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There are some books that you read and then set aside and go on with your life. There are others that you read at just the right moment so that they leave a huge indelible footprint on you.

A lovely friend leant me a book recently called Birthing from Within. It was hard going at first because it started with chapters on birth art (which I really had no interest in creating for myself) but then the book moved on to other subjects.

At that point, my head was still in a similar place to where I was with Alfie: I was busy trying to organise my way to the perfect care and birth. A really strange thing happened as I was reading the book though, my focus begun to shift as the words I was reading slowly began to sink in.

I read a chapter about Birth Plans and it suddenly made sense to me why I had been struggling to visualise labour. With Alfie my focus was on organising every detail, my Birth Plan long and trying to account for every eventuality and what I had really done was make it so narrow that it was almost impossible to achieve. I was trying to organise my way into what I imagined the perfect labour to be, this book flipped that on its head and made me realise that the perfect birth was adaptable, flexible and very much in the moment.

I haven’t written a birth plan this time. Instead I have put my energy into talking to Mel about where I am and where my boundaries lie.

Instead of a Birth Plan I have an awesome picture copied from the book and blown up to stick on the wall which illustrates this next passage.

Because the lesson I really took from this book in a light-bulb moment was that to succeed, I was going to have to not think. If I was going to do any preparation before this birth it wasn’t to educate myself, but to pass my thoughts and feelings onto someone I trusted to use them so that I could forget them entirely.

I don’t try and visualise labour any more (I still can’t see what it’s going to look like) instead I visualise doing nothing extra.

Except booking my TENS, I really need to do that.

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