8 minute read
Today Taylor Swift is one of the most powerful women in the world (#78 according to Forbes). But her journey to the top wasn’t always an easy one. She often describes herself as an underdog and had to overcome overwhelming odds to become one of the most successful singer-songwriters of our generation.
Many people don’t realize that Taylor actually had a pretty difficult start to her musical career. When her first demo was rejected, Taylor could have taken this as a sign from the universe that music wasn’t the right path for her.
And even once Taylor had become more well-known in the country music scene, she was bullied and pressured to follow a certain path that wasn’t what her heart desired… But Taylor stayed true to her calling…and look at her now!
So, what does this have to do with birth?
Like Taylor Swift, you may feel like the odds are stacked against you to have the birth of your dreams.
This is totally valid because the U.S. is actually failing mothers/birthing people in many ways when it comes to pregnancy and birth. In the United States:
- Women are 500 times more likely to have a C-section than women in the 1970’s according to US News.
- Mothers are 50% more likely to die in the period surrounding childbirth than their own mothers (Harvard Health).
On top of these scary statistics, when we witness celebrities like Beyoncé struggle during pregnancy and birth, and Serena Williams face a near death experience during labor… It’s no wonder that 80% of women report anxiety, fear, and doubt when it comes to their ability to give birth.
These statistics and stories show the true challenge of giving birth in the U.S.
You may be experiencing these same feelings as you prepare for your own labor and birth. And these anxieties and fears can be compounded if you’re struggling to find the tools, resources, and trusted guidance you need to prepare you to go into birth with confidence.
Like Taylor Swift at the beginning of her career, you may be wondering how you’ll face the unknowns ahead to reach your dream of having a safe, happy and positive birth experience.
The Challenge Modern Mothers Face When Giving Birth
The challenges and barriers that you feel as you prepare for labor are real.
If you feel uncertain or overwhelmed at times, that’s ok. It’s not uncommon to have dreams for your birth experience and new baby that you desperately want to reach…while also feeling unsure of how to get there.
These struggles are not all that different from what Taylor faced herself as she started out her career. And that’s why I often find comfort in Taylor’s songs. Because within her lyrics she tells her story of how she got to where she is today.
The emotions you’re experiencing during pregnancy are normal. Taylor describes many of these same emotions that she’s faced herself. Feelings of fear, doubt, anxiety, loneliness and isolation… Taylor had to overcome these feelings and overwhelming odds to achieve success.
The truth is: Just like Taylor, you CAN also overcome any odds that are stacked against you to have the birth of your dreams…if you stay true to what your heart desires.
We can draw inspiration and encouragement from Taylor’s story — how she overcame her fears, criticism, and intense pressure — as we prepare for the amazing experience of giving birth.
5 Lessons Taylor Swift Teaches Us About Overcoming Odds to Reach Your Goal:
1. “Never believe anyone that tells you that you don’t deserve what you want.”
I think my favorite thing about Taylor is that she wasn’t afraid to dream…even when others would tell her it was not possible.
As you prepare for birth, it may feel like everyone around you has LOTS of advice when it comes to labor and birth. And some of this unsolicited advice — through well-intentioned — can be difficult to receive. Especially if there’s a tone of fear, judgement or shaming in the remarks.
It’s easy to feel your dreams of a confident, and positive birth experience start floating away if you’re constantly surrounded by negative birth stories.
Real talk? Only YOU can determine what your birth story will be. Not your mom, your coworkers, or friends.
Women and birthing people across the country — and even the world — are having positive births every day. Births that are filled with joy, peace, and happiness.
You deserve to love your birth story. The first step to achieving your dreams? Being an active participant — not a passive — in your pregnancy and birth.
You can achieve your dreams and have an amazing, transformational birth experience when you take ownership of your path…
When you become the hero of your own story…
When you have faith in yourself, your support system, the birth process, and advocate for what you want.
So listen to your intuition, mama. And ask yourself “What are my hopes and dreams for my birth story?”
Write down your thoughts. Paint or draw a picture of your dream birth. And no matter what, don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you that you can’t have the birth story of your dreams.
2. “Everybody has a list of 100 things they want to change about themselves. But it’s about focusing on the good things.”
Part of taking ownership of your birth story and achieving your dream is…taking action! Taylor went through an incredible transformation to get to where she wanted to be. She had a plan that required her to change and she took the difficult — but necessary — steps to reach her goals.
The journey from maiden to mother is not always an easy one. You may have to give up certain things that you love — cocktails, coffee, or high-intensity exercise. And you may have to adjust particular habits that can be harmful to you and your baby — saying “no” to your sweet tooth, going to bed early instead of staying out late, or choosing to leave a stressful job.
But these changes are good! Because they will help you get closer to becoming the person you want to be…to experiencing your dream birth as you envision it.
The #1 thing that you can do to have a safer, more positive birth experience?
Learn about proper nutrition. Nutrition improves just about every birth outcome, can lower preterm birth rates from 12% to 2%, and positively affects a child for at least 2 years after birth (Frontiers in Nutrition).
And yet, very few mothers receive proper guidance when it comes to maintaining a healthy prenatal diet.
The next step is learning about your body and what you need to be healthy and happy.
Here are 3 helpful tips to get you started:
- Learn how to take care of yourself: Get plenty of good rest, exercise daily, eat well-balanced meals, snacks, and drink plenty of water.
- Learn how to manage your anxiety: Journal, meditate, practice helpful breathing and visualization exercises, and do activities that bring you joy and peace.
- Learn to trust in yourself and the process of birth: This could mean identifying certain fears that you have, letting go of your desire to control your birth, and learning more about how your body was naturally designed to give birth!
3. “People are going to judge you anyway, so you might as well do what you want.”
Our Western culture most often showcases birth as a dramatic and painful experience. Movies and TV shows show women anxiously rushing to the hospital, yelling at their partners, and screaming in pain.
If you haven’t heard many positive birth stories, you may expect that these stories are your only option. It’s easy to be influenced and/or steered in the wrong direction by ads or “picture perfect” people on social media. Or you may feel pressured to have a similar birth experience as your mom, sisters, friends, or coworkers.
This can make you become anxious about the next step on your own path. You may begin to doubt that a positive, joyful birth experience is possible for you. And it can be tempting to let go of your dreams, lower your expectations, and give up control of your own story.
Taylor also felt pressured to “conform” by our culture and societal pressures. This was one of the most difficult challenges that she faced — and her struggle to “fit in” even led to an eating disorder. But she let go of the judgement and pressure from the people around her and stayed true to herself.
Having the birth of your dreams is all about listening to your heart and remaining committed to your own unique journey and story.
With every birth story or piece of “advice” that comes your way… You have a choice. You can choose to carry that conversation with you in your heart…or to simply let it go.
Recognize when you’re starting to take on other people’s fears and doubts. And fill your “birth bag” with lots of positive birth stories. This will move you closer to your goal…closer to having the birth of your dreams.
4. “To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.”
This may be one of my favorite quotes from Taylor. Because if you’re a first-time mom/birthing person or maybe you didn’t have the best experience the first time around… You will inevitably face certain fears about giving birth.
But so often these fears become the primary voices in your head. Like a tape on repeat, self-doubt, fear, and anxiety can bring you down — even subconsciously! — and negatively affect your pregnancy and birth experience.
In a way, we become our own worst enemy… And these negative stories are much more likely to become a reality when we are focused on them.
Taylor knew all about this struggle because she is often her own hardest critic and brings herself down. But she found strength within herself and had faith in her own capabilities that ultimately led her to where she is today.
So when you experience fear, anxiety, or doubt… Don’t push that feeling down and hope it will go away. Buried anxieties have a way of showing up during birth. And that’s not the time to address your fears for the first time!
So instead, acknowledge your feeling — whatever if may be. Try to identify the root cause of the emotion. Make a list of truths that combat this fear.
One of my favorite practices I suggest to pregnant moms/birthing people is to seek out positive affirmations. Believing in a positive, joyful birth can feel a bit lonely sometimes. And these phrases will lift you up in the moments that you’re feeling alone or experiencing self-doubt or fear. Here are some examples of positive birth affirmations — I encourage you to find a few that speak to you!
My body was designed to give birth.
My baby knows how to be born.
Each breath, each surge, brings me closer to my baby.
5. “Life is like walking — you take one step at a time.”
Even if you feel lonely at times during your pregnancy… The good news is — you don’t have to prepare for birth alone!
Just like exploring a new hiking trail for the first time…It’s always easier to go with someone who’s explored the trail before you. To have someone you can lean on for guidance and support.
Taylor couldn’t have made it to where she is today without her support system. She leaned on the people she trusted to help her learn how to trust in herself and know how to prepare for each next step.
And throughout time, heroes have always had guides to help them achieve success. Luke Sywalker had yoda…Katniss Everdeen had Haymitch…Harry Potter had Hagrid.
The journey can get difficult at times. We all need someone to help us find the knowledge and resources to navigate the challenges that come our way on our path to success.
So I’ll ask you, who is your guide as you prepare for birth? Who will help point out the bumps along the path, or lift you up when an obstacle makes you stumble?
More and more moms/birthing people are leaning on birth coaches and doulas to help them prepare for the unknowns of birth. Because the truth is, our healthcare system does not do the best job setting you up for success.
And there are skills, tools, and habits that can help you succeed at having a healthy and happy birth.
Discovering them will give you the confidence to pursue your dream birth. Forget about not knowing what to do, having unexpected twists along the way, and bumps to overcome.
You can learn how to replace your fears with knowledge and gain real tools to have the beautiful, peaceful birth you are made for.
Ready to get started? I would love to guide you through your own transformation so that you can give birth safely, calmly, and joyfully. If you’re ready for great birth experience, join us inside my comprehensive birth course, Birth Undone.