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From one mum to another … on stories about giving birth

Joanna Music

Like millions of women around the world in days gone by, I was overjoyed to fall pregnant. Absolutely besotted with the idea of becoming a parent – and incredibly impatient to hold my baby, tickle a little tummy, and kiss chubby little fingers.

But I was also in denial about my ability to deliver a baby. The idea of squeezing a baby out of my backside was ridiculous. It was impossible to comprehend that I was strong enough, flexible enough, focused enough. No: I could not understand that the divine natural phenomenon of growing a baby could also bring my baby out into the world. I was scared and inconsolable (and not much fun to be around as my due date approached). But with the best intentions, I went to birthing classes and learned how to meditate and hypno-birth. I did everything that a new mother could possibly do in preparation for a modern-society, obstetrician-assisted, private-hospital, birthing.

With the best possible intention for my baby’s health, I rushed the labour by agreeing to be induced when I was 40 weeks plus 2 days. In the hospital I meditated to relax my body yet I watched the clock and panicked that I was taking too long to dilate. I was, unknowingly, as tense as a clenched fist, and as the contractions continued I writhed in pain and gritted my teeth. After an 18-hour labour I requested a caesarean as I simply couldn’t see an end to the stress. (And of course, I was a first-world girl in a first-world hospital with access to the best of medical facilities… help was at hand.)

I loved the ceasarian. I was overjoyed when the epidural started to take effect and I could open my eyes to share the birthing experience with my husband. I was fascinated by the feeling of being cut open and handled by the obstetrician as he manoeuvred my baby out of my pelvis. I am teary now as I remember the wonder I felt as he raised my son, blue-skinned and wailing, above my face to show him to me. With awe I stared at his tiny, vulnerable, beautiful face as he desperately struggled, wriggled, tried to understand where he was. He was so fragile and scared. My obstetrician called me out of my shock when he gently said, ‘Joanna, you have a beautiful son, would you like to hold him?’ I held him as best as I could on my chest and I cried, kissed his forehead, told him how much I loved him and that he was safe. In less than a moment, this little human became the centre of my universe and my reason for living.

That was my first son, three years ago. I tried to have a vaginal birth, but I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to. Looking back I can see that I gave into fear during my pregnancy, and my husband, obstetrician and I all fed a negative belief that giving birth can be very dangerous to mother and child.

For my second pregnancy I was just as afraid, if not more afraid. But then I did some self exploration and more reading on hypno-birthing, midwifery and home-births, and I read many stories by other parents (with thanks to Ina-May Gaskin) on how they gave birth. My confidence grew.

My second birthing was an entirely different story. I have written about this experience and I invite you to read my story when my next book is published.

For a good cause, which I have explained below, I invite you to share your birth story, too.

December 2013 will see the release of a new and unique collection of birth stories, spanning over dozens of cultures and countries. Our collection will display the diversity in child-birth experiences and the strength of women around the world.

Our motivation to create this book: Some women look forward to child-birth and enjoy the experience immensely – wouldn’t it be great if we all could! But some women are afraid of child birth because of pain, difficulty, and concerns about their baby’s health. We have all heard women talk about their tense, stressful and complicated pregnancy and labour.

It is becoming commonly known that tension leading up to, and during the birth, can greatly affect a mother’s health and recovery. Anxiety about giving birth can contribute to post-natal depression.

But birthing a child can be the most incredible moment in a mother’s life too! Women can enjoy giving birth and don’t need to be afraid. As it did for me, on my second experience, reading about various parenting experiences can help expecting mums understand that women can actually LOVE giving birth.

This book will help women feel PROUD TO GIVE BIRTH.

Each mother has an inner strength that can INSPIRE other expecting mothers to feel positive.

Expecting mothers can create a happy birthing experience, absolutely!

Every woman has an incredible story to tell. Every story of every child born is beautiful.

You will be able to acquire a beautiful hard-copy of this book in December or download it online to read on Kindle or Ipad.

As well as having your story published you will go into the draw to win a hard cover copy (5 to give away) or a box of fresh seasonal produce delivered to your door.

Please share this post and re-post this link on your website. We want to reach as many women as possible.

Ideas for your story:

  • WHERE you had your baby and what it was like LIVING in your country at this time
  • The COMMON / EXPECTED WAY of having a baby in your community
  • How your labour and delivery progressed and how you FELT
  • How did your PERSONAL LIFE around that time INFLUENCE the WAY you had your baby
  • What did you ENJOY about your birthing experience? What made your experience SPECIAL

All stories, short OR long, are welcome (ideally no more than 3 pages). Your story does not need to be in English (we can translate). We will proofread your story and ensure it is high quality and appropriate reading material before publishing. We will publish first names only and will keep all other details of your identity anonymous.

Submissions Close: 12th November 2013
Draw Date for prizes: 25th November 2013

Each week we will announce the progress of our story collection. The winners of the draw will be contacted by email as well as being announced on Facebook.

Thank you for your support!

Recommended Links for Pregnant Women:

Birth Without Fear Blog

Ina May Gaskin Books

Little Hearts Books

Pregnancy and Newborn Photography, Gold Coast Australia

The Natural Parenting Magazine

Day by day we aim to repair our bodies and have trust, faith and optimism for the future. You can join me as I walk to wellness in the private facebook group Joanna Haley Homestead (Journey to Wellness)

Joanna Haley, Author

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