Why this podcast?
I wanted to feature a podcast that I hadn’t featured before. Taking Back Birth is actually part of a website called Indie Birth. Indie Birth has some great pregnancy and birth related resources, from podcasts to blogs, courses and the wise woman circle.
When you land on the Indie Birth homepage you are greeted with this wonderful message –
“INDIE BIRTH IS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION AND KNOWLEDGE FOR THE MODERN PREGNANT WOMAN WHO KNOWS THAT HER BODY AND HER BABY ARE WISE; AND FOR THE MODERN BIRTHKEEPER WHO BELIEVES IN THESE WOMEN AS MUCH AS WE DO.”
I love this so much it actually gave me shivers down my spine.
Yes! Women’s bodies and babies are wise and I wish we could all trust in that a bit more.
And, yes! As a birth doula, I absolutely believe in women and their power to birth.
How could I not pick an episode from this podcast?
How does it look?
Most episodes last anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes with a few lasting for well over an hour.
There doesn’t seem to be a super clear schedule for the release of episodes. Generally, there are two or three released each month but some months there is only one.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter as there are already so many episodes out there for you to choose from.
Areas covered so far include nutrition in pregnancy, prenatal tests, how to decide who should be at your birth, how to deal with fear in pregnancy, unassisted birth, finding support after a C-Section, breech birth, the first few days with a newborn and 10 tips for an amazing postpartum.
Why this episode?
There are so many ways to prepare for birth and they often focus on the physical. Many childbirth classes teach us what is going to happen and about ways to manage discomfort, maybe we do prenatal yoga or pilates or perineal massage.
Those things are important but I really like the fact that this episode focuses more on preparing emotionally. Making sure you have time for yourself, space to think and that you create opportunities to do the things you love.
Who should listen to this episode?
Anyone who is pregnant, especially those with busy lives and it couldn’t hurt for your partner to listen too!
The host, Maryn Green, is a midwife and also has eight children. I think it’s fair to say that she has some experience to share.
I love that Maryn begins by saying that everyone is different and while some women will find that all of these steps will resonate with them, others will find that only a few do or even none.
That’s ok. There is no one size fits all for pregnancy and birth. Read, listen and take from it what works for you.
#1 – Feed your body
This one is simple but key.
Your body is doing some pretty amazing work and it needs a good base to work from.
There are plenty of resources out there to add to your own knowledge of foods that are beneficial during pregnancy.
#2 – Be in nature
Do your best to be out in nature as often as you can during your pregnancy.
Put your feet in the water, on the grass, in the mud.
It can be relaxing and with all the pregnancy hormones running wild, grounding.
“Just be with what is and what has been”
I love this. Feel the connection with nature and with all those women before you who have walked this path.
#3 – Learn about birth as much as YOU need to
There are so many resources and so much information around from so many different perspectives.
Find the ones that work for you. The ones that make you feel more, not less positive about your birthing journey.
#4 – Fifteen minutes of solitude
Take some time to quiet your mind and connect with your baby.
When you are busy or have small children this can be tough. But it’s important.
Tip – you can combine this with your nature time or even, as Maryn has done, lock yourself in the bathroom!
#5 – Dream, journal, pray
Write down your fears, your emotions, your dreams.
Pray, sing, dance. Do whatever it is that connects you to something bigger than yourself, whatever that might be for you.
I think Maryn has a really good point that this can be important during pregnancy, especially looking ahead to birth. To feel that you are a part of a bigger picture and of all that has been before.
For some, this may feel a little ‘out there’ but again, just take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
These are all ideas that you can mould into something that fits you and your life.
Nothing is set in stone.
#6 – Release that oxytocin
Do things that make you happy. Be with people that you love. Relax.
These are all ways to release the ‘love hormone’ and to leave less room for stress.
#7 – Spend time with your partner – alone
Again, with our busy lives, this isn’t always easy but if you are going to birth together and parent together you need to start with a solid foundation.
If you don’t have a partner talk to your mum or hang out with your best friend.
Talking through any conflicts, even small ones, is essential before labour and birth. Unresolved issues can have a negative impact on labour so use this time to talk and share your feelings.
#8 – Do your work
Face your fears, your emotions, your traumas.
If you don’t, you could find that these surface and act as a blockage to a smooth, progressive labour and birth.
The tools you choose to help you work through these things will depend on you but, Maryn points out, feeling and acknowledging them is the first step.
#9 – Visualise your birth
No, we don’t have total control over birth. But, our minds are powerful and what we envision for our labour and birth can play a role.
It is fairly accepted that there is power in positive thinking and there is no reason that this should be different for birth.
Spend some time each day, maybe as part of your alone or nature time, and visualise the birth that you want. If you can, Maryn says, even try to feel it.
#10 – Reduce negativity, invite positivity
Protect yourself from all those negative birth stories and comments.
That doesn’t mean you have to avoid certain people but you can politely ask them not to share their negative stories.
Invite positivity into your life.
To wrap up
I think these ten ideas are wonderful ways to focus on your emotional well-being during pregnancy and to look ahead to a positive birth.
Not all of them will work for you. Take those that do and tweak or leave those that don’t.
I believe that many of these steps could be beneficial after your baby arrives too.
I would love to hear from you about the ways you found to focus on your own well-being during pregnancy.
Drop me a comment and let me know what you did to relax and invite joy and oxytocin in and how you worked to keep stress and negativity to a minimum.
Episodes on a similar topic
Fear Free Childbirth – Essential Steps of Birth Preparation
Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.