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03rd Mar 2016

Why I Brought The Positive Birth Movement To Dublin


As soon as your bump pops out, you become a shining beacon for the worst, most toe-curling, terrifying birth stories ever heard.

I remember being pregnant with my first baby, just past the 20 weeks mark and being completely delighted with life. I went for a coffee with someone I really love and respect. She told me the worst birth story I have ever heard (I’ve heard a lot of them since then, and this is still the worst one). I was really taken aback. I thought this person loved and respected me too – why would she tell me this?

I guess a lot of you have been there too?

I remember after I had my beautiful baby boy I wanted to tell the world about the amazing experience I had giving birth to him. How empowered I felt, how amazing I felt, how I was a birthing Goddess…. No one wanted to know that.

I was at a mum and baby yoga class and the teacher, a friend, asked me to tell the class about the birth – how I’d used hypnobirthing and how it had helped. I never got so many dirty looks in one room in my life. Afterwards, I heard someone remark how I thought I was so great when really I was just lucky.

I’ve since learned that that yes, some people have very challenging births and negative experiences. However, loads of people have amazing, empowering, mind-blowing experiences. So, isn’t it time we injected a bit of positivity into the birthing scenario?

If you think about a time when you were preparing for a big and challenging physical task, lets say a marathon, did people automatically presume you would fail? Did they laugh at you and say you were naive and clueless to be even considering such a thing? Did they tell you would need to be ‘managed’ as you took part? Did they tell you if you didn’t complete the challenge within a certain time frame, they would take over and complete it for you? No.

Myself and my friend, Doula and Homeopath Amber Leipner feel quite strongly about this, and so we’ve brought a whole new movement to Dublin.

It’s called the Positive Birth Movement – a global network of meet-ups, started a couple of years ago in the UK by birth activist and author, Milli Hill. It’s a casual, friendly, monthly free meeting at The Elbowroom where you can share and listen to positive birth stories (without dirty looks). A place where you can hear all different positive perspectives about all different births. Just last week we had a beautiful C-section story – the mum told us how she had researched how a Caesarian birth could be made more pleasant and had sought out a care provider who could make that happen for her. She had skin-to-skin contact with her baby. She felt empowered. She’s going to do it again in a few months with twins!

We are inviting mums and dads (please dads?!), professionals, holistic therapists, and anyone with positive stories to come and share how to make your pregnancy and birth more positive.

If a positive pregnancy experience is for you, then get yourself to this meet-up on the last Sunday of every month, check out the deets on Facebook.

Emily McElarney is Hypnobirthing practitioner and pre-natal and post-natal yoga teacher, or on Facebook.