If you’re reading this, chances are you’re pregnant or hoping to conceive. Perhaps you know exactly what sort of experience you’d like to have, whether that’s in a hospital, a birthing centre or at home. You might have written a precise birth plan, feel confident in your choices and supported by your chosen team. Or perhaps you’re trawling the internet with vague feelings of trepidation: haunted by the horror stories that others seem to delight in spruiking.
Pause. Inhale. Exhale.
I believe that wonderful birthing experiences don’t simply come down to luck. They often boil down to conscious, purposeful preparation and the right team of practitioners who work together to support your best outcome. Of course, even with the most assiduous intention setting and planning, things don’t always work out how you want them! No birth story is less than others. However, so many women I speak to have regrets about parts of their experience. I love connecting my clients to their options Giving everything a go means you know you tried; maybe an acupuncture session helps to turn a breech baby or a prescribed herbal concoction brings on a natural induction. As long as you try early enough, anything is possible.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding those who experience a positive and ‘painless’ birth and women often feel embarrassed sharing their story, for fear of judgement. Aren’t humans strange? I’m here to share my own positive birth journey and to shine a light on the options available to you. It’s no more right or wrong than others but it’s mine: one that I cherish and that I planned consciously. It was inspired by others and perhaps, it will inspire you.
My life’s purpose
I believe my purpose in life is to free people of pain by helping them become more emotionally aware and reconnect them with their own soul purpose. With so much information out there and a million pieces of contradictory advice online, I believe it’s more important than ever to find a trusted source of knowledge where you can lean into what feels right for you when it comes to pregnancy and birth. Not just what your grandma did, what your mum thinks or what your GP states.
Knowledge is power and the earlier you can gather all the resources available to you, the better equipped you will be.
I haven’t always led a holistically focussed life. Not so long ago, my friend and I decided that if we were to have children, we’d opt for a caesarean birth, in order to ‘preserve our vaginas’. I’ve worked in a pharmacy, delighting in dispensing ALL of the drugs and I’ve worked as a nail technician breathing in ALL of the fumes. As I furthered my study and knowledge of osteopathy, herbal medicine and alternative methods of healing, I realised the power of the mind and body connection and the infinite potential in shaping your experience in this lifetime.
One of my biggest drivers and beliefs is that the physical body is a manifestation of our emotional state. In our current society, we suppress a lot of emotions because we might be dealing with a lot of old conditioning. We often put our emotions to the side but it’s a sneaky bugger and can raise its head in different ways: coming up in birth, as an illness or as a physical injury that you just can’t get on top of. This is why my team and I always help our clients to assess and treat their emotional state as well as their physical body at my clinic, MetaMed. This is an important part of the pregnancy journey and I believe one that should begin before you decide to try and conceive.
One of the tools I use with every facet of my life, from my personal life to my professional, is setting intentions. When my husband and I decided to try and have a baby, we knew it was important to set the right foundations. I learnt about home birth and lotus birth from friends and knew before I’d fallen pregnant that this is how I wanted to welcome my little one into the world. I spent six months before trying to conceive working with a naturopath to get my gut microbiome right, after years of taking the contraceptive pill and antibiotics for my chronic acne. We now know the enormous impact the gut health has on everything, from our skin to our moods. We also know that our babies, who are born with sterile guts, receive their microbiome from their mamas during birth. I used prescribed herbs and made dietary changes to really help my intestinal flora and fauna flourish and give Violet the best start possible that I knew to give.
I set the intention of the birth I wanted and worked backward from there with the end goal in mind. My husband Gav and I wrote a detailed birth plan and gave copies to my parents, my friends and my midwife. I also wrote a letter to my parents, whose Melbourne home we were giving birth in, so they could understand my wishes and support us in our decisions. This proved a wonderful way to ensure we were on the same page. Our midwife also spoke with my parents – a sonographer and a nurse and ex-midwife – to allay their limiting beliefs and fears about our choices and this really helped. We also wrote down everything that we wanted and did not want should we have to go to a hospital or even have a c-section. This was important to maintain that sense of empowerment.
I fell pregnant easily and had an uncomplicated pregnancy, continuing activities that felt right for me. I continued going to the sauna in early pregnancy, simply modifying the duration. I hiked to 5,200 metres in Argentina at six weeks pregnant, skied in France at eight weeks, rock climbed till 16 weeks, continued hot yoga (low 30 degrees) till 27 weeks, skied till 33 weeks and did a mini-alpine climb at 34 weeks, camping overnight in the snow. I tried to look for other pregnant women out there who had healthy pregnancies and babies who had been to some altitude, climbed and been to the sauna but there was little out there. In the end, I did my research, tuned into my body and didn’t push myself if something felt off. I took responsibility for my choices which means understanding that these activities come with risk, but I was willing to accept those risks as I felt it worked for me. People certainly felt compelled to tell me their fears about the risk; one women even told me I could rupture the placenta if I fell over skiing!