When it comes to pregnancy, birth and babies it seems as though the lists are never ending. From the “layette” to countless nursery items, monthly pregnancy clothes and even various and sundry age appropriate toys the experts say you will “need”, it can all seem a little overwhelming.
In reality, there are really only three very important things that you can bring to your birth place, and they aren’t to be found on many lists, nor are they easy to pick up at the store.
What are these three important things that your birth can’t do without?
Number 1- Your Doula-
You can’t buy her in a store, but you will most certainly find that paying for a doula is well worth your money. While cost, experience, and philosophy vary, finding a trustworthy doula who can help you get the birth you want is an expense you won’t regret.
What can a doula do for your birth? Many things including: help you position yourself properly for the best birth for you and your baby, help provide support and ideas for your partner, give mom emotional support when she needs it as well as help navigate your birth place.
In fact, despite their funny sounding name, a doula is proven to improve satisfaction with your birth as well as increase breastfeeding success and lower the cesarean section rate. You can never underestimate the power of a positive and knowledgeable female emotional support in labor. And no, a friend or relative who gave birth probably won’t have the same skill set. Doulas cost money for a reason! (Check out this post for links to research about doulas and their benefits.)
Number 2- A Knowledgeable Birth Partner-
Everybody wants their partner at the birth. Who else could be your greatest support? Who else knows you better? Who got you into this in the first place?!
Everybody wants their partner there but a partner who is scared of birth, doesn’t trust you to do this, or who simply feels useless, is more of a hindrance than an asset.
So what is a girl to do? You want (maybe even need) your partner at the birth but you don’t want them to ruin everything by getting queasy or saying you sound like a cow.
There is a rather simple answer my friends: Spend just as much time preparing THEM for the birth as you spend on yourself. It probably comes as no surprise that to us at Birth Boot Camp, a comprehensive childbirth class that focuses on both people in the relationship is imperative. There are lots on classes out there focusing on moms needs- and they are absolutely wonderful in preparing mentally for birth. They are not however enough to prepare both people equally for the realities of modern maternity care and the need to fully prepare your body and mind in addition to your emotions.
Find one, preferably ours, and get your partner well trained up for a birth that is safe and satisfying for BOTH of you.
Number 3- An Excited (and Prepared) Mother!
It is often said that most people spend more time, prep and money on their wedding, a car purchase, or researching the latest cell phone than they do on their birth. This is a sad reality and it does a huge disservice to women everywhere.
No matter how perfect your doula and how supportive your partner, when it comes down to the nitty gritty of birth, some things you just have do yourself. The contractions will be yours to feel, the pressure, the emotions, the sheer overwhelming nature of it all, these are all things that mom must not only deal with but triumph over.
Mom- you are worth the investment of knowledge, time, and effort required to truly ready yourself for the adventure of birth. The time you put in before the birth will most certainly benefit you both during labor and after. You are worth the effort.
Amazingly enough, this prep work almost always yields a mother who is no longer frightened of birth but excited about it. That is incredible.
As you get ready for your baby, go ahead and read all the lists you can get your hands on. There are good things in them that can help you prepare and feel better about all the changes coming in your life.
But in your efforts, don’t forget that the three most important things you can bring to your birth place cannot be found on a shelf but through diligent effort. Your doula, your prepared partner, and your excited self are the most imperative things for you to bring to your birth place. Don’t forget them!