Questioning your culture:
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
I believe that the media has a large influence on people in general, especially entertainment in the media. Unfortunately, this influence is largely negative; from the time one enters into this world the influence of the media begins to creep in. The media suggests how to be born, how to live, and how to die.
In my house, when ever we are watching a “birth scene” on television my husband has to remind me that it is ‘just Hollywood', and that I have ‘no control over the situation’. I get so upset, the reason why I get so upset is because even when a scene “isn’t so bad” it is STILL so inaccurate! How could it be accurate? Especially on television, the entire span of a movie is only 90-120 minutes. It’s almost a joke really, you can even google “10 worst birth scenes in Hollywood” all sorts of clips will pop up—you could watch them for hours on end. (if you are an expectant parent, DON’T do this, that defeats the point of this entire blog post.)
In our society birth is depicted in many negative lights, it is typically viewed as an emergency situation, or painful to the point of a near death experience. Nothing about how it is depicted is accurate.
For example, the media typically shows the birthing persons going about their normal day and all of the sudden their water breaks and BOOM! It’s baby time. No warning, from zero to 60 and everyones world is flipped upside down. Well, it doesn't look like that at all! Early labor normally takes time, your water may or may not break in the first 12 hours or so, for most first time birthing people the water breaks well into the “pushing phase” after labor has been actively going for hours. If your water does break prior to contractions it can still be 24+ hours before baby comes, and thats OK. For a lot of people when their water does break early on, active labor still doesn’t immediately follow.
Very rarely are babies born into extreme emergency situations—and when they are, Doctors, Midwives and Nurses all start moving a little faster, but no properly trained medical professional is screaming, or yelling across the room.
Negative birth scenes can, and do plant fear into the hearts of birthing people. On top of that—as soon as someone announces that they are pregnant, the entire world loves to throw in their own horror stories typically ending in someone “almost died!” then they go on to say, “if we hadn’t XYZ” (I.E been in a hospital, or had the doctor there)”! Which may or may not be true, I don't know—but what I do know, is telling an expectant person a story like that is not going to do any good. They are not you, and you are not them. Your birth story is yours, and yours alone.
So, what to do?
First, Know your boundaries: It is key to identify when a story or image is distressing you. These distressing images may come from a t.v show, a movie, or even an online article. These distressing stories might come from loved ones or strangers at the gas station. When you realize that something isn’t settling right with you, use the next two steps:
Use ‘tools’ to protect yourself: In Hypnobabies we talk a lot about your “bubble of peace” I love the entire idea behind the “bubble of peace”. Essentially you create a mental image of a bubble, typically the size of the bubble is large enough for you to fit inside of it, you pick a color, it’s thickness and you invite only who you feel safe with into it. You use this bubble of peace to protect you and your baby from any negativity.
Use your voice: Put up your hand in the universal “stop” sign, and you can say, “I am sorry for your experience, but this story isn’t easy for me to hear right now.” I avoid confrontation like the plague, so I understand if this is difficult for you. However, I also preach weighing the “benefits” and the “risks” so gauging the situation is important. Does the “benefit” of hearing this story, from this person OUTWEIGH the “risks”? More often than not, the answer is “no.” People understand that you would be sensitive to a particular traumatic story. You have the right to ask them to stop telling you their story.
The only bag you should be bringing into your birth space is your birth bag. You and your baby deserve to walk into a your birth space baggage free. Birth can, and SHOULD be peaceful, calm, quiet, and beautiful. Birth takes time birth can be relaxing, soothing and remarkably healing. Don't let fear rob you of what you want, and what you deserve.
To learn more about “bubble of peace” check this out: http://expectingthebestbirth.com/heck-bubble-peace/
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