Not a week goes by without speculation as to whether a particular woman in the public eye is pregnant. The current focus is Cheryl (no surname necessary!) I don’t blame her for not confirming whether she is or isn’t pregnant as the media circus is just that … a circus. Who wants to be pregnant and planning the birth of their baby in the spotlight? Pregnancy is such a personal time and issue – one where a woman, and her partner, are coming to terms with the fact that they will become parents. A time when they need to consider so many different aspects of their lives ahead, knowing that things will change forever (mainly for the good). So, all the focus on how pregnant she is, whether she is having a boy or a girl, or how she is going to give birth is none of our business! Every woman carries her baby differently according to her body shape, posture, the baby’s position and there is little point guesstimating when the baby will be born as woman “show” at different times – some will have enormous bumps and others seem to have very little – and there is such a large window when a baby might be born, from 37 to 42 weeks is considered normal, with some women going beyond that time. Certainly trying to estimate what sex the baby will be is fruitless – size and shape of the bump are no indication of a baby’s sex at all – that’s just old wives tales at work (of which there are far too many around pregnancy/birth/infant feeding)!
In terms of birthing I hope that Cheryl, and any other woman for that matter, will make a choice that feels right for her and her partner, rather than feeling coerced into something by media, the medical profession or by her peers. It is lovely to see an increase in homebirth in this country – women supported by fantastic midwives in the safety and comfort of their own home – but that doesn’t suit everyone. Ultimately doulas can help women and their partners to make informed choices using research-based evidence and are there to provide emotional and practical support without being judgmental. So if Cheryl does decide to birth her baby in water using hypnobirthing techniques, or if she decides that an elective caesarean is the right choice for her then her doula would be there to provide her with everything she needed to have a positive experience. A doula would be there to protect the space around the new family – giving them the privacy that they need, whilst present enough to provide necessary support. She would also be able to support her in becoming a parent and adjusting to life with a new baby – helping with feeding and being able to signpost information on subjects like baby’s development, sleep, babywearing, nappy choices etc. Coming in to parenthood is a huge transition, and one that can bring so much joy if the couple are well-prepared and well-supported. If I could send Cheryl any message it would be to wish her a very happy and peaceful time in her pregnancy, surrounded by people she loves and trusts, away from the prying eyes of the media! Oh, and obviously I would recommend a doula!
To find a doula, or list yourself as a doula or other related pregnancy/birth/postnatal professional visit www.nurturingbirthdirectory.com