriately to inspire and excite you for birth, to answer specific questions with discernment and clarity, rather than trying to consume it all, hoping it will teach you what to do in birth.
To help you start this shift from hopeful to confident, I have three shifts to share with you that you can make in your approach to preparation so you can shift out of the hopeful homebirther into what I call the holistic homebirther, who sees how birth is a part of the great web of life and is connected to everything else in life, the nature surrounding you, the universal laws that govern your existence, all these patterns you already know, and you already experience so you can embody birth everyday in the months or weeks leading up to birth.
Since I want you to have the insights of a holistic homebirther, here are the first three steps to making that shift. Each of these steps builds on the previous step, so the order is part of the overall approach.
Step #1 Look Inward Instead of Outward
Number one is to stop thinking that gathering information is the main objective of your birth preparation. I mentioned this already, how most women start their birth preparation with reading all the books, but this also applies to online resources, social media posts and information from socail media groups, even movies, documentaries about birth, and all the places where information and facts and data come from. One reason is that information and research is stored in your conscious mind and requires your brain to operate in a beta, thinking state, this is exactly opposite of the state you want to be in for birth, really even during pregnancy because you are often naturally in a deeper state of consciousness even during pregnancy, but you are fighting that by looking at too much information. This isn't so different from young children, who are in a state of subconscious awareness, in theta states, which is why we encourage children to play and be imaginative and creative rather than sit down with encyclopedias. Would you expect a five year old to be able to retain what they read in an encyclopedia? Of course not, but they can tell stories and draw pictures even without having all the information about what they are recounting or drawing, because they are connected to the natural world and universal laws more authentically than older children or adults who move away from that awareness over time when we become information focused in school and for work.
Instead of looking to information, the first step in your preparation is to get in touch with yourself. Study yourself, what are your patterns, what are your reactions to the external world, what are the feelings you experience in response to various situations, and are your responses and reactions in alignment with the situation and with who you are and who you want to be. One of the common concerns homebirth women have is who they will be when they are uninhibited, if they can become uninhibited in birth, if they can get out of the thinking brain. Many women are harbor concerns about this because they don't know who they are, they haven't spent time exploring themselves because they were focused on information, so when birth arrives, they actually have no internally resourced tools to rely on, so this hopeful homebirther has to hope her birth partner or midwife or doula can get her through with some kind of external tool. And hard things are always harder when you have to be dependent on external resources rather than having internal resources first. When you start internally, then you can ensure your outside source has the proper tools to help you rather than forcing them to guess, using the proverbial throw spaghetti at the wall at see what sticks approach because they aren't you, they can't know your experience and what will help you if you don’t first know that about yourself.
This goes even deeper if there is unresolved trauma physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, any level of being that is carrying unresolved trauma can be triggered during birth. Although some women will be aware of their traumas and have done work around it, many women aren't even aware of the level of trauma they may be harboring because it's not always about something that happened to you directly, but it's still in your subconscious. This can be things that were said to you or modeled to you about what it means to be a women, about what a woman's body should be, about how a woman's body should look and how she should act. And often, for nearly all women in the West at least, the beliefs of the overarching collective consciousness has programmed us with all kinds of beliefs - largely out of fear of the power of women's bodies, bodies that can create, grow, birth new life, and then nourish and nurture that life for years. This is a power that brings fear to society and to many cultures, so this power has had to be controlled and only used to the extent necessary to promote forward movement of civilizations, and without women ever realizing how powerful they really are.
Let that sink in a moment, for decades, really centuries, the powers inherent in women's bodies, minds, and spirits have been so feared that we have been subconsciously influenced to fear our own power, to fear our own bodies, to hand over that power to authorities, which gave birth to hospitals, to doctors, to public health policy. That's a lot to unpack, more than I will share here because that could take hours, and my point that I want to try to stick to is that you have to find the source of that power inside you and clear out all the noise that has convinced you that you need information, which then overwhelmes you and causes you to separate more from your innate human nature, from your holistic homebirther power that's already inside, that's already connected to nature, that already feels universal laws. When you continue to focus on information instead of listening to yourself, you stay stuck in a state of being hopeful that all the outside resources you are now dependent on will be able to help you get through.
To recap the first step, your first resource, your most valuable resource is not information, it is finding your own power in yourself by getting quiet to the outside and connecting with who you are, who you come from, how that influenced you, and how that will shape you in your birth and as you become a parent. This is a lot of internal work, uncovering and understanding your beliefs and how those trigger your reactions in the world. If you haven't done work in this area, I would highly encourage you to find someone who can help you explore these inner workings of your human nature during your pregnancy so it doesn't catch you off guard during birth. This is something we work on right away in the Natural Birth Compass approach because it is foundational to everything that comes next in regard to preparing for birth. I really think this is also why so many women who go through this program end up changing their midwifery care during their pregnancy because as they make those holisitic connections within themselves, they can then see where their care is aligned or misaligned, where they have been settling or just going along without question because they didn't yet know they could or should question their care. And somehow they often manifest the right birth keeper as their awareness of what they really want becomes clear.
Step #2 Get Clear and Use Discernment
That brings me to the second step, which is all about clarity and discernment. Once you have done your internal work, there may be times when you do need or want outside information, but this is done only after getting clear on you, your needs, your wants, and using that clarity to discern the information you will find out there.
So much information is based on public health or partial understanding of physiology or just what has been done for decades and assuming it's the best approach, even in homebirth. A common example I come back to because it's so pervasive is fetal heart tones. Thinking fetal heart tones need to be checked at every prenatal visit, visits that have been set up according to an arbitrary, predetermined schedule in the first place, and this is generally accepted as being important information to gather, but is it really important in every woman's pregnancy? And to question even deeper than that, does it cause harm?
Conventional wisdom believes listening to fetal heart tones more often is important and generally believes it doesn't cause harm, and I'm not even meaning harm from potential radiation exposure of the doppler, which could be bypassed by using the fetoscope, at least during standard visits. I'm referring to the harm of creating a dependency on a tool for information and on someone to use that tool for information, on someone who then potentially has control over the use and outcome of the findings from that tool if you haven't first connected with your inner resource before submitting to the tools at the hand of others. This is where outsiders gain power over a woman's body, over your body, even the most well meaning midwife who may not even realize the consequences of her actions because she is just doing what she has been taught, these actions take your power away and determine the future of your birth if you aren't prepared.
This is how the collective consciousness continues to perpetuate this fallacy that women need someone to depend on, that women need external information, that their own awareness and power isn't strong enough, this is how we keep women's power in check, and it's been happening so long we don't even notice it, until it's too late.
So once you have done the first step and found your inner resources, done the inner work to find clarity, you can then use your discerning skills to make truly informed decisions on what is best for you and your baby. Maybe that will entail have heart tones checked when it feels important to you, if you notice a change in your baby's patterns and movements that give you a question, then you might choose to have your baby's heart tones checked as a next step to explore your baby's health. Maybe the heart tones will look great and that will be all the confirmation you need as you check in with your baby, or maybe you will decide you still feel something doesn't feel right and you need to get an ultrasound. There is no right or wrong choice except for a choice that wasn't made by you, but making discerning choices requires something more than information because if we have learned anything from the "science" that has been thrown around over the last couple of years, it's that you can always find information to support your beliefs if you look for it. That means you have to go deeper than information, which means you have to get clear on your own power, your inner resources, and then be discerning to cut through the external noise.
Step #3 Use your inner power
That brings me to our third and final step for today, although there is much more to understand about all of this, but for the sake of time, I will keep it to introducing you to these three for today.
The third one is to recognize when you are deferring to experts or authorities or even simply other people, even if they aren't experts in the field. This is what is happening for most people when they are binging birth stories and birth videos, looking to other people for advise and 'how to' type information before getting clear on yourself first. I know that because if you have done that work and you are clear, then you aren't going to other people for advise or 'how to's', because you just don't need it. Would an novelist look to other people for advise on what to write their next book about? Probably not, because they already have their inner resources and their own knowledge base they draw from, if they go to a social media group or even a group of other authors, they're going to get other people's opinions, what other people would write, rather than writing what's in their own heart, rather than using their own voice to express what they need to get out into the world. This is where you should be turning for birth as well.
Now you might seek information when it's appropriate and from the appropriate place or person, because you know what you what you are looking for. So going back to our fetal heart tones scenario, you might decide you want to read about fetal heart tones before you opt to have them checked, but you won't need to ask people in a social media group or even your midwife if you should do it, you will know if you need to do it. You might need to ask your midwife what the next steps are if you still have concerns and collect that information so you can make the next set of decisions, but then you use your discernment to decide what steps to take. One red flag I hear all the time that's a big tip off that a woman is deferring her power to someone else is the phrase "my midwife wants me to... " or "my midwife sent me for..." followed by the intervention or test, maybe an ultrasound, biophysical exam, appointment with maternal-fetal medicine, whatever it is, the key being the phrasing "my midwife did this thing and I was the object of the thing", which might sound "my midwife wanted an ultrasound" or "my midwife wanted to check my iron levels".
You should never be doing something just because your midwife wants something, that's a form of coercion. Now if you ask what the next steps are, and she says an ultrasound or a biophysical exam and that sounds like a smart idea to you, where you will get information that you can use to get more clear, then you are the one who wants the ultrasound, not your midwife, and the phrase then becomes, I want to get an ultrasound to see how my baby is doing. This is coming from a completely different place, a different energetic and is a choice, not a direction from someone else.
If you aren't sure what you will do with the information that you are given from a test, procedure, or exam, that's a sign to notice, it's telling you that you need to go back to the earlier steps, you might need to go deeper into your inner self to recognize if you even requested this test in the first place, you might need to get more clarity on the question you are trying to answer, if there was one. Very rarely is there something that suddenly happens in pregnancy that would mean you don’t have time to go through these steps, if something does come up, there is usually time to take a day or even a week to get really clear on the situation so you can make decisions from a place of inner confidence not fear and coercion.
So to review the three steps we covered here
What commonality do you notice about these three steps?
You might have noticed they do not depend on books, podcasts, YouTube or other external sources, they do not promote guessing or hoping things are okay, they are not depenent on anything or anyone else but you. And this is the most important foundation, the most important knowledge and tool you can have for your birth.
I know these very intangible recommendations might feel complex right now, you might be thinking it sounds great and empowering, but it's not concrete, I can read a book and learn specific facts that are easy to learn, or listen to a birth story and get actual tips of what helped that mom get through, I can watch a video and see what birth positions a woman used, I can see how her partner or doula used a hip squeeze, I can see how she used a birth ball.
And I will tell you that birth isn't easy, it's not about learning easy facts and learning easy techniques, those may be useful in the moment for comfort, but to really feel confident, to shed anxiety, to know that you are in control of your birth in the moment, so much so that you feel completely comfortable letting go of your conscious thought, of your current reality in labor and sinking into your subconscious, allowing your body and baby to fully open and surrender to the process of birth, that's not easy preparation for most of us raised with a western mindset. Preparing for that experience takes undoing a lot of programming and the worst time to come face to face with that programming is in labor, or after labor when you're trying to process what happened because external information won't help you process your internal experience.
If you've been reading this and thinking, I need to do this but I do not know where to start, I would encourage you to not just let it pass and keep doing what your doing, find someone who can guide you through the process of going to those deeper places, who can help you see your reactions and responses in the world and help you understand how that programming came about and how to recognize it in the time you have before birth so it doesn't come up during your birth. You are welcome to reach out to me, you can check out my online class at naturalbirthcompass.com/course, but whatever you do, recognize it and find the tools to do the work because you can't redo your pregnancy and birth and it is worth the work. If you're really doing the work, it will be life changing and it will be with you as you parent, as you grow in your partnership with your co-parent and with your child, even in all your other relationships, your career, every aspect of life, and that's all just a bonus that comes along with truly preparing for birth. So please reach out if you need support, find me @naturalbirthcompass.
If you would like to start to explore a new paradigm of homebirth preparation, download the free guide Three Cycles You Need to Know for a More Confident and Intuitive Homebirth, get your free copy by clicking here!
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