Originally Posted by Mommyintraining2
On another thread, you mentioned you learned from your first homebirth and were able to make your next one better. Just wondering what you would do differently. This is my first homebirth and I would love to know what suggestions you or any other experienced homebirthers have.
Hey, I am flattered! And, of course, happy to comply
Hmmm...suggestions. That is tough because each person is so different, and what would make a difference for me, might not make a difference for you so much. Take what works for you from these suggestions (there's a lot), and like a PP said, enjoy the ride as much as possible! This is an amazing experience and you only give birth to this baby once. Here are some things that come to mind:
Mainly, do your best to prepare, and then do your best with each contraction/surge/rush. Give yourself lots of love for doing this: it's an amazing task and a privilege and just going through it is a magnificent achievement. Soon you'll meet your baby!
For my personality, I wish I could have heard: "it's okay to not do it "perfectly" the first time", and that things happening differently than the way we plan is okay and presents an opportunity to learn. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I want to do it "right" the first time. I have changed quite a lot of my perceptions about how I learn best b/c of the experiences I have had. Still more perfectionist, but mellowing. I don't know, maybe it's a blessing in disguise: better to care "too much" than to be totally apathetic and not ever reach for "more" or care about something passionately.
Read quality books and browse websites, familiarize yourself with stories of normal birth and pay attention to how each story differs and how each woman finds ways to handle the challenge of childbirth. I think it can really take some deep immersion to get away from this culture or fear and pain and self-pity and powerlessness that pervades how many people in the U.S. view childbirth and how many women feel about themselves, in general. I think you've obviously got a great start, surrounding yourself with support here on the MDC. Surrounding yourself with positive people IRL is important, too. People who not only care about you, but have faith in your body's ability to be strong and bring forth life!
Know it's okay that each woman finds a different way to deal: being quiet and going "inside", vocalizing and bellowing and moving around, hugging and kissing your partner, being alone in a room or outdoors, etc.
Watch actual births via the internet or individual birth videos. Take note of how you usually deal with new things/challenges and make a plan as to how you will personally face the challenge. Take inventory of how *you* feel about birth.
Some women like Birthing From Within classes or the book and like to do journaling or something creative, like sculpting or painting or something else, to express their feelings and also process the journey of pregnancy, birth and new motherhood. You don't have to be "an artist", just pick some way to work through and commemorate this unique time. Let the whole experience wash over you, savor it and birth will be welcome like an old friend. It will change who you are and you will never be the same: you will be, eventually, even better than before this experience! (It takes time to let it all settle in and adjust)
Lastly, in the prep. for birth, don't forget post-partum. Have a phone call list of support people lined up, should you need a lactation consultant or LLL Leader for support with breastfeeding or someone to talk with about your birth, to process it. Your midwife could be excellent for this.
PLAN on needing help with meals, laundry, and housework after baby's birth and make a plan on how these needs will be managed by others before baby is born.
Read a book on the post-partum; at least skim through and have it available to refer to after baby's birth. Be familiar with the wide range of normal feelings many women have after baby's birth. I especially like this book
Plan to attend some kind of new mother's support group, like La Leche League. Some hospitals also have groups that meet each month or weekly, just for new mothers, and there are numerous groups to meet IRL through online formats, like meetupcom. Ideally, visit or attend a meeting before baby is born so it is not as intimidating when you have a new little one and need to connect with other mothers. Even if you are not usually the "joining" type, many mothers are surprised by how lovely and relieving it feels to be in a roomful of women who have "been there" and who support you without judgment. It can even reduce the need for anti-depressants! It's an important step in actualizing your new role of "mom", seeing a wide variety of mothering styles and choices and then sorting out slowly which parts might best become part of the new "you".
Talk with your partner about each of your "ideas" about what life will be like with a new baby. This may help to relieve any uncomfortable surprises, like your mate thinking you will be doing 100% of everything right after baby's birth.
Hmmmm...there's so much to learn and share. Best wishes to you on this amazing journey. You are an incredible woman!