When I was pregnant with Lily I felt a lot different than I do now about birthing and how I wanted to raise my children. Foremost in my mind was my fear of giving birth! I was afraid of the unknown and the terrible pain that everyone talks about and the way it is portrayed in the media. I was the first of my friends to have children; I didn’t have any support to counter my fears or help instil self confidence.
At the time, I was convinced I’d breast feed for eight months, any longer was “strange”. True story. Things were really out of whack in my life at the time. I wasn’t eating well, mainly because I didn’t like or know how to cook. Stop laughing, I’m totally serious. Think bacon- everyday. Even the bacon grease was saved and slathered on toast. Think Dilly Bars- boxes of them almost every day. I gained more than 60 pounds in my pregnancy. My starting weight just under 120 pounds. I suffered from “morning sickness” throughout most of my pregnancy but sometimes I wonder if it was all the bacon and Dilly Bars. Struggles with my mother in law grew steadily and soon exploded with comments and emails about what a disappointment I was.
Midway into my pregnancy, a couple of friends recommended a private prenatal course that was just starting to be taught in town. The hospital offered “prenatal courses” but those never amounted to more than just an explanation of hospital procedures. The private classes were being taught by a woman named Shawna, who had just become a doula and taken a course to teach the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth.
Cam and I learned so much about the birth process and each other in these classes. We learned about interventions and how they affect both mother and child, as well as hinder the process of giving birth. We talked about relaxation and my individual reactions to stress. When one knows better, one does better. We knew that the most natural approach to giving birth was the best choice thanks to Shawna’s education and encouragement. I started to believe that the secret to giving birth with ease was about getting out of your body’s way and just allowing it to happen. Relaxation is key. This is a belief I still hold dear to this day.
These prenatal classes spun my life around 180 degrees. This pivotal point in my life changed the way I make choices, live and raise my children. Natural living is taking the lane of least resistance. I was fortunate to experience this change in perspective before my first child was born. I was lucky to meet Shawna and have her in my life. She was a huge support to Cam and I before, during and after Lily’s birth.
I recently made this quilt block for a collaborative quilt being made for Shawna by many of her loved ones.