Updated: Apr 23
How come some people move through labor smoothly softening the cervix and opening up, while thers come to a halt, cervix firm and closed. The answer to this will differ for each individual because we have unique physiologies and anatomy as well as diverse lifestyles, stress levels, coping strategies, memories, and beliefs that all play a role the chemicals released that affect labor progression. I'm not going to get into all the hormones here, but I'll let you in on 5 major beliefs that put a halt to your labor process and why.
1. Thinking this birth will be like another birth.
As no two snowflakes are alike, no two births are the same and that goes for each birth experience between people and for one person. My children were born merely 16 months apart, and they weren't identical. Don't believe me? A patient of mine had 9 vaginal births and she reports each was its own unique experience.
Your body remembers what it went through the first time which can benefit you because it remembers how to stretch and open. However, if you had a traumatic experience the first time, your brain holds onto that memory which, if not worked through, can stall your labor. I advise you working through past trauma prior to your next birth so your body can feel safe through the next experience.
I advise you move into this birth with a child's mind or a curious mindset. A child enters each scenario as if it's brand new to them and therefore, hold no biases or expectations. A mind free of expectations is able to go with the flow of whatever comes its way. In this case, ignorance is bliss and works in your favor.
2. Thinking your birth plan is carved in stone.
Having a plan is nice. It gives you a roadmap to follow, but what if the road has a detour? Do you barge through the barrier or take the alternate route to get to your destination? You take the advise of the road sign and go the longer way to town. Be aware that some detours have more than one route to your destination. Keep you eye on the destination, and breath through the journey to stay calm through the windy unknown road. The calmness and breath will help guide you smoothly even if the route changes. Frustration and fear of a new direction gives your brain the message to produce hormones such as adrenaline to slow the progression of your labor. However, calmness and open mindedness gives you brain the signal to produce endorphins for natural pain relief.
3. Wishing to follow a time line.
Your birth will unfold as it should, some are quick and fiery and some are slow. Doctors or hospitals may have time frames for birth lengths based on hospital support staff availability or other general guidelines and policies they have in place. It doesn't necessarily mean the safety of the patient is compromised. A support person such as a doula can be very helpful through the birth to advocate for you and calm unpleasant feelings of impatience.
4. Striving for a perfect birth.
What does that even mean? Perfect birth? There is nothing to achieve but to be present in the moment of birth and allow your body to do its thing. Perfection is just procrastination in disguise and procrastination is a form of stalling, so lay off the perfection talk. It has no place here in childbirth or your life.
5. Fearing what might happen.
The more we fear, the more we resist emotionally, physically and mentally. Resistance to the unknown causes suffering. As humans our beautiful brain is wired and to move through past, present and future which allows us to plan, prepare, remember, adapt and advance (all good things). However, it also allows us to create pictures of the future and how an event will pan out. If you create fearful scenarios in your head, your stress and anxiety levels rise. This give your brain the warning to run and hide for safety. This also tells it, not isn't an optimal time to birth a baby.
It's important to let go of the uncontrollable unknown and remain in the now. Fearing the future takes you out of the present moment and into unknown tomorrow land. We don't know what will happen, so why try creating the birth story's ending. Continue to bring your mind back in the now and focus on what you must allow your body to do at this singular moment without worry of what may be.
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