Why does birth matter?

Stress Free Birth

Natal Hypnotherapy

Harriet Hancock Natal Hypnotherapist



07811 463457 / 01491 873728


I've never been given as much unsolicited advice as when I was pregnant with my son. Friends, family and even strangers had all sorts of opinions on the best diet during pregnancy, the best way to give birth, the best way to feed, the best way to help babies sleep and so on. All the advice was warmly shared with me and some of it was helpful.  But much of it conflicted with other people's advice and importantly some of it conflicted with my instincts.  But I was awash with it and instead of proving useful, it mostly undermined my confidence and set me on a tricky path through the woods of nurturing my family whilst not offending others who made other choices.    Add to that the thick fog of sleep deprivation, a traumatic birth and a baby who was "failing to thrive" and the essential sustenance for my walk through these woods, my self esteem and belief in my own abilities as a mother, lay like squashed sandwiches at the bottom of a rucksack, inedible and worthless.  And I seemed to have lost the map to lead me on my path, my mothering instincts.  

My husband was fantastic.  He always supported me saying "you're the mother... you know best" and my son too, tiny as he was, showed me the way.  I found wonderful support in NCT leaders and friends made during the course I attended, in the Breastfeeding clinic at the John Ratcliffe Hospital in Oxford in the wonderful days of Sally Inch and Chloe Fisher,  in La Leche League and of course with friends and family.  Over time my confidence as a mother improved and gained strength.  But how different could this have been if the birth had been different!

My daughter's birth was a simple birth and I emerged from the experience with great confidence and deep connection to my instincts as a mother.  Even now, 18 months on, I only have to conjure up an image of myself during the last moments of her birth, to feel an instant sense of power, possibility and pride.  And that serves me well when facing the challenges of mothering a delightfully willful 3 year old and a feisty 18 month old, not to mention tending to a loveable but chaotic husband!  It is like carrying on my journey a magical pot of something delicious that is always full however much I eat!

Most people think that it matters how the next generation is brought up and educated.  On a national scale as well as in individual families, endless effort goes into decisions about education, health, diet, safety, brain development, physical activity and so on and there are countless books with methods and ideologies to teach parents.  Sadly much of this effort leads to confused, disempowered and guilt-ridden parents who desperately want to “get it right” for their precious offspring.   Picking a safe route through the minefield of parenting do’s and don’ts and remaining connected to instinct and personal values is a tricky challenge for all parents.  What everyone seems to agree on is that its important that children are loved and that parents feel good about their role as parents. 


What’s this got to do with birth?  Everything!  Aside from the life long physical and mental health benefits to mother and baby of normal birth, there is also a powerful impact for life on a mother’s emotions when she has had a positive birth experience including a lasting sense of empowerment, fulfilment and achievement.  These birth outcomes are the very best preparation for a successful and confident journey through parenthood. 

As Barbara Katz Rothman wrote "Birth is not only about making babies.  Birth is about making mothers - strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength."  


And so, whilst it does not matter how or where babies are born, it matters enormously that the birth experience is positive for all concerned because the journey is long and the path through the woods can be challenging but the views are amazing!

Harriet Hancock  August 2014


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