“Giving birth is an act of love, and each birth is unique to the mother and her baby. Yet we also share the same womanly physiology and the same orchestration of our birthing hormones. Our capacity for ecstasy in birth is also unique and universal, a necessary blessing that is hard-wired into our bodies but that requires, especially in these times, that we trust, honour and protect the act of giving birth according to our own instincts and needs” Dr. Sarah J. Buckley
Borrowing Dr.Buckleys words, we have the capacity within ourselves to experience ecstasy during birth. Our bodies are designed to be able to cope with the sensations and feelings experienced during birthing. The natural process of waves starting slowly and building in intensity allows the body to adapt and release its own natural pain relieving hormones. Natural birthing is in fact very possible and enjoyable. It has even been called ‘orgasmic’ by some! Beat that…..
Natural birthing allows you to move around and adopt any position you feel will aid your birthing process. This freedom of movement acts as a natural pain relief. When your body is free from drugs it allows both mother and baby to be more present during the birthing process and at birth. Just after birth there is a critical, sensitive period, where a mother and her baby connect and partake in a complex hormonal dance together. This magical time will not last long and will never happen again, it is one of nature’s gifts. There is a school of thought that suggests this critical period after birth is vital to the development of the capacity to love in later life. Experiencing a natural birthing will ensure both you and your baby are alert and ready to bond immediately as nature intended.
The emotional and physical advantages of natural childbirth can be huge. A sense of empowerment and a huge boost in self-belief almost always go hand in hand with natural birthing. The likelihood of you or your baby experiencing birth trauma after a natural vaginal birth is very low. This in turn allows you to begin mothering from a very strong and favourable emotional position. Physically, your body bounces back from a calm natural birth much quicker as it has not been overwhelmed by the event.
Breastfeeding comes easier for both mothers and babies who experience a natural birth. Experiencing an optimal birthing experience positively influences the long-term health benefits of both you and your baby.
If you have given birth in hospital you will more than likely have a few days before home time, however if your birth has gone well and you are feeling good, some hospitals have an early discharge scheme, where you can go home within 24 hours. Do what feels right for you, you may feel more secure knowing you have a midwife close by to help and advise you during the first few days. Home births have the advantage of already being in your safe, familiar environment so your cocooning phase can begin immediately.
‘Cocooning’ is a way of introducing your baby gradually to the world during the first six weeks after birth. When you bring your baby home it is lovely to create a haven (probably your bedroom) where lighting is kept low, temperature is nice and warm and the atmosphere is relaxed, with the music that you listened to during pregnancy playing in the background. Here is where you should aim to spend a lot of your time with your baby just getting to know each other during the first couple of weeks. If you have other children you can include them in some of this bonding time, create an air of magic about this room for them. Let them know they are entering a special place where they can get to know their baby brother or sister. In general older children will really love being involved and get a kick out of helping get nappies or run other small errands.
This should be as private a time as possible, where visitors are kept to a minimum, at least for the first couple of weeks until you really find your feet and you feel secure and confident in your ability as a mother. A constant flow of visitors, however well-meaning, is exhausting for you and your baby. Don’t be afraid to let people know you are taking this family time; they will respect your privacy. If family members offer to help out by minding older children or cooking meals, let them. Strict schedules are best avoided in the early days especially if you are breast feeding. Don’t worry; your baby will get into a good routine but the most important thing is to find your feet, this is a huge learning curve, don’t put yourself under the added pressure of a strict routine from day one. Every baby is different, every pregnancy is different, and so babies come into this world with different personalities and expectations. The early days can be trial and error. This is a new step in your relationship that can be taken one day at a time.
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