If I asked 100 people to describe labour/birth in one word, I can almost guarantee the type of language that the majority would use. It would be some form of negativity.
You'd have the few who thought their experience was the best thing since sliced bread.
You'd have more who would say it was painful, long, traumatic, a blur, madness.
You'd have the majority saying it was worth it when they saw their baby.
You'd have a handful who continue to feel negative emotions towards their birth for years to come.
I'm treading carefully here. I don't want anyone to feel that birth is gonna be negative. My entire ethos is FAR from that!
So, what is the point I am trying to make?
Here it is:
Women don't want to hear positive birth stories.
They don't really want to hear traumatic depictions of the event either.
Do they want to hear any birth stories? Questionable.
I find that people will freely share their negative birth stories, likely as a way of releasing, coming to terms with the event and debriefing. I have nothing against this, it is SO important to discuss the events and how that makes you feel. I'd never tell someone NOT to do that.
However, choosing your recipient is important. A newly pregnant person is not the place to go.
A lot of pregnant women say that they want to 'know what they are in for'. This is negative, before you even enter the realms of labour. The birth stories come out. Women are scared. They go in to labour and are petrified. The experience becomes negative. A revolving cycle.
What about the positive stories then?
Well, I find that women who have had wonderful experiences don't want to share. They don't want to make other women feel 'guilty' or like they did something wrong if their birth wasn't this positive.
And on the flip side, women don't want to hear it INCASE they get their 'hopes up' and things don't go as they had 'planned'.
That conflict of emotion must be pretty hard as a pregnant person. I think the problem here lies with the way we view birth experiences and what constitutes as a 'positive' 'negative' or 'traumatic' birth.
These emotions come from internal perceptions of the experience.
These emotions do NOT necessarily correlate with the external events which occur. I understand that a difficult birth physically can impact on mental health, but this is not always how it goes. Women with a textbook birth can still feel traumatised, if this is how she has perceived it mentally.
The key here is that for a positive birth, an element of control, autonomy, confidence and calmness originating from within, will help your mindset so much.
No matter what way your birth goes, it can be positive. This is why hearing birth stories where women have had homebirths, waterbirths, forceps, caesareans and everything in between is so important and having processed them in a positive way.
Hypnobirthing prepares you for this. It prepares you for many physical events, but moreso important is the psychological effect that it will have.
Take a step back, think about your own attitudes to birth stories. Do you relate to what I have just explained? Does it make sense?
I'd love to hear!