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When one heavily-pregnant Mumsnetter asked for good birth stories to balance the 'universally negative' ones she'd been hearing, others were delighted to oblige...
Lots of births are brilliant - you just mightn't hear about them so often
"I have a positive story! I always feel a bit guilty sharing it in case people who didn't have a positive experience think I'm being smug. It was all really straightforward and I had brilliant midwives who listened to me and were nothing other than encouraging and supportive all the way. I also had wonderful midwives on the postnatal ward. I'm currently pregnant with my second, and actually looking forward to labour, as weird as that might sound!"
"I was induced at 35 weeks with my first set of twins because I had pre-eclampsia, so I had a very medically managed labour and birth, but I felt happy, safe and comfortable throughout. The people that cared for me were wonderful; they listened to me, they explained things to me and made what was actually a high risk delivery into an enjoyable experience."
Thinking through all the outcomes can really help
"It's worth spending time getting yourself into a positive frame of mind where you feel like you can cope with any surprises that may come your way. I highly recommend Birth Skills - lots of great tips and techniques to keep you calm if an emergency situation develops, as well as visualisations to help you push if you can't feel contractions because of an epidural."
Work out what's making you anxious
"I have had three positive births. Painful, yes, but not to the point of desperation. I moved around quite a bit as I don't much like lying down in labour. No interventions, no drugs. If you can figure out what is causing you the most anxiety/worry, and then eliminate it, the rest might all fall into place nicely."
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Don't give up on getting the birth that you want...
"I had one good birth (my first: 8 hours), two very good births (the next two: 4.5 hours and 2.5 hours) and a really brilliant birth (my last: 4 hours). They all hurt, and all my children came down the birth canal to a soundtrack of full-on maternal effing and blinding, but they were the sort of births I had hoped and planned for, with minimal intervention. I know I'm not alone, too: my closest friend had three good births; another friend had four good births. They're not unusual."
But understand that things can change
"I feel positive about both my births (I had two twin pregnancies) even though things didn't go necessarily as I'd imagined they would. I think the single biggest thing you can do is make peace with the fact that preparation is great, but there is no failure in birth. If it goes differently it isn't your fault and it isn't failure."
… and remember that even the birth you didn't want can fill you with joy
"I still think of it fondly because of the outstanding care of the midwives and how it brought my partner and I even closer and of course - that my son was born. You don't remember the pain - and you're so much stronger than you think you are."
A positive birth is the birth that suits you
"Different births suit different people: someone I know had two planned sections, and said they were both a breeze and that the first was the best day of her life."
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Share childbirth fears and plans
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