Giving birth is different for every woman. But Seema Jain Shah says in today’s world, more moms-to-be are led to believe that they can only bring their baby into the world in a hospital.
The occupational therapist says there can be another way without all the medical intervention. She is sharing her story about how she gave birth to her two daughters in the comfort of her own home.
Birthing at home was pure magic, a complete miracle. While I know how challenging birth can be for so many women, I am part of that group of women who birthed both of my children at home, in my room, on something familiar, warm, mine-my bed. It’s not for everyone, but it was the outcome I had hoped for.
My mother is the strongest women I know and she birthed all three of her children naturally. So when it came time for me to prepare for my delivery, I asked her for advice. “What’s there to think about,” she said. “You have contractions, you breath and you push the baby out.”
I hoped for a different answer.
Women all around the world were delivering babies naturally for thousands of years, but it felt like the odds of having a natural home delivery were against me. Living in the western world where birthing has been medicalized for decades meant that considering a home birth was going against what seemed like the norm. When I told people I wanted to give birth at home, I was met with shock, resistance and fear.
My preference to birth at home became a secret to avoid negative perceptions, perspectives and opinions.
Each of us are unique individuals with our own, physical, cognitive, spiritual, psychological and behavioural attributes that drive what we think, feel and how we act.
I knew I needed to support the different parts of me so that I could achieve what seemed like the impossible. I created my own multi-disciplinary healthcare team which consisted of a naturopathic doctor, two midwives, a spiritual acupuncturist, a doula and a massage therapist. These women were the ultimate teachers-preachers for growing a healthy baby and having a healthy pregnancy. I also took yoga classes to prepare my body for birth. I participated in hypnobirthing classes which taught me the power of visualization, internal dialogue and meditation. I spoke to other mothers who had positive birthing stories and I worked through any stress and fears around the baby, delivery and parenting that could have otherwise hindered my journey. And lastly, I spoke to the spiritual Gurus in my life for blessings and positive energy.
Through this journey, I learnt that by preparing my mind, body and soul for birth and by surrounding myself around a cheering squad of strong women who were all sending me the same positive message, I could do this. Despite the fears, the images from television, the horror stories, I started to believe that I really could do this.
I set realistic goals where my intention and focus were to birth at home, but I also gave myself permission to accept whatever birth unfolded. I was aware of the long list of possibilities that could result in a hospital birth.
I gave birth to both of my girls in the comfort of my home with my rockstar midwife and stronger-than-he-realizes-husband who despite his own fears and preferences to birth in the hospital, supported me and trusted us to birth our children at home.
I hope my journey encourages more women to dive into the quest of birthing at home-challenge the norm, trusting that their bodies GOT THIS.
Start a new internal dialogue and build a squad of strong supportive women who will guide you through this insanely magical experience of giving birth. And together, I hope we can create a new norm where more babies arrive into this world in a place they call home.
Listen to your inner voice, push the limits, settle only when you feel your heart and your baby are smiling.
And as my mother would say, “What’s there to worry about? You have contractions, you breath and you push the baby out!”