Taking Back Birth – When Will It Happen? Staying Present During The Weeks Before Birth
Why this podcast?
This week’s podcast, Taking Back Birth, is part of the amazing Indie Birth website which provides fantastic pregnancy and birth resources.
“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.”
This is not the first time I have featured this podcast nor shared this wonderful message from the Indie Birth homepage. It resonates so much with me and I really encourage you to go and explore both the podcast and the rest of the website.
How does it look?
Episodes tend to last for forty-five minutes to an hour or so and have covered birth stories; dealing with depression and anxiety; fast labours; getting real about the postpartum; how your uterus practices for birth; getting to know the new you postpartum; releasing anxiety in pregnancy and 10 tips for an amazing postpartum.
Why this episode?
Most of us know that our babies will come when they are ready and that, the vast majority of the time, it is best to let them choose the day. Still, knowing that doesn’t mean you don’t start to wonder when that day might be.
Especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy, you might be feeling excited and slightly nervous about the birth as well as just really looking forward to finally getting to meet and hold your baby.
The final weeks can be such a special time and the more present we can stay the more we can savour those moments of having our baby tucked away inside.
Who should listen to this episode?
Anyone who is getting towards their birth time.
The host, Maryn Green, opens the episode by sharing that she is currently thirty-eight weeks pregnant so she’s not just talking the talk, she’s definitely walking the walk! I love that she says that she’s not sure she will have the focus to be able to follow the outline she has made for this episode.
I should probably mention that this episode is simply Maryn talking to us, the listeners, sharing her thoughts, feelings and experience. It is not an interview, there are no guests and it is fairly free flowing but I quite like that. It feels intimate and personal like she is sharing her story just with me.
As a trigger warning, I want to share that Maryn talks a little about her previous pregnancy and birth experience when she knew she would be giving birth to a baby who was no longer living. It doesn’t come up a lot during the episode but if this is not the time for you to hear it you might want to come back to this one.
I am going to try and preserve that open, intimate feeling by sharing certain aspects of this episode that stood out for me rather than trying to give it too much of a structure.
What goes through your mind during those last weeks?
As a midwife and a mother of (now) eight children, Maryn has a lot of birth experience so I found it super refreshing that she was open enough to say that she is definitely obsessing over the ‘when’.
At the same time, she questions why we can’t just be in the moment and enjoy the now.
But, for many of us, questions such as How will my labour go? and Just who is this baby? may well run through our minds. I love that Maryn compares this time to Christmas, there’s that same feeling of excitement mixed with anticipation. Except, of course, you know which day Christmas will arrive!
An actual, real person!
Maryn mentions something that I’ve thought about so many times and that’s that there is a real person living inside you! Right at the end of your pregnancy, you have a tiny person who is fully able to function outside of your body living on the inside.
Once they come out they are not going to look that much different to how they look right now. You’ll just be able to see them.
That’s quite something to get your head around and, if you let that idea sit a while, really pretty amazing.
Soon, all of those movements you have been feeling on the inside will be performed by your baby on the outside. Wow!
Take this time to savour feeling all of those things your baby is doing inside your belly.
Everything will change
Once your baby arrives so much is going to change. Your body will be different, you can eat differently, your life will look different and you will have a whole new focus. Maryn says she feels this time has a certain bittersweet quality and I totally agree.
Whether it’s your first baby and you will miss your bump and having him or her all to yourself or if you have an older child who will soon have to share you, try not to wish away those final weeks and days before everything shifts.
Use your time to prepare
Make some food that you can freeze and use after the baby arrives. Stock up on healthy, easy snacks. Line up some help for the postpartum. Think about what you might need and prepare as much as you can now.
If there are specific things you need to prepare for your birth, especially if you are planning a home birth, you could use this time to get that done too.
Signs and calculations
As we get nearer and nearer to our guess date we tend to look for little signs that our babies might soon be on the way. We might try and calculate that a plus b might mean c.
Maryn shares that right now she is feeling heavier and having a handful of contractions every day. However, she feels that her baby is not going to arrive imminently. I love that she describes labour as a process rather than an event and that she underlines that even though you might not notice it, your body is preparing, little by little, for the day of your baby’s birth.
Rather than being frustrated that those few surges don’t become full blown labour, Maryn welcomes them in the knowledge that her body and her baby are slowly but surely preparing. I love that.
To wrap up
Maryn shares some more about what she is experiencing during her last few weeks of pregnancy and how she is trying not to read too much into anything.
Those last few weeks can be tough, even when you are feeling pretty good, but try to focus on something wonderful each day, get something done, go for a walk, whatever helps you to stay mindful and enjoy these last moments of pregnancy.
Try not to wait. Your baby is coming and they really do know the best time to do it.
I wish you a beautiful birth!
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.