The Intuition of a Mother

In all things, there needs to be a balance of trusting those who are most knowledgeable and trusting ourselves to know what’s best for our families. We are fortunate in the western world to have resources to rely upon when they are needed.

In the world of pregnancy, birth, and parenting, there is often a clash between the “professionals” and a mother’s intuition. We are not accustomed to listen to our intuition, and there usually is an aspect of the situation that feels like a life-or-death decision.

For example, if an obstetrician says “You need a cesarean because your baby is big and his heart might not tolerate labor much longer,” a laboring mom who isn’t aware that a “big” baby is not usually a true cause for cesarean will follow the doctor’s orders because the safety of her baby is at stake.

Another example is when a mom reads a book by a “sleep expert” saying that if her baby doesn’t sleep through the night by six months, he will never sleep through the night and he will always need human contact to settle. So she will stand outside her baby’s door, listening to the cries for however long the book suggests while her heart aches and her milk leaks, not knowing that it is not normal for babies to sleep through the night in isolation and it benefits milk production to have babies nurse frequently (even at night).

The biological bond between a mother and her children is a source of great wisdom. When a mom feels something is “off” with her kids, she should listen to that feeling and pursue an answer. More often than not, there will be something amiss.

It’s so important to trust ourselves to know how to birth and to trust our babies to tell us what they need. Trust balanced with education from evidence-based sources can produce a holistic, peaceful outcome for all involved. Pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting are all short seasons in the whole of our lives. Cherishing these times and avoiding unnecessary interventions is beneficial to the whole family.

Positive Pregnancy

In a vulnerable time such as pregnancy, every friend, neighbor, and lady at the grocery store wants to know how moms are coping with the physical and emotional changes taking place. Usually the questions are asked in a negative tone with a facial expression communicating “oh, you poor thing.” The woman may feel as if she must say something negative in response, and if she doesn’t, she’s doing something wrong. This negativity surrounding the “symptoms” of pregnancy perpetuates the idea that it is a sickness needing to be treated when it could be viewed as a beautiful transformation. A pregnant woman should not be regarded as pitiful, but instead as powerful.

Yes, some parts of pregnancy such as morning (all-day) sickness, back pain, needing to pee every five minutes, and random people touching your belly are not terribly enjoyable.

The truth is that it’s only a short season. Complaining our way through pregnancy almost ensures that we will complain our way through motherhood, because it doesn’t get easier after the baby exits the womb.

Pregnancy is a time to be celebrated. New life is growing; a new future is emerging. Rejecting negativity during gestation is beneficial to babies and helps mamas prepare to remain positive during labor, birth, and beyond. Surrounding herself with love and avoiding excess stress during pregnancy is a beautiful foundation a new mom can build for her baby. Positivity is something people have much control over; it’s a choice we are free to make.

 

I encourage my doula clients to be proactive in this process of remaining positive.

  1. If someone starts telling you a pregnancy/birth horror story, respectfully tell her you’d rather talk about something else. Horror stories are not the norm.
  2. Have open communication with your partner about your needs, hopes, dreams, and plans regarding pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
  3. Create a village if yours is currently lacking.
  4. Look in the mirror and don’t allow yourself to think “whale,” but only allow thoughts of how beautifully you are providing the perfect habitat and nourishment for your son or daughter.
  5. Hire a holistic healthcare provider who sees pregnancy and birth as a normal process, not an illness.
  6. Take a childbirth class that emphasizes evidence-based birth.
  7. Practice mindfulness and meditation. Hypnobirthing is great for this.
  8. Eat nourishing food so your mind has the energy to pursue positivity.
  9. Stay active, but rest when your body needs it.
  10. Treat true mental illness with respect and get the help you need before you’re drowning in it. Don’t think you can do it on your own if you truly can’t. http://www.postpartumprogress.com