Wimp. A physical or emotional weakling; someone who lacks courage. It is meant as a mild insult.
Wimp is a word I hear a lot when women talk about the birth of their baby.
“I needed pain relief, I’m such a wimp” “I’m not going to the birthing centre because I’m such a wimp”
Wanting or needing more pain relief than someone else does not make a woman a wimp. Birth is not a competition, there is not one right way to birth, natural birth is not the right choice for every woman. A birthing woman has to push a human being out of her body – and that is amazing, beautiful and bloody hard work. Even if she has an epidural, she still needs to push herr baby out of her body, she still needs to work pretty damn hard. There is nothing wimpy about it.
So why are women using an insult about themselves when it comes to giving birth. Birth is so very unique – it can be slow, it can be quick, it can be straightforward, it can be complicated. No two births are ever the same.
I passionately believe that most labours can be straightforward – never underestimate the power of movement, gravity and breathing during birth, any birth – it still counts if you are being induced, if you have an epidural, if you need any medical interventions.
I am surrounded by birth – natural birth is right for some women but I have also seen it traumatise some women, I have seen a woman’s distress be saved by an epidural, especially in a long labour. I have helped women prepare for birth for over a decade and my aim is not that they all achieve a natural birth, I want women to have a positive birth where they feel comfortable, safe and supported, to do what feels right and to minimise interventions, which can be distressing.
The breathing works to keep a labouring woman (and her partner) calm and focused during any labour, especially if it is tough going so it doesn’t just have to be for a natural birth.
Even if a labouring woman has an epidural, positions and movement are still really important – baby still needs some gravity and the room to move down through the birth canal. Moving on the bed can make the birth of a baby much easier.
If you are pregnant and preparing for the birth of your baby here’s your call to action…
prepare well for managing your contractions and what you can do to be comfortable and calm – go to good antenatal classes (yes I do mean me if you are in North Tyneside or Newcastle), read well and have a better idea of what can do to help you birth your baby.
No-one knows how they will manage labour until those contractions start so it can help to know how to work with the contractions as well as to minimise interventions if you want or need more pain relief.
Get your partner prepared to be effective birth support and you could also book a doula to provide ongoing support and ideas.
Don’t leave it to chance, birthing well can take knowledge and skill and there’s
nothing wimpy about any of it.
Janine Rudin | Birth & Baby