Mellow Mummy: A Mellow Birth? : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday 12 January 2012

A Mellow Birth?

Today's guest post is written by Sian at You're not from round here. You can also find her on twitter as @HelpfulMum.

Is it possible to have a mellow birth? Can you prepare for a mellow labour and does that mean it will be?

Childbirth could be one of the most stressful events of your life. Could being the operative word. It could also be calm and, whilst probably not relaxing, certainly a chilled out experience. I have had two children and both were completely different labours. However, one thing stayed constant throughout. I remained calm. Here are my top tips for a mellow birth.

1. Ignore all the stories you hear pre-birth
2. Accept that it will hurt
3. Don't panic
4. Stay in control
5. Remain calm

When you are pregnant you will hear every labour horror story going. Even your aunt's sister's cousin will have a say. Don't listen to them. With my first pregnancy I was bombarded with scary stories (and the odd good story too). I decided to ignore them. Pregnancy and childbirth are unique. I will never experience what they have. Something similar maybe, but not the same. So ignore the stories, they will only stress you out. Also, try not to have too many expectations of how it will be. I'll admit that with my son I refused to even read the labour chapter of any pregnancy book. I just didn't want to know! Ultimately, it was going to happen whether I liked it or not and nothing could prepare me for that.

Accept that it is going to hurt. I'm sorry, but it's true. It will hurt. Maybe not a lot. Maybe loads. Either way, it will hurt. I didn't have any pain relief with either child. Not because I'm hard, or have a high pain threshold, but because, when it came to it, I opted to deal with the pain myself (mainly using deep breathing techniques).

With my son, I had a very slow and long labour. Nothing out of the ordinary. I took it all in my stride. I found that, for me, staying silent was the best option. Apparently (according to my Mum) I said 'ouch' once, right near the end. With my daughter I again stayed silent. It's very odd. I always thought I'd be someone who was screaming and shouting, but when it came to it, I couldn't emit anything!

It might be an old wives tale, but my body certainly instinctively knew what to do. When the midwife told me that my body would soon start pushing, she wasn't wrong. It is one of the most surreal experiences to have your body start doing things without you telling it. I found it very useful to override this and control the pushing myself.

It is very easy to say to someone 'just stay calm', as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Trust me, when you're having contractions, it's hard. It is, however, rewarding. Looking back, I think that staying silent was my way of staying calm. It disabled me from shouting, screaming and potentially losing control. I saw each contraction as a step closer to meeting my baby (which can surely only be a good thing).

I don't think it matters what kind of birth you are hoping for, these tips can cover them all. Expect the unexpected. I guess that just means don't have too many expectations. With my daughter, I hoped for a nice relaxing water birth. She had other ideas, and arrived when the pool was half full! She came so fast that I had to catch her between my legs!

I think you definitely can have a mellow birth. Certainly, I have had two very different, but equally mellow labours. Preparation for a mellow labour is hard. You can only second guess how things will be. Even if you have had a child before, it is not a guide as to how labour will be this time. It definitely is a case of taking it as it comes!

I wish you a mellow labour. Childbirth is amazing, that much is true. Enjoy it!
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