Guest blog by Thais Nye Derich, author of Second Chance: A Mother’s Quest for a Natural Birth after a Cesarean.
When I started planning to have a natural birth after delivering my first son via cesarean, I was up against a lot of backlash due to the increased perceived risk of a natural birth after a C-Section. Meditation and visualization kept me centered and strong in my conviction to birth my second child the way that I wanted. For me, giving birth naturally meant more than just avoiding a painful and unnecessary surgery. It meant being empowered to make informed decisions about my pregnancy. It meant honest communication between my maternity care team and myself. Most of all, it meant listening to my instincts, and learning trust in my own body.
Here are a few tips on how to incorporate positive thinking, visualization, meditation, and external support into your pregnancy to help you achieve a birth experience that’s right for you:
1. Release Painful Experiences from the Past
The world is hard and we are sensitive people. I had to learn how to release some of the pain from my life, so I wrote “I forgive you” letters to my mother who left my brother, sister, and me when I was four. I had no idea that I had carried such sad feelings about this time in my life until I had children of my own. Letting go of these negative feelings helped me during my natural birth by taking me out of the victim mentality and into a position of empowerment, as explained in a post by Circle + Bloom’s founder, Joanne Verkuilen.
2. Join a Women’s Circle
There’s nothing like being supported by other women, especially during pregnancy. Women’s Circles are…a group of six women that come together on a weekly or monthly basis to share, listen, and support each other. One of the activities we did together was weave yarn around our wrists. We all wrapped the handmade yarn around our wrists and then passed the bundle over the center of the circle to make a web between us. Passing the scissors, we cut the yarn to fit around our wrists. Each woman helped her sister next to her tie a knot in the yarn. The idea is that the energy cultivated in this circle is held in the bracelets, and we can draw from that energy.
3. Practice Visualization
When you visualize, you believe, and when you believe, your body listens. During my natural birth, I repeated over and over, “I am. I am.” I thought of my friends in my woman’s circle who were wearing the brown, hand-woven yarn in solidarity with me. I envisioned breathing in the energy around me. I visualized the air turning a bright, yellowish-orange when I inhaled it, and again when I breathed it out.. I visualized the yellowish orange glow encircling me in a beautiful circle of light. Breathing deeply through my nose and then back out again along the back of my throat helped me to relax and stop shaking, which ultimately helped relieve me from the intense pain and discomfort of labor without the use of drugs.
Thais Nye Derich’s new memoir—Second Chance: A Mother’s Quest for a Natural Birth after a Cesarean (She Writes Press, May 9, 2017)—tells a powerful story about her traumatic hospital delivery, and her decision post-cesarean to give birth naturally. Derich’s past work has been published in Salon, Literary Mama, Wild Violet Literary Magazine, Forge Journal, SFGate, and The San Francisco Examiner. A chapter of Second Chance was a finalist for the Creative Non-Fiction Magazine’s Baby Anthology.
Thais lives just north of San Francisco in Marin County with her husband and two sons. She’s currently writing her second book – a postapocalyptic novel about the last baby girl on earth.