Many of the couples I've taught childbirth classes to - especially those expecting their first child - experienced high levels of anxiety and fear when talking about the specifics of childbirth. Some of them were misinformed, some of them were afraid, all of them wanted the best childbirth experience possible, of course!
The journey to ease their discomfort around childbirth was long and confusing at times, but totally worth it. Most of them had fantastic childbirth experiences, although some didn't. Those who did, claimed that for them, education was the key. Knowing the ABC's of childbirth helped them to develop the confidence and strength needed to go through such an intense experience, while still being able to state their preferences and, when needed, to fight for them.
Childbirth education for expectant parents should start early in pregnancy rather than later, because the journey matters.
Expectant parents might benefit greatly from knowing what childbirth is about before giving birth. Going blind into an experience like childbirth could be frightening, exhausting and even disappointing. When we don't know, we fear, when we fear, we make the wrong decisions.
Studying, learning, researching, asking questions ahead of time is the key to be prepared, because when you are prepared, you feel confident. The truth is, we are never prepared for the unknown, but we can always be a step ahead of ignorance, and that is already a huge win.
What else can be done to help new families to start their childbirth journey with more confidence and less fear? How can we change the view of childbirth as that horrible painful thing that happens to women, to a beautiful journey that trusts women's abilities to give birth?
In my opinion, this work starts at home, opening up the conversation about childbirth with our own children, from an early age.
Childbirth education should start way before pregnancy, and should begin at home!
Talk to your child about childbirth in a positive way from an early age, your child will most likely grow up believing that childbirth is not only normal, but beautiful and empowering. Think about how you want your child to experience childbirth when his/her time arrives, the best time to start that trusting journey is now.
Tell your child positive and empowering childbirth stories, even if you didn't have one. Education wins over fear. Imagine the power of learning and talking about women's ability to give birth with a young mind! Use that opportunity to change the world of childbirth.
Childbirth is a normal, wonderful event in life and not an illness, treat it as such. Giving birth is the closest you'll get to being human, don't fear it, embrace it!
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