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Is it ever possible to have a positive birth?

Updated: Jun 21

I was at a wedding this weekend, and typically, as people discovered I was a Hypnobirthing coach, they started to share their birth stories with me (which I genuinely LOVE). This led to some really interesting conversations around the language surrounding birth and in particular around the use of the word "positive" and the term "positive birth"...


I was talking to a couple about their birth experiences from their two children; with each pregnancy they had done a different Hypnobirthing course. One course took a very focussed approach around having a "positive birth" and the other focussed more around feeling fully informed and educated, and therefore empowered. The mum was saying how to her it felt a lot more appropriate to refer to her birthing experiences as "empowering" rather than "positive", despite the births being on the whole "positive", there were aspects either during or after that she wouldn't describe as "positive".


This really resonated with me and I found it so interesting as I think so often people believe that Hypnobirthing is all about achieving that "perfect" "positive" birth experience, and yes, there is absolutely a huge part of Hypnobirthing that aims to help you achieve a positive birth experience, absolutely, but no birth is perfect.


For me, a positive birth experience is one in which the birthing person feels in control, informed, and confident; not simply one that, on paper, ticks all the boxes for a "positive" or "perfect" birth. I often refer to my own birthing experience as positive, but something about that word hasn't ever felt completely right. So when this mum made the comment about it being empowering rather than positive, it was like the penny dropped. My caesarean birth was empowering, but not necessarily positive, and certainly not perfect. I felt very much in control of the decision, I felt like I had all the tools & knowledge to make an informed decision, and I had all the techniques to help me remain calm.


It seems a bit silly on reflection, that it took hearing it described that way from someone else for me to have that realisation, especially since the whole ethos (and literal name) of my business is to support women to feel empowered during their pregnancy & birth journey, but even working within the birth world, it's easy to get swept up in the language surrounding birth.


I guess my point is, that just because someone has what appears to be a positive/perfect birth, perhaps that's in the water at home with no pain relief or perhaps that's in the hospital on the bed with all the pain relief, whatever that looks like for them; it doesn't always feel that way to the birthing person. And so much of that comes down to how in control they felt in that situation, whether their voices were heard, what happened in the immediate postpartum period, and the team they had surrounding them.


My main goal for the families I support, is for them to go through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey feeling educated, empowered and excited. I don't sell the promise of a "positive birth" but I do hope that my course will give them the tools, techniques and confidence to give them the best possible chance of having the most positive birth experience they can, whatever that looks like for them.


Em x







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