Empowered by Birth: How my child’s birth was an opportunity to become sovereign in my body
I thought that birth is a private and natural experience.
And I did everything I could to offer myself this experience in the best possible way.
Then I chose my body and intuition to be my guides.
And this made my experience truly powerful.
Finally I realized that there is nothing to do apart from allowing this miracle to unfold.
... and give into it.
This is the story of my child's birth.
My daughter was born in August 2020. During my 9 months of pregnancy I was very much focused on each and every stage of it. I was in a journey where I was intending to understand and immerse myself into, physically, emotionally and mentally, and I was in a constant endeavor to be informed.
My health journey during those 9 months where my baby girl was inside my womb was quite profound. My whole body and its needs rapidly changed. My emotions alongside hormonal changes were intensified. I could feel that I was entering a new reality, one that I would never imagine. Many times I was feeling overwhelmed, but at the same time I was learning to accept how pregnancy could guide me into a different way of being.
The 1st trimester was all about adjusting, accepting the changes in my body and surrendering to those changes. Intense nausea and sickness were part of my everyday life. I started researching on the different facets of pregnancy and childbirth. I felt the importance of being informed regarding birth, choosing the proper health providers and and gathering all the perinatal aspects that are crucial for the health and safety of mother and child. On the one hand knowing my options based on the country I am giving birth was of great importance. On the other hand preparing myself on the complications that may occur and how local health providers can respond to those, plus how my needs or expectations could met from what is available in my country was crucial in order to have a decent experience.
These questions was a starting point in order to make choices from what was available for me : How do I want to give birth, where do I want to give birth, and whom I want to have with me during my childbirth?
My previous experiences with doctors, alongside percentages and evidence found in research and other sources or people’s stories regarding the way that many childbirths take place in Cyprus, made me consider and contemplate on the experience I want to have during my pregnancy and during my childbirth very seriously. This was my first calling, to become aware of the possibilities and to be informed about my perinatal options.
My experience during the first months of my pregnancy, which was formed with frequent visits at the hospital or the gynecologist’s office for numerous check ups, ultrasounds and the routine/protocols I was asked to do without being asked or given any alternatives, was something that did not resonate with me at all. Soon after I realized that I wanted to experience my pregnancy in a totally different way and therefore I chose to do only what was truly necessary for me and most importantly avoid doing actions without the need to explain myself.
Hospitals, gynecologists and health providers were informing me at every visit for the plethora of routines and protocols that had no end. Many times I felt I needed a break from all that, or I was hoping for an alternative. What made me more determined to change my choices was my experience with an obstetrician where their suggestion or “prescription” of how to treat my nausea caused me further imbalances in the physical, mental and emotional level. At this point I took the control of my experience and I decided to choose for myself. My attitude towards prescriptions is as if they are options that I can take or reject. And this was my second calling, to reclaim control over my condition, health, wellbeing and experience.
Long story short, a few mistakes by doctors to suggest routines that didn’t work for me and caused me more harm than good, the business-like strategy of clinics to impose their protocols on me and the manipulative behavior of health providers to make me choose what was easier for them instead of choosing what is the best for me, finalized my decisions around my perinatal experience and made me focus diligently in order to bring into reality what I dreamt of and how I was envisioning my pregnancy and childbirth.
Before giving birth and for the rest of my pregnancy I decided to spend my time mostly at home and in nature, resting, meditating, reading, and doing my prenatal yoga. I cancelled the frequent visits at the gynecologist and perform only the most necessary routines if needed. In the meanwhile I have chosen a different gynecologist, someone who can respect who I am without criticism or blame. Therefore I decided to inform my new doctor about my wishes and I received full respect in return. That made me feel empowered and rewarded, for taking a decision for myself and my baby while being supported by my health provider. It was a win situation where I had no more negative reactions or having to fight with authority figures who used to make me feel guilty or wrong for choosing to express my truth or ask for what I own. I felt I won this first battle which was about giving myself the freedom to choose what I think is best for me.
From the very beginning of my pregnancy I strongly knew that I wanted to experience a natural birth with no medical interventions, where I have the control of what is happening to me. I wanted to have the privacy, safety and protection I needed at all times. For me birth is a natural and spiritual experience, where medical surroundings or interventions have no place unless truly necessary for the safety of the mother and the child. I dreamt of a room with candles, the sound of my favorite mantra and the presence of the people I want, those who will make me feel safe. Communicating my wants and don't wants to the health providers I have chosen was important for me because it is my birth and therefore I own my experience.
I knew that my body can deliver my child without the need for a medical intervention, and this was felt as my weapon towards the imposed fear I could see and feel in the energy of many health providers I have met in my life. After it was confirmed that my pregnancy was not indicating any high risk I decided to give birth without the presence of a doctor. I have chosen to give birth in the Natural Birth Room of the Limassol General Hospital, a midwife led sector that supports natural birth or at least has the intention to help pregnant people to give birth naturally. I was prepared to allow medical interventions only if my condition was allowing them as necessary.
In this room I was provided with a friendly environment for birth that didn't look like any hospital room. It was spacious, inspiring, warm and the facilities were offering several options for birthing positions. The natural birth room was also giving a feeling of comfort, hospitality and ease. The birthing pool and several more birthing tools were available, alongside the opportunity for an immediate medical response if needed. The fact that a doctor was in the building was making me and my health providers feel comfortable and safe, that in case of an emergency, I would be taken care of.
Prevention is always good, and to be prepared for all possibilities. Personally this setting alongside the trust I had in my body enabled me to fully relax and surrender during the process of birth. Knowing that the doctor is inside the building was enough for me, hoping that no complication will rise and therefore the doctor’s presence or intervention won’t be necessary. Not because I am afraid of doctors or because I see doctors as bad figures, but because I do feel that giving birth is or can be the most natural phenomenon that can take place with total ease and the absence of fear.
From my personal perception as someone who have been through this whole process mindfully and while being fully aware and informed about all aspects, I see the presence of an obstetricians unnecessary in birth. Gynecologists are trained to be able to intervene when danger or complication occurs and therefore they should have no place to a process where the body of the birthing person is giving birth to a child on its own. If doctors can see the power that exists within birthing people, then they should emphasize that and try to keep their interventions as minimal as possible instead. Only then they will understand that they can assist women in so many other ways, but not necessarily in childbirth, unless it is something they love to witness with hands off.
For me birth is a very private and a very natural experience. Giving birth with my husband next to me and the doula I have chosen was essential for me. In this place it was not possible to choose the midwife I wanted, therefore the midwife who accompanied my birth was the one who had happen to work during that day and time. I arrived at the hospital with my husband and my doula and after some processes I finally arrived in this room and entered the birthing pool.
My husband put the music I chosen and my doula lighted up the candles. Everything felt magical. The water was soothing and the energy in the room was just beautiful. After some time I informed the midwife that my body is pushing the baby out. I was fully dilated at that moment. When this was confirmed by the midwife suddenly the energy in the room changed. With the corner of my eye I could see another midwife joining, both of them getting ready for the birth of my baby.
Suddenly the midwife came next to me and asked me to get out of the water. I was surprised but I stayed focused. I rejected her calling. She spend several minutes trying to convince me to get out and move to the bed. I said no, I explained even though I didn't want to talk or go out of my zone at that moment. When she realized that I will not leave the birth pool she stopped insisting, but she made several adjustments to help herself do the only job she knows, that were effecting me in several ways.
Although it felt as someone was intervening to my wish to truly immerse myself into the mystery of birth I did not loose any control or hope for it. I stayed focused and I did what was best for me at that moment. I listened to my instinct and intuition and I felt that myself and my child's birth was beyond and above anything else that was happening at that moment. With my will power expressed, the midwife had no other choice but to allow me to make my own choice. And this was another battle I won. The only guidance I allowed to be there for me was my body and my intuition. I felt that I knew better than anybody what was best for me and my baby to do, or actually how to be…Because there is nothing to do apart from allowing this miracle to happen. And even if different kinds of interventions come to interact with that, connecting to the voyage of a Soul and its arrival in this world is beyond anything. And I chose to be connected to that. When my baby was born I felt I went into another world and I immediately returned into that moment when I felt her first cry.
I felt so powerful just by choosing to be in myself and making my own decisions during birthing my baby. I felt truly empowered not only because I rejected several aspects that were not resonating with me but also because when some form of intervention was there, I was still in my own power. And this was a great lesson and experience for me, to feel my power no matter what, even at times where something goes against you or forces you out of your way. I am glad I have chosen to honor my body, my child, our birth.
And this is exactly how things shifted for ever. I experienced an empowered birth that I will always remember. Following my body urges, and allowing my instinct and intuition to guide us all with determination and certainty was a win for everyone. Because at the end everyone was relieved for trusting the woman who was giving birth, for trusting the natural way of how a childbirth can unfold. This is how it should always be.
I hope that this can be a message for everyone who is reading this article: that fear or fear-based choices should have no room or space in a child’s birth, and that women can empower and can be empowered by each other while providing or being provided with what they truly need and not with what others think they need. No one can know better than your own body!
At the end my choices have been proved to be the right ones for me, and only through my intention to take decisions from a sovereign body gave me the courage to insist in giving birth my way. Can you imagine what would happen if I didn’t listen to the guidance of my body regarding which position I was more comfortable with during birth? Can you imagine how my body would feel in a position that I was not comfortable, even if some health providers prefer that position so that they can have access on me? Can you imagine how things would unfold if I was overwhelmed with fear and not being able to listen to my body’s urges? Our body knows how to give birth. This is the time for all birthing bodies and health providers to know this.
Part of my realization and conclusion is that sovereignty is something that can be empowered by an organized group of actions: informed decision is essential and it comes from evidence-based research and NOT outdated routine protocols performed by hospitals and health providers. This means that you may need to ask the same question from many sources and make your own research, especially regarding how things are applied in your location or what protocols exist there. This will navigate you through your decision and give you the opportunity to make the right plan that will accommodate your needs.
In addition, taking an informed decision is crucial especially when health providers are unable to give you alternatives and especially when what they provide or suggest is not beneficial or is harmful for you. Remember that no protocol is law and you have all the right to say no to any intervention. You have the freedom to make your own decisions and you have the right to receive informal communication from your health provider, always with respect towards your need to be informed and/or reject any medical requests. Please have in mind that you can report any kind of threatening or manipulative behavior upon your wish.
Body sovereignty is your birthright and nobody can take it away from you. This was my reminder that moved me further every time I was experiencing resistance regarding my choices from any entity within the medical system.
My pregnancy and childbirth was partially an experience that gave me the opportunity to feel empowered and stand for the things I truly believe, while listening to my body. It was an enlightened journey where trusting my body urges to express and communicate what it needs, instead of obeying to protocols that could have caused me physical, mental and emotional distress.
Going back to this experience and recalling all memories I feel truly thankful knowing that I have chosen what was aligned with who I am, even if this was not fully supported, or even if I had to negotiate my own rights as a woman and as a mother who has 100% the right to experience the blessing of giving birth naturally and free from all interventions.
I hope that my sovereign nature and experience can empower others through this miracle of birth.
Thank you for reading,
and remember that everything you seek lies within your Self.
Heart to Heart,
© Christina Georgiou