For some people the idea of ‘preparing’ for birth seems a little strange, and this was certainly the case for Katy. Now a Daisy teacher herself, she shares her journey of how she went from being unsure about the reasons and benefits of ‘antenatal classes’ to becoming pregnant and prepared…..
Pregnant and prepared?
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was elated. It hadn’t been an easy journey, but there it was – the blue line on the stick…… Oh, and the nausea……but I was (we were) over the moon. I hadn’t done much reading around pregnancy or childbirth, but assumed that as long as I was where I needed to be (the hospital, in my mind) surrounded by midwives, doctors and drugs on the day of my child’s birth, everything would be ok. I thought that there wasn’t much else I could do to prepare for the big day. Yes, I signed up for an antenatal class – but I think that was more to meet friends than actually learn anything.
Fast forward a few months and my son arrived safely (in a hospital) but I was left feeling quite affected by the whole experience for some time. I was lucky and the birth wasn’t particularly traumatic, but I had felt completely out of control of both the situation and my own body.
Several years on, following 2 miscarriages and a lot of sickness, we happily announced that we were expecting our 2nd child, a daughter. After a lot of heartache and pain, I had started yoga to try to prepare my body as best I could for a successful pregnancy. Once I fell pregnant I was keen to continue with the yoga classes and found a local antenatal yoga class run by a midwife. The classes were a perfect way to escape, once a week, from my busy everyday life and soon became a regular part of my routine. I attended the classes from around 16 weeks of pregnancy (once the sickness had subsided!) until 39 weeks.
When I went into labour the following week, my body seemed to instinctively know what it needed to do. I knew which positions felt comfortable, and when offered a bed to lie in, I politely but firmly refused. I took some towels out of my bag and quietly went back to the comfortable (upright) position I had been in at home, on the floor. Looking back I may have looked quite odd, going to ground as soon as I got in the room, but I was in my labour bubble and I knew where I needed to be. This time around I had the confidence to go with my body and what it was telling me. My daughter arrived not long after we arrived (much to the midwife’s surprise), in a (relatively!) peaceful, calm and controlled environment. I felt completely in tune with my body and what it was doing and was positively buzzing afterwards. My daughter was so content that she latched on and was feeding within 15 minutes of birth.
At the time I didn’t know about the Daisy Foundation, nor did I know all the reasons why what I did 2nd time around would help me. Knowing all I know now about active birth (and why lying on your back isn’t likely to help you); why breathing is so important (and vitally how to breathe at different stages of labour); what your body is doing in labour (and how to help keep things moving along) … I want to tell the world! Every woman should have access to this information so that they too can have every chance at the birth that they want and deserve.
Daisy Birthing classes are so difficult to explain until you’ve been to one. Yes, they include yoga-based movements, all specifically designed to help with common pregnancy problems: indigestion, puffy fingers, swollen ankles – and help your body prepare for its birthing day…..but they include so much more than that. The antenatal education that we share with mums-to-be is delivered in small bite-sized chunks – just 15 minutes a week. However, every week I see the penny drop and women saying ‘why don’t all women get told this stuff? It just makes so much sense!’. YES! And yet there is more: the classes finish with a beautiful relaxation segment. Time-out for ladies to relax, connect with their babies and prepare their minds for their forthcoming birthing day. And the classes are as much about preparing the mind as preparing the body, which is absolutely right. How you think or feel about something and your thoughts can have a very powerful effect on your body.
If you are expecting a baby and would like to prepare for your birthing day, please have a look at our ‘Find a Class’ map to find your local teacher. Classes are just as suitable for 2nd or 3rd time Mums as they are for your 1st baby. Daisy Birthing classes run throughout the country in 6 week terms, each class lasting 1.5 hours and are for ladies only. Suitable from 14 weeks of pregnancy right through to the arrival of your little one, classes can be adapted and are supportive of all birth choices.
How lovely to see that Katy’s experiences led to her becoming a Daisy teacher herself! Thank you for sharing your story Katy x