Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a runner. I don’t feel the urge to pull on my trainers and go for a jog, but I do admire those who do. I understand that long distance runners think about taking one step at a time in order to achieve their goals. This is exactly what I teach you to do for your birth.
“Helping you to have a more positive birth one step at a time”
I remind each couple that each surge is a step closer to holding their baby. I encourage them to visualise themselves holding their baby and taking steps towards the end goal: the birth.
I use running a marathon as a comparison to labour during the courses I teach. They are both a challenging test of endurance and mental strength in addition to physical exertion.
You can’t run a marathon without training and preparing for it for some time before hand. Or rather, it’s not a good idea to, but plenty have given it a go! Building up those miles each week, preparing mentally as well as physically for the task ahead, eating the right foods, wearing the right clothing, hydrating and thinking positively about getting over the finish line, 26 and a half miles later, are all key to good preparation. Perhaps reading up about good running techniques, joining a running club and finding like-minded people to train with are also considered?
So, compare it to labour; why not train for it? Why not attend a Birth Preparation and Hypnobirthing class where you and your birthing partner will begin to prepare for your birth mentally? Find out what will happen to your body and how you can ensure the best way of coping physically as well as mentally? Begin to train yourself to deal with the challenge in order to feel most prepared at the start line? And, potentially feeling much better at the finish line too?
Completing a marathon requires a positive mental attitude in order to reach that finish line. Labour’s finish line is to birth your baby, safely and positively. By ‘training’ for your baby’s birth, you’ll be prepared, mentally and physically.
Much of Hypnobirthing requires practise. You have to regularly listen to the relaxation tracks and train yourself to relax while at home. You’ll also need to practise the positions for labour and consider what I teach you about choices surrounding birthing your baby.
Early labour tends to be like the first 6 or 7 miles of a marathon, getting into your stride, finding your rhythm, managing comfortably. For the next 15 miles, imagine active labour. It might not be easy, but you can tell yourself you’ve got this, and you keep going at a steady pace, keeping hydrated and refuelled. The 2nd stage of labour is comparable to the final miles, edging closer to that finish line. Many athletes speak of hitting ‘the brick wall’ and saying they’ve nothing left. For some women, this is the transition between labour and full dilatation, the part when maybe they doubt themselves and need reminding by those around them, “You can do it; you are amazing; you are strong, and you can birth your baby. Those last few miles are the last few surges pushing the baby down and out into your arms.
Inspiration for this blog came from Kathrine Switzer. In 1967, she became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry. When told she wouldn’t be able to do it, she proved them wrong.
As women, we can do anything we put our minds to, we are amazing, determined, unique, and strong. We need reminding of that.