Overshadowing the Transformative Essence of Childbirth with Data

Childbirth and postpartum are transformative experiences that reshape identities, relationships, and life perspectives in ways that statistics alone cannot convey. The journey of childbirth is not merely a clinical event; it is a deeply personal and transformative experience for parents, particularly for mothers. When birth support professionals, such as childbirth educators, prenatal yoga teachers, and doulas, fail to address these transformative aspects during our prenatal and postpartum encounters, we risk undermining our clients’ birth experiences. However, when we conduct a series of prenatal and postpartum coaching sessions, we bring these aspects to the surface and help individuals win the inner game of childbearing: overcome self-doubt, undo perspectives and limiting beliefs that aren’t leading to their desired positive expereinces. 

The Inner Game of Childbearing

I mourn the loss of personal time. 

I’m heartbroken by the loss of career opportunities.

I’m in pain over losing old social connections with those not entering parenthood.

I’m bummed about losing my pre-pregnancy figure and physical autonomy.

I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to our sex life and intimacy

I mourn the lack of control over my decision-making when prioritizing my child.

I mourn the loss of spontaneity in traveling, sleeping, meeting my girlfriend for coffee, or having a romantic date with my husband. 

These are a few of my clients’ inner and hidden thorught I’ve heard since I started offering prenatal coaching conversations to expectant clients. I’ve been a childbirth educator and a birth doula for over two decades. These didn’t surface in my childbirth education classes or my doula conversations with my birth clients. They didn’t come up because I haven’t created the opening. Although we’ve known for many years that childbirth is a transformative experience rather than just a physiological process or clinical procedure, I regret overshadowing the transformative essence of childbirth under piles of data and physiological explanations. 

Medical facts and figures about childbirth, such as labor phases and duration, positions, physiology and anatomy, and possible medical interventions, offer valuable information for expecting parents. However, these facts can sometimes overshadow the more subjective and emotional aspects of the experience.

Failing to address the transformative aspects of childbearing means risking undermining our clients’ positive experiences

Recognized only to be neglected by professionals

Researchers in psychology and sociology have been calling attention to the resemblance between the transformative nature of the transformation of adolescence and Matrescence, a term describing the identity shift of becoming a mother. According to Dr. Alexandra Sacks, both Matrescence and Adolescence are hormone dominant, body-altering, irreversible, a rite-of-passage, confidence-challenging, and… awkward. 

Unfortunately, this recognition hasn’t been developed into a prenatal or postpartum practice. Since childbirth’s transformative nature extends far beyond the medical and physiological facts, statistics and data provide a framework for understanding its mechanics. However, they often fail to capture the profound emotional and psychological transformations that accompany the birth of a child. As a labor doula and trainer, I believe that if the transformative nature extends beyond medical and physiological facts, statistics, and data to provide a framework for understanding its mechanics, we must create and develop a practice that addresses this essence. 

My goal is not to increase their knowledge but to help them grow, feel confident, and have agency in their birth experience

What you risk when facts overshadow the personal transformation

I used to overlook the profound emotional and psychological changes that occur during my clients’ childbearing experience. I focused on providing information and education about the process and their choices. Despite believing in the mind-body connection, I failed to address fears, self-doubt, personal losses, and the identity shift  of my clients. individuals undergoing their childbearing process shade parts of their young adults identity, which they’ve worked hard to build.  I didn’t see it as my responsibility at the time. Looking back, I now ask birth professionals:

If it’s not you, then who?

When we fail to acknowledge and address the transformative aspects of the childbearing process, we risk sabotaging our clients’ growth and positive experiences. The experience often challenges individuals to confront their fears and past experiences, some of which are traumatic. When birth support professionals allow them to emerge, there’s so much opportunity for our clients to rely on their resilience and embrace their strengths in ways they never anticipated. But more importantly, it’s crucial for the partnership between the professional and her clients. It dictates whether or not we will succeed in helping them achieve their desired experiences.

A new framework for addressing your client transformation

Realizing the need to address the psychological metamorphosis prenatally, I’ve dedicated myself to creating and developing a new framework-Transformational Birth Support Coaching. This innovative set of coaching strategies, models, and exercises is uniquely designed based on my 24 years of practice and the feedback from my clients. It’s time for a new approach to birth support.

I’m now teaching birth support professionals the innovative framework I have developed to address the inner game of childbirth

When I meet potential clients, I acknowledge their high level of knowledge and access to abundant data. My role is not as an educator but as a transformational birth support coach. My goal is not to increase their knowledge but to help them grow, feel confident, and have agency in their birth experience. 

During our first prenatal coaching session, I engage them in an opening exercise I created, designed to reveal and map their confidence and readiness level in various areas relating to their journey. This map helps us focus on the areas in which they are challenged and undo any limiting beliefs and success blockers that might sabotage their birth. We engage in coaching conversations that create clarity, reveal motivations, allow new perspectives, motivate, increase confidence, elicit their accountability to their process, and so much more.  

In a 3-month program, I’m now teaching many birth support professionals, such as doulas, childbirth educaotrs, midwoives and labor and delivery nurses, the innovative set of coaching strategies I have developed. Like me, these professionals have recognized that such transformative effects are not easily captured by data, yet they are central to their clients healthy and positive experiences. If you see yourself leading these coaching conversations and achieveing better results with your clients, consider joining the program. 

 

 

 

 

Neri Life-Choma

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