It’s time to get real: Your birth won’t always go as you want

The Wise Hippo Blog 3 Comments

Yes, I know as a birth educator you want me to fill you with hope that if you spend time practising a positive mindset around birth that your body will follow through on the day and all will go perfectly.

Outside of you and your baby being safe, I am sure the number one reassurance you want from me is the certainty of knowing that if you take the time (and money) to prepare for the birth you want then you are going to get that birth.

I can’t do that though and anyone telling you otherwise isn’t being honest enough with you.

Yes, having a positive mindset about your birth will help.

Yes, learning how to be calm and relaxed will support your body with doing what it needs to do on the day.

Yes, knowing how to ask all the right questions to ensure that you don’t get taken down a path of intervention that doesn’t feel right is important.

But, here’s the thing.


Life throws out shitty curve balls sometimes and that includes during labour and birth.

Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes for no reason, certainly not because you didn’t practice enough, have the right mindset, or were unable to stay calm and relaxed throughout every second of your birth. Definitely not because you didn’t ask the right questions.

Sometimes it’s not about having to alter your plans due to a medical need it can also be unforeseen circumstances like the environment not being as you hoped, the birth pool not being available, or staff shortages preventing you from having the home birth you want, etc.

Sometimes women do nothing to prepare for their birth and still get what they want. How unfair is that?

So, if I can’t give you certainty around getting the birth that you want, what can I give you certainty about?

The answer is the certainty of knowing you can handle it if things don’t go as you hope and the emotional flexibility to ‘roll with the punches’ if needs be.

When it comes to the certainty of knowing you can handle it if things need to change, I am here to tell you that is a given. How can I be so sure? It’s because what you are really wondering when you think about how you will handle it if your birth plans change, is “how will I cope”, and the truth of that is it is a given that you will.

How can I be so certain of that when I don’t even know you?

It’s because you have handled everything life has thrown at you to date, haven’t you?

You may not have wanted to, it may have been awful, you may have wondered if you would ever get through it (whatever ‘it’ is in your situation) and yet you did.

Why is that? The true answer is that you had no choice. Once we are caught up in something difficult, we just have to keep dealing with it until we have got through it.

And we do eventually get through everything don't we? And that will be the same for your birth.

I don’t want you to just ‘get through’ your birth though which is why having emotional flexibility is so important. In particular not getting upset about the upset.

What I mean by that is we have a choice as to whether we add to our distress by being upset that something has ‘happened’, or to accept that things have changed. It doesn’t mean we have to like the fact that our plans have had to change or deny the unfairness of the situation. Getting upset about that whilst in the throes of labour if it happens though (or even during pregnancy if you know ahead of time that your birth plans need to change) is not going to serve you.

Being able to have the emotional flexibility to move to a place of acceptance quickly is the number one super-power that your Wise Hippo techniques and education can give you.

When there is a true medical reason to change our plans, we wouldn’t want to go against that. When the practical stuff doesn’t go our way, we can’t always insist on what we want  no matter what some might tell you, because people can’t magic up what is not there. It doesn’t mean we don’t ask and re-ask and see if there are ways around a situation, what I am saying though is that sometimes we must accept where we are at and take the next best action from a place of strength.

That is when your ability to have a positive mindset will be the most useful, your ability to stay calm and relaxed will most serve you and your confidence to ask questions will give you the best opportunity to look back on your baby’s birth knowing that you did everything that was right for both you and your baby, no matter what kind of ball life decided to throw you way.

If after your baby’s birth you believe that something happened that wasn’t right, then you will also have the emotional strength to reach out and ask for answers.

So, the reality of the situation is this…

If you choose to attend Wise Hippo Birthing classes I can’t give you the certainty of knowing that your birth will always go as you want. I can however give you the certainty of knowing that you can have the right birth on the day.

Dany Griffiths - Creative Director & Co-founder

Comments 3

  1. Great blog and I can totally relate to it! Despite the curve ball given, I will never forget how valuable I found TWH knowledge, tools and techniques to keep me calm and positive when birthing our undiagnosed ‘bottom first’ baby boy! I am forever truly grateful of the programme and my fabulous instructor, Emma- Jane, so much so that I am enrolled on the programme again in November for baby number 2!

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