This past spring I had the pleasure of teaching a group of women at a DONA Birth Doula Workshop in New York City. One doula said “What you don’t know CAN hurt you!” so I asked her what she meant…. This doula, Emma, and her husband, Zaheer, share what they know now after experiencing childbirth plus what they wish they had known….
What you didn’t know about childbirth that you wish you did…
Emma: I wish that before I had a hospital birth that someone, anyone told me that I would go from pregnant woman to patient as soon as I walked into the hospital and to bring an educated support team to reassure me and re-introduce the emotional and spiritual aspects of birth. Also, I wish I had know that adding one intervention increases the chance that you’ll have more introduced later in the birth.
Zaheer: I wish I did more research before so I knew what was best for my wife, not best for the hospital staff.
How did not knowing change yours or a friends/clients birth?
Emma: My birth was riddled with interventions that I had heard about and wanted to avoid (pitocin induction, artificial rupture of membranes, epidural, more pitocin, and episiotomy.)
What would you do differently now that you know?
Emma: I was able to have that chance after becoming pregnant a second time. I did my research on the natural birth process, followed through on the advice and instructions I found, and gathered a support team consisting of my midwife, doula, and husband. I was able to achieve an undisturbed and inspiring home birth that was everything my uninformed hospital birth was not.
Zaheer: I would find a healthcare provider who suites our needs.
Any wisdom you would pass along to expectant parents?
Emma: Exactly that- What you don’t know in childbirth CAN hurt you. Stay informed, know your rights, and listen to your intuition. You’re body is yours. It is a vessel for yourself and for the little life growing inside you. Once you start tailoring your birth preferences to fit into your lifestyle, you will find the information that’s right for you to make the choices that will impact your experience as a birthing woman.
Zaheer: In other words, know what you’re getting into!!
Emma Farouk is an Integrative Health Coaching and Labor Doula at HealthyMama HappyBaby.