If you’re expecting multiples then today is your turn! I can’t tell you how many times I receive emails from mamas expecting multiples asking.. no BEGGING.. me for podcast episodes for them and believe me when I say this: I have been TRYING!!!
Today I’m speaking to Mars Lord. Mars is a doula who specialises in supporting parents who are expecting multiples and what gives her special insider knowledge is the fact that she is a mum of twins. Incredibly, she had her twins AFTER her 3rd baby; you can listen to the full story in the podcast.
During our chat Mars shares a ton of gold nuggets, and they’re not just for the mamas expecting multiples. There’s stuff there for all pregnant mamas.
She starts by sharing her own twin birth journey busting the common assumptions that are held when it comes to expecting multiples;
twins will come early
you will birth in a hospital
you will have a planned c-section
you will need to be monitored
you will need an epidural
Instead Mars encourages you to approach your birth in the same way you would a singleton birth;
Get savvy and do your birth homework
Research your birth choices
Understand the risks you face and decide on what is right for you. Mars likes to replace the word risk with considerations. Everything is a consideration.
Trust your instincts
Ask the questions and challenge what you’re being told
Ask your hospital for the multiples birth policy and remember protocol is not a medical reason; it’s a guideline.
About Mars Lord
My name is Mars Lord and I am passionate about birth and about women having and making informed choices. I became a doula because I believe that birth is a wonderful thing and can be a wonderful time. As a mother of 5 (including twins) I know that even when it doesn’t seem to go the way that we want it to, it can still be an incredible experience. It should be your incredible experience.
Are you suffering from the pressure to be induced ? Well maybe my story can help you.
This time last year I was 5 days past my due date. Well, the due date that my midwife had given me. I was doing everything I could to stay calm and present despite knowing that I was hurtling fast into the pressure for induction zone.
I had already batted away my consultant on several occasions, what with me being a high-risk older mum (mmm right!), so I didn’t really feel that I was being allowed to stay calm. I felt more like I had to be in a defensive mode to claim my right to allow my body and my baby to unfold at a natural pace. That experience taught me a lot and one that I am grateful for.
In navigating this challenging path, there were certain questions that kept popping into my mind that I couldn’t shake. Questions to which I wanted the answers;
Were older mums really at a higher risk?
Surely lifestyle factors are more important than age?… I was 6 weeks over 40 for goodness sake!
What evidence was there for placentas no longer sustaining baby?
How did they calculate this due date anyway?
When do mothers typically give birth if nature is allowed to unfold at its own pace?
The thing is, I can be like a dog with a bone and I’ll keep digging until I find what I need. This quest forced me to dive down deep into research papers in order to find the answers I was looking for. I couldn’t believe that this information was so well hidden from view. Surely all pregnant women have these questions… don’t they? Let me jsut say that I spent quite a bit of time in this researching mode. Thank goodness I was on maternity leave, because it felt like a full time job! But I was grateful for the time I spent on it because the more I read up on all of this, the more confident I became in resisting the pressure for me to be induced.
What I learned from my experience of the pressure to be induced
Well, for starters , the risks I was being warned about were being MASSIVELY blown out of all proportion. But, the kicker for me was that all this seemed to hinge on my due date. And here lies the problem.
Due dates are red herrings!
The due date that I had been given of September 20th was probably way off. It was based on my 20 week scan and one thing that I learned was that scans become more and more unreliable when it comes to predicting due dates, as your pregnancy progresses. The most accurate being your 7 or 8 week scan. But even these can be up to 2 weeks off. By the time you have a 20-week scan the date can up to 3 weeks off. So given they were basing this on my 20 week scan, I knew I had some time to play with.
The next MAJOR discovery for me was the farce that is the due date calculation method. I’ve blogged and podcasted about that already so I won’t go into all of it again. But when I re-calculated my due dates using the science-based methods (get your cheat sheet of the science-backed methods by clicking on the box below), my new dates were coming out early October.
Once I was sure of my information.. and doubly and triple sure…. I asked to have my due date changed on my records and for this to be taken into account when considering induction. I happen to know my conception date too, so you’d think that they would be open to considering my new due date. Ha! Actually NO! The consultants didn’t care. The 20th Sept would remain as my due date.
I turned down a number of offers for inductions from my consultant, as well as declining a couple of offers of a sweep by my midwife. I managed to put back the absolutely final induction date from the consultant to October 9th which I was much more comfortable with given my revised due dates that I had calculated using other methods (October 5th and 6th).
I accepted to have regular monitoring to keep an eye on baby and me, and that what we did.
Baby Sofia arrived on October 5th naturally without induction at home. And according to the midwives, she looked “on time”. She still had vernix on her skin and my placenta was looking “lush and vibrant” < their words! Certainly not the signs of an overcooked baby or a declining placenta!
If you haven’t come across the term Conscious Parenting, you’re not the only one. I only recently came across it this week when a friend of mine shared a wonderful video on Facebook. I’m going to share the video below because it’s utterly compelling. But also it’s interesting, thought provoking and essential viewing for all parents-to-be (and parents!).
It’s 3o minutes long but worth it. Dr Shefali is a great speaker so put the kettle on.
Why am I sharing a video on Conscious Parenting on a childbirth blog?
Well, one thing is clear from listening to Shefali and it’s this; to be a conscious parent, we need to put a stop to the negative emotional patterns that control our lives and ensure that we do not pass them on. So how do we do that? Well, we use our Pregnancy journey to face up to our fears and we take a long hard look at our emotional baggage.. and WE LET IT GO! Easier said that done right? Well no. By preparing for your birth using Reflective Birthing this is exactly what we do.. so not only do we help you to shed the fears that might contribute to a difficult birth experience, but we get rid of of the emotional patterns that might surface during labour. These emotional patterns are YOUR emotional patterns and they’re not neccessarily birth related. It might be to do with the thing you have about authority and not being able to be told what to do. Or it could be that issue you have with not being in control.
Childbirth is unpredictable and you might face any number of challenges that push your buttons. But your buttons are personal to you. And it’s these same buttons that your kids will press.
So why not let go of these buttons during pregnancy? Doing so can help to improve your chances of a positive birth experience, but also make a great start on your conscious parenting journey.
If you’re interested in reading more about Conscious Parenting, Dr Shefali Tsabary has written a book on it.
Pregnancy, while a beautiful and wonderful thing, can also be hugely stressful. It’s a time of massive change, both pysically and emotionally. If it’s your first pregnancy, then your life is about to change forever. Not only will you trying to prepare mentally for something which is impossible to prepare for, but you will also be mourning the passing of your current life.. the end of an era.. the end of the time when it was just the two of you. None of this is insignificant.
By the end, you’re more than ready to give birth. Even the easy pregnancies can make you feel like this. Looking back, I can safely say that first time around, I pretty much had a stress free pregnancy. I hardly noticed I was pregnant, other than the obvious bump that was growing … My life just carried on as normal. I hardly had any symptoms or challenges and yet, by the last month I was done with it. The night-time peeing, the inability to lie on your back in bed, not being able to reach your feet… I could go on!
Compared to my first pregnancy, my second pregnancy was a total nightmare and I was done in by month 5! As well as having a load more pregnancy symptoms, those that I had were cranked up to max… it all felt pretty hardcore. The idea of a stress free pregnancy seemed very far away at that point. My pregnant state was totally stressing me out!
Why have a stress free pregnancy?
De-stressing in your pregnacy should really be up there on the list of important pregnancy to-do’s along with eating well, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes and staying fit. After all, we do all this “for baby” and yet de-stressing is as important as all of these and here’s why…
Do it for baby!
When we’re pregnant, we’re bombarded with lists of all the things that we should stop doing, eating and drinking. But nobody tells us that we should stop with the stressing too. Admittedly , is not such as easy one to fix, but given that we know there are links between maternal stress and the health and wellbeing of the baby, de-stressing should definitely be on that list.
And, for those of you who are hopeless at doing anything worthwhile for yourselves, but don’t hesitate doing something for others, then this your chance to shine. Not only will baby thank you for putting the effort into aiming for a stress free pregnancy, but you’ll love yourself for it too! “if I can’t do this for me, I must at least try for my baby’s sake”
Your hormones are going to go crazy during your pregnancy and it’s possible that your mind will be unrecognisable. In my first pregnancy, my hormones were very well behaved, but in my second pregnancy they were vicious little beasts. The thing with hormones is that they amplify what you’re feeling, so if you’re feeling delicate and vulnerable then by the time your hormones have finished with you, you’ll be sobbing in a pile of tissues over even the tiniest thing. So to help you manage the hormonal craziness, it’s worth taking the time to de-stress and be calm, otherwise a stress-free pregnancy will be but a dream.
Stresses change throughout your pregnancy
One thing I noticed, was that my stresses had a life all of their own during my pregnancies. They would come and go, evolve, disappear. New ones would show up, some would increase, others would disappear as quickly as they arrived. My hormones clearly didn’t help me with my aim of a stress free pregnancy, but given that it’s a period enormous change, on the inside and the outside, this is not entirely surprising.
So as you think about your stresses, bear in mind that you need to
• Consider where you are in your pregnancy
• Remain self aware and revisit them often so that you capture the new ones that have popped into your life
It’s a time of huge change in your life, but we’re adaptable beings. And for some of us, once we get used to something, the stress that it might have caused us initially, starts to subside. But that often means that new stresses jump right in to replace them – it did for me anyhow!
If you’re interested in finding out more about how to have a stress free pregnancy then why not sign up for my FREE email series “How to have a stress free pregnancy” below