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Giving birth is a lesson in motherhood: The one thing you can control

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The very first lesson we ever learn as mothers is that it’s not always up to us. Giving birth for the first time makes it clear that we are not in charge of every outcome.

 When we are pregnant, we do our research.  Maybe we had friends who were already moms and we trust them to tell us the truth about birth.  Sometimes we’re at the mercy of the Internet. No matter where we get our information, we make plans for what we will do when we go into labor. We write up directions for everyone around us and think that these birth plans tell exactly how it will happen.

As if we can produce this event, and tell that baby to just follow the script and enter the scene on cue. If you have seen a baby enter this world with your own eyes, you know that there are no scripts.

birth1I have a nearly-2-year-old and there are still no scripts.

She has an opinion and a point of view. Turns out all kids have opinions, sometimes strong ones, and they start that pretty early. They can make our plans irrelevant in a heartbeat and challenge us to roll with each moment. Make decisions on the fly. Improvise.

Moms get skilled in dealing with life’s circumstances and their first chance to practice this skill is when they get that baby out in to the world.

Obviously there are parts to birth that no one can control. And at the same time there is one small part mothers can control. I learned this recently from talking to a Certified Nurse Midwife and the Natural Parent Expo Keynote Speaker Tracy Ryan.

birth2In the 5 Ps of Birth, there is only ONE of FIVE factors you can control and that’s your psyche. Your pelvis and passageway, the passenger (aka baby) and the power of your contractions are all out of your control. 

We work on our psyche by training our heads and hearts to believe positive birth messages and then let the rest go!

 Once our babies arrive, the work has only just begun. Remember that there’s only that small part we control. Give yourself a break and let the rest go!


Kathryn finally lost count of her daughter’s age in months.  She connects parents with support and resources on the website Denver Natural Mom and through speaker events like the Natural Parent Expo on Sept. 19, a Colorado-designed event specifically for first-time parents and getting them ready for baby. There will be six speakers on pregnancy, birth, and parenting topics; a showcase of vendors who serve new families; brunch, mama mocktails, massages, prizes and giveaways! $20 OFF with promo code “milehighmama” Denver. 

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson September 12, 2015

    Beautifully written! And no, I didn’t stick with my birth plan for either of my kiddos but it’s always good to have a plan in place.

  • comment avatar Marty September 12, 2015

    I was five days overdue and I’d been having what I thought were mild contractions on and off all day. By 4:30pm they were about 15 to 20 minutes apart. I rang the labour ward at the hospital and was told to stay at home until the contractions were four to five minutes apart. When I explained to the midwife that I lived 30 minutes from the hospital and asked if I should come in sooner just to be safe, I was told just to hold out.
    I was chatting to Judy, my neighbour, on the Internet at about 5:30pm, and when I told her about what I thought were contractions, she ran over to see me. By now they were about six to seven minutes apart and getting more intense so Judy rang my husband, Keith, and the ambulance. They both arrived around 6pm and my waters broke on the kitchen floor five minutes later. By this stage my contractions were three minutes apart so the ambos decided to lay me down to check everything out – they then realised I was about 7cm dilated. They suggested we get in the ambulance and head to the hospital but I said, “I’m not going anywhere – I’m not having him on the side of the road!”
    After 40 minutes and about seven or eight pushes, Harley Andrew was born on our bed at 7:10pm. He was healthy and alert right from the start scoring an excellent nine and later a ten on his APGAR tests. He only gave a little whimper when he was born and didn’t cry until he had his needles at the hospital. I delivered the placenta an hour later on the way to the hospital. I came away with a second-degree tear and the only pain relief I had was a few puffs on the inhaler given to me by the ambos!
    The ambulance took me to the hospital to stitch the tear and check the baby over. He was a very healthy 8lb 5oz, 53cm long with a 35.5cm head circumference. Keith and Judy said they were so proud of me and the ambos couldn’t believe how fast it all happened being my first baby.
    I know I am very lucky to have had such a quick labour and I can’t thank my husband, neighbour and the ambos enough for their support. I have to admit, I’m EVER so glad I didn’t try the castor oil trick!

  • comment avatar Marsha Bolen September 12, 2015

    Great point about the importance of focusing on your psyche. Having the right mentality can make a huge difference, especially throughout such an emotional process.

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