This month I've invited Sarah from Running in Mind to share 5 Things she learnt from her birth!
Hi! My name is Sarah, I have one little boy aged two and currently work in Financial Services Marketing. I'm not sure I have a fun fact (sorry!) but I do need to run to keep my mind on the straight and narrow!
Five things I’ve learnt from birth...
1. Things don’t always go to plan - Not having my birth go the way I wanted didn’t cross my mind. In hindsight, it was pretty naive of me but I’d approached pregnancy and birth with my usual military precision and so I expected it to go the way I’d planned. That didn’t happen and I was left feeling bereft, traumatised and fairly shell shocked by the whole experience. In reality, I should have given some consideration to other options and not just dismissed them.
2. Your body is incredible - I thought I already had a healthy respect for my body. It got me round a half marathon course for which I’ll always be grateful! But I now realise that was a walk in the park compared to labour and birth. Despite the intense pain and fear I was feeling somehow my body seemed to know what to do which I found fascinating.
3. Coconut water won’t cut it - I decided that what my body needed in labour was nourishing food and nothing with too much sugar. So in my hospital bag I packed an unhelpful array of healthy snacks and coconut water. I was an idiot - what I actually needed was sugar, carbs and plenty of it. I remember my midwife suggesting that Lucozade might be a better option about halfway through and it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Labour is not the time for a health kick.
4. Be kind to yourself - I beat myself up mentally for not having the ‘perfect’ birth and berated myself for not being able to breastfeed, resulting in postnatal depression and anxiety. It took months for me to realise that what I’d gone through physically and emotionally wasn’t insignificant and that I shouldn’t dismiss the experience. I was so determined to just ‘get on with it’ I’m not sure I gave my body or my mind time to heal in those early days.
5. You deserve to be selfish - One of the biggest regrets I have is not being more selfish. For two weeks my house was full of friends and family. Some were a massive help, some just wanted to meet the baby. This is understandable but I found it stressful and far from relaxing. I should have taken that time to sit in bed, watch Netflix and eat as much peanut butter on toast as I wanted and told visitors to come back when I was ready.