Why do we as women so often discount ourselves? Why do we underestimate our abilities, our strengths, our bodies? Why do we lean into fear so often instead of trusting our bodies, our intuition, and our given abilities?

When it comes to the birthing process, we have been taught by society from a young age that we will need to depend on others to extract our babies, that it will be a terrible, difficult process; and we know that we will be constantly checked to see what scary things may be wrong at each stage of our pregnancy and birthing journey. We couldn’t possibly support our own babies through this powerful rite of passage naturally, could we?

What if there was an alternative narrative? What if our bodies were designed to have a baby? What if we knew that our bodies were so amazing that they can take two microscopic cells, put them together, and create a human being? What if we knew that the physiology in our body was such that it knew what to do at each and every stage of labour if we were just taught the skills of how to work with it instead of against it, releasing the fear that impedes the process?

As a birth educator and perinatal Doctor of Chiropractic for 20 years, I have seen countless women come through my offices scared, dependent and unknowledgeable about their pregnancy and impending birth. Trusting that the system has it all figured out, and that someone, somehow, will tell them what to do and how to get through this experience as it is happening.

Don’t get me wrong, I have also worked full-time medical in the third world for years and I have seen the issues that can arise when maternal care is not available at all. There is always a need for top quality obstetrical care to be available. However, I have also seen how when not given these options at every turn, a woman can trust her body and lean into the natural process that is designed to occur.

With three natural labours* (two home births) under my belt as a young mom, doula, and doctor, I started teaching Natural Labour and Delivery classes based on physiology, anatomy, empowerment, and the interplay of the mind, the nervous system, and the muscular system. Since then, I have had the blessing of attending and hearing about the positive natural birth stories of hundreds of women. My passion for women to be able to experience natural labour and deliveries has grown over the years and the thrill of teaching women how to understand their bodies from a physiological perspective so they understand why and how they too can trust their bodies has been amazing!

How can you start to understand the natural birth process? How can you break down the walls of fear that society has placed on you? How can you start to trust that your body was designed to have a baby? To love your body that is going to give you this amazing human life made in your likeness? To believe in yourself and to trust that you are strong enough, powerful enough, and brave enough?

Start with these key points:

  1. Believe in yourself! You can do this! Your body was designed to have a baby. Trust in your body’s wisdom for the process to unfold.
  2. Understand the process. Educate yourself not just about pregnancy and baby care but more importantly the stages of labour, contractions, the birthing process, and how to handle each stage. Seek out prenatal education that teaches you the skills needed to “complete the marathon” victorious and proud.
  3. Work on identifying your fears and your partner’s fears regarding labour and delivery.
  4. Let go of the FEAR. Research those fears… are they warranted? What are the odds of your fear happening? Do you need to be consumed by them or could your mental energy be better used on visualizing your amazing birth?!
  5. Watch natural home or hospital births online, not just difficult deliveries.
  6. Ensure pelvic balance through prenatal chiropractic care.
  7. Talk to people who have had great births.
  8. Surround yourself with supportive practitioners, friends, and family
  9. Be prepared but don’t focus on the potential problems
  10. Practice, practice, practice relaxation techniques, meditations, supportive postures, pelvic floor awareness

Know that whatever the outcome, you did your best and be proud of yourself! Trust your body, let go of anxieties and fear, prepare, and enjoy. YOU GOT THIS MAMA!

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Cheryl van der Mark’s Natural Labour and Delivery Classes, please contact the clinic!

Dr. Cheryl van der Mark B.Sc., D.C. F.I.C.P.A. is a perinatal and paediatric chiropractor in Waterdown, Ontario, Canada. She runs a multidisciplinary health care clinic serving pregnant women, postpartum moms, and paediatrics through chiropractic care, naturopathic medicine, physiotherapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, and counselling. She has attended multiple beautiful home births and hospital births, and has taught hundreds of women how to handle natural labour and delivery in a practical way. She also works as a medical coordinator of a health care facility in Haiti where she has attended natural and emergency births.