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.
As you already know from my previous posts, my daughter was born in August. During my 9 months of pregnancy I was very much focused on the stages of my pregnancy and therefore I was withdrawn from any means of internet exposure. I was in a journey where on the one hand I was trying to understand and/or immerse into this phase (physically, emotionally and mentally) and on the other hand I was in a constant endeavor to be informed. These are the main reasons why you haven’t seen any article or post in my blog during those 9 months.
My health journey during those 9 months where my baby girl was inside my belly was quite profound. My whole body and its needs rapidly changed. My emotions, alongside my hormones, were intensified, and I could feel many times that I was entering a new reality 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.
After the 1st trimester, which was fully spent by learning to accept the fact that I could do nothing else but feeling nauseated all day, I started researching on the different facets of pregnancy and then childbirth. The research I did made me understand the importance of being informed regarding birth, choosing your health provider and the perinatal aspects that are crucial for the health and safety of mother and child. Knowing my options based on the country I am giving birth, the complications that may occur and how local health providers can respond to those, plus my needs or expectations were extremely important in order to make 2 important questions: 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 my country, 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.
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 given to do without being informed or given any alternatives, was something that did not resonate with me at all. I wanted to experience my pregnancy in a totally different way. Later on I found out that from all these routines I could actually choose the most important ones to do and I could avoid some or many of them without the need to explain myself. This is my human right after all. Hospitals, gynecologists and health providers were informing me at every visit what is the next check up and when this should take place. 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 this was the incident where the suggestion or “prescription” of a doctor applied on me caused me some kind of physical, mental and emotional damage. And this happened twice, even though my intuition was telling me something else. At this point I took control and I decided that I should be the one who choose for myself. I can always see prescriptions as options that I can take or reject. And this was my second calling.
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 do 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 that I wanted to spend my time mostly at home and in nature, resting, meditating, reading, and doing my prenatal yoga. I chose not to do frequent visits at the gynecologist and perform only the most necessary routines if needed. In the meanwhile I changed my gynecologist and I chose 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 for my decisions. That made me feel empowered and rewarded, for taking a decision for myself and my baby while being supporter 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.
From the very beginning of my pregnancy I strongly knew that I want to experience a fully natural birth with no medical interventions, where I have the control of what is happening to me from external factors. Therefore I chose to have an experience where I 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. I dreamt of a room with candles, the sound of my favorite mantra and the presence of people who will make me feel safe. Communicating this to the health providers I have chosen and making it happen was another win for me.
I knew that my body can deliver my child without the need of a medical intervention, and this was felt as my weapon. It was confirmed by the gynecologists that my pregnancy was not facing or indicating any high risk and therefore I decided to give birth without a doctor but with the presence of a midwife alongside zero medical interventions unless my condition proofs the opposite.
Therefore I gave birth in a midwife-led natural birth room inside the hospital, where I was provided with everything I needed: a natural environment for birth, a spacious room with a birthing pool and several more birthing tools, and 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 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 but not necessary in my birth room 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 which can take place with ease, comfort and with no fear or danger.
If doctors can see the power that exists within a woman then they should emphasize that and try to keep their interventions as minimal as possible. Only then they will understand that they can assist women in so many other things but not necessarily during 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 and my doula next to me, and a midwife who had no other choice but to allow me to make my own choices was another battle I won. My only guidance 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. When I understood that first I tried to communicate it with the rest, and surrender to what was happening at that moment.
When my baby was born I felt I went into another world. The midwife with 2 caring hands took her and placed her on my chest. And I immediately returned into that moment, as if I woke up, this time with my baby in my embrace. Everybody was relieved, especially my health providers. They did not expect that I would step so powerfully into my own strength and make my own decisions during birthing my baby: I was choosing and changing my body postures whenever I wanted, I knew when I was fully dilated and when my body wanted to push the baby out, and most importantly I said NO to anything that I didn’t want, I rejected to be touched, I refused routines and protocols, advice or suggestions that I felt were not beneficial for me and my baby. And all that with no guilt, and without the need to explain myself.
And this is exactly how things shifted for ever. I experienced an empowered birth where I made my own choices: a natural birth with the presence of a beautiful team: a midwife that allowed me to be myself, my beautiful doula who knew exactly what to do and when and my beloved husband who was holding the space for me and for everyone. I felt empowered, and I felt my health providers empowered alongside me, just by seeing me choosing to follow my body urges, and allowing my instinct and intuition to guide me, and us all. Everyone was relieved for trusting the woman who was giving birth, for trusting the natural way of how a childbirth can unfold, for trusting me. This was a win for everyone.
I hope that this can be a message for everyone who experienced my childbirth and 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 what I truly believe. 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 women and health providers to know and to remember 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. That 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 is not beneficial or is even 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 in a daily basis, instead of following any protocol that can cause me physical, mental and emotional stress.
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 and my truth, even if this was not supported or understood or even judged by others, 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 interventions.
I am grateful that my sovereign nature was empowered and has empowered others through the miracle of birth.
Thank you for reading,
and remember that everything you seek lies within your Self.
Heart to Heart,
© Christina Georgiou