GaGA! Growing and Getting Awesome… the Official Loving the Pregnant You Blog

What’s the “strength” you’re bringing to labor and delivery?

pregnant_strengthMany pregnant women worry about how labor and delivery will be and how THEY will be during that labor and delivery. It can seem like an intense situation where it’ll be easy for you to be thrown off of “your game.”

I ask women: What strengths might you be able to leverage during your pregnancy? What are you good at?

Whatever your innate strengths are, you can find a way to leverage them to help you enjoy your delivery process to the best of your ability and to know that you’re being YOU during labor.

If you know yourself to be a calm person or a person who’s great at planning or a person who can act like a crazy, screaming maniac and then easily forgive yourself or a person with high pain tolerance or a person who gets it done when it’s really important or a person who likes to be the center of attention or a person who can bring the funny into intense situations or a person who is very in tune with her body – capitalize on this. Find your strengths and exploit them. See how you can bring your unique abilities to the experience and create what best works for you.

Here’s how some women have capitalized on their strengths and focused on what they wanted, and thus had a self-affirming experience.

Katie was loud and assertive. She was never afraid to voice her opinion. She was able to unapologetically let the hospital staff know when she wanted more ice chips, when she wanted to get up and walk around, and when she thought there were too many people in the room. As she told me about her birth, she clearly didn’t feel sheepish about making her desires known in the moment. She was proud that she asked for what she wanted and had gotten everything she requested along the way. She figured that when you’re the one in the room pushing a baby out of your vagina, you should get whatever your heart desires!

Marta had always known herself as someone who was great at listening to her body. She’d get messages from her body about when it was time to rest, eat some red meat, treat herself to a massage, etc. She loved and appreciated this trait about herself. When she was pregnant, she didn’t know how her body would respond to labor and delivery. Yet, she also knew with certainty that she didn’t have to prepare or worry ahead of time. She felt confident she’d just be able to tune in, in the moment, and know what her body wanted and needed. This assurance allowed Marta to feel peaceful and present during the birth of her daughter.

Vanessa had a great sense of humor and was proud of the fact that she could easily laugh at herself. She knew she wanted to bring some lightness and humor to the hospital delivery room to help keep her and her husband calm. She wanted to enjoy the experience and have it be fun.

At one point during her delivery, her son went into distress. To help alleviate the pressure on her baby, the doctor suggested that Vanessa get on all fours and allow her stomach to hang in the air. Her husband was in the bathroom when Vanessa made the move to this new position, and her feet and her butt were facing the bathroom door. Her humor kicked in when she thought about what her husband would see as he emerged. When she heard the door open, she looked back and demanded, “How’s that view?” They laughed at the time and continue to laugh about it today. Vanessa was convinced her lightheartedness and humor kept her, her baby, and her husband relaxed and positive throughout the process.

Julia knew she was strong and flexible. No matter what physical challenge she decided to take on, she succeeded. She’d never given birth before, yet she had an inner knowing that she could do this. She reminded herself of the obstacles her body had overcome in the past: muscle sprains, broken bones, fatigue. She’d been able to work through them all. It was difficult at times to relate to herself as fit and able-bodied as her thighs grew and she felt out of breath after minimal exertion. Yet, she remembered how she had doubted herself in the past and how her body had always come through. Julia continued to focus on the strength and resilience she knew her body had and how proud she’d be when she held her baby in her arms.

So what about for you? What strengths and personal traits will you leverage during delivery?

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