Our first childbirth experience was traumatic. Despite our excitement going into it, my wife and I were also more than a little nervous.
We attempted to have a natural home birth with just ourselves and our midwife (and no painkillers). As labour got underway, things started to get tense - literally. What started out as slight back labour created fear; was the baby in a bad position? Is this normal? Should we be going to the hospital? Ultimately this level of thinking was the beginning of the end for us in terms of our intentions for a natural home birth. Instead, this only served to create a vicious cycle of fear-pain-tension, more fear-more pain-more tension, and so on. The result was a very slow, painful and stressful labour, and ultimately an unplanned hospital birth with intervention, far from what we had initially envisioned.
The second time around we were fortunate enough to have an opportunity to work with the amazing doulas from The WOMB. In the weeks leading up to labour they helped us to prepare mentally for a calmer birth experience. The plan was to attempt a natural home birth again, but this time with a doula and a midwife. We felt much more prepared and we were confident going into it that things would be smoother this time. However, as soon as labour kicked in, it was game on, and the tension quickly resurfaced. Contractions began to progress rapidly and with great strength, and the back pain began to set in again. Almost immediately my wife’s mental state went right back to the place of fear experienced during our first birth. Within the first hour she was already suggesting that maybe we should just go to the hospital! At that point I also began to become fearful again.
With perfect timing, before these feelings even had a chance to take root, our doula arrived. The instant she entered, the entire mood transformed. Fear was replaced by trust, wisdom, confidence and a sense of calm: trust in each other and in this natural process; wisdom gained from countless birth experiences and knowing that everything would be okay; confidence in knowing this is a natural process and if a mental calmness is maintained, the process can be expansive in every sense of the word and indeed beautiful. Additionally, with our doula present, my wife and I were much more able to focus on just being in the moment and sharing this almost supernatural experience together. Rather than worrying about all of the big and little things, I was able to focus entirely on my wife and working together to make sure she was comfortable and staying in a positive frame of mind. Written by WOMB dad, Evan - dad to two little boys.