When I first found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to have as intervention free a birth as possible. This was a very wanted baby so I had a lot of time to research and find out all the options of birth and the pros and cons of them all.  I balled my eyes out getting my bloods taken on the first hospital visit, so the idea of getting a needle on the back for an epidural freaked me out more than having a baby come out of my vagina!

I needed to prepare for the birth. I needed to build what Tracey Donegan, founder of gentlebirth, calls a labour toolkit.  Part of my ten month preparation was working with the gentlebirth CDs and book every day.  It might seem like a lot of work but once I got into it I found it really easy to find the time and the discipline to do the work.  Like everything, the more you put in the more you get back.

Here’s how I incorporated gentlebirth into my everyday life: I had a 20 minute walk to work every day. The affirmation track is 9 minutes; so I listened to it twice on my walk to work there and back, 4 times a day might seem a bit excessive but the affirmations for me were brilliant.  My favourites included “I am calm, confident and in control”, “My body knows what to do”, “My confidence grows everyday”,  “I can do this”.  Simple little sentences that really inspired me, focused my attention and gave me the confidence to give birth.  I know it all sounds a bit hooky, but for a scaredy cat like me it really worked.  I also listened to the other tracks in bed every night before I went to sleep.

Gentlebirth also runs 2 day workshops that you bring your partner to.  My husband was not eager but after the first day he really got into it.  I think sometimes the man gets left out of the whole pregnancy/birth experience; it can be a very solitary occupation.  During the workshop we talked about having your partner be your voice, when the woman is focusing on her surges and giving birth. The man can fend off anyone that is going to interfere into maintaining the calm and focused work being done by the woman. Together my husband and I put together a birth plan and talked about our ideals: Plan A: drug free natural birth all the way down to Plan Z: emergency section and baby in an incubator and me being sick.  That might sound a bit crazy but it really helped me to deal with my worry and fear of birth.  I knew that whatever happened he would be my supporter and would stay with the baby if I couldn’t.

As it turned out we had our Plan A (with a little bit of meconium stained waters just to keep us on our toes!) They do call it labour for a reason, it was hard work but I would do it again tomorrow. It was still the best experience of my life.

Gentlebirth really helped me have my best birth possible and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

Katie and Síofra

Katie and Síofra

For more information on Gentlebirth, see the following links: