Conviction is Necessary for BirthOct 25, 2021
Long before I became pregnant I knew wanted a homebirth. As a doula, I had seen everything from hospital births to birthing centers, epidurals to unmedicated births. Through this first hand experience, I intuitively felt that the most perfect place for me and my baby was in the safety, privacy and comfort of my own home.
Those closest to me - my inner circle, and husband, my mom - all knew this was a very well thought out, deeply reflected on and powerful choice I was making. No one questioned it. They trusted me fully therefore making me feel backed, supported and solid in my decision.
My husband’s family, well, that’s another story. We knew they would be shocked to learn I wouldn’t be having my baby in a hospital - the place THEY believed was the best and what they’ve come to expect since coming to America decades ago. We definitely considered NOT telling them but because of my unwavering belief in myself and this choice, I wanted them to know. I had nothing to hide.
We did however wait until the VERY LAST MOMENT to share this with them, I didn’t want to subject myself to their fears and have it poison my relatively peaceful pregnancy.
I remember it so clearly. I was 38.5 weeks pregnant. We were hanging out in my sister-in-law’s home on her huge, black leather couch. She herself just had a baby and I was holding her month old daughter. I was feeling calm and centered and the warmth of my niece’s body nuzzled against my ever expanding belly. I couldn’t wait to become a mom and this moment was such a visceral experience, especially sniffing the sweet smell of newborn skin.
My husband started:
“Mom, Dad, we wanted to let you know Amanda is going to be giving birth at home.”
Pin drop silence. My heart started to race.
The look of sheer terror overcame their faces.
“What??!” A question of complete disbelief, as if they didn’t hear what was just said.
Their eyes grew wide, darting from him then to me.
What do you mean you’re giving birth at home?
And then the slue of fears, insulting comments, anger and frustration came at us in a flurry.
You are risking the life of your baby.
Only people who live in villages give birth at home.
What if your baby dies?
What if you need a forceps delivery? or a C-section?
The home is not a safe place to birth.
You are putting this baby in danger.
And on and on and on.
Though dismayed I wasn’t swayed. So I spoke up, letting them know that this was a very intentional decision, one that I felt was best for ME. I understood their fears and shared our many contingency plans if something were to happen. I reminded them of my career as a birth worker and tried to assuage their anxiety even though I knew nothing would change their minds.
The same way nothing would change mine.
As we left their house that night, I had a confluence of emotions. I felt feeling relieved that they knew, sad that they didn’t trust me, attacked for my choice and honestly, not surprised. We anticipated this would be their response but it was still utterly disappointing.
But guess what?
I am happy to say my daughter WAS born at home during a labor that lasted 70 hours. YES. Three long days of relentless contractions, lots of emotional breakdowns, incredible support from my team, a birthing tub, an acupuncture session, a dinner of India dosas, music and movement and meditation, mantras and prayers and ultimately a deep surrendering to the unfolding.
I would be lying to say that in laws weren’t freaked out - even my mom was too - that the birth was taking SO LONG. But here is where the conviction came in.
Not once did I fear for my life.
Or my baby’s life.
Not once did I doubt my choice.
Or want to transfer to a hospital.
Or do anything other than stay home and have my baby.
Not once did I beg for drugs.
Or for a doctor to cut me open.
Yes I was pushed to the edge and I never expected to be in labor for so long! But the whole time I checked in with myself and my intuition said this:
I am OKAY.
Baby is OKAY.
And here’s what I have come to understand and appreciate about CONVICTION.
It is an essential ingredient for making what you want to happen, happen ESPECIALLY when it comes to birth.
Without conviction I would be open to letting self-doubt, hesitancy and worry to creep in.
I would have been consumed by other people’s fears that were projected on to me, not just from my in laws but from those who don’t know birth and certainly didn’t trust it.
I needed conviction to stay on my path true to me, honoring my baby and making the choices that seem unconventional and to some, absolutely crazy - especially when things got difficult and exhausting,
It didn’t matter. For me, there was no other way.
So here are three ways for you to develop conviction around your birth choices - whatever they may be:
1 - Get Educated. If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any. Choosing where and how to give birth is the first step in deciding what you actually want. Weighs the risks and benefits of every single decision. These are some of the most important choices you will ever make. Don’t relay on anyone else to do it for you.
2 - Enlist a team. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and respect and honor your choices. There is SO MUCH fear around birth and pregnant women are bombarded with horror stories. Share with people who believe in you and your body’s ability to birth. Nothing strengthens conviction like those who want what you want for yourself.
3 - Develop your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical faculties. Regardless of how you birth, you need to be prepared for what’s to come. Not just for the actual labor and delivery but also for mothering too. Whether it’s working out, practicing yoga, connecting to God, visualizing your dream birth or using mantra, do whatever you need to do it become strong and centered on a mind, body and soul level.
The more you practice these three steps, the deeper conviction you can hold. This will help solidify the confidence, faith, feeling and the view that what you are choosing is the best for you and your baby because YOU are your best authority. Conviction is the certainty and surety that can only come from doing the deep inner work in order to find the unrelenting, unwavering belief and inner resolve in whatever choices you decide to make.