We hear all the time in the birth world, “when you eliminate fear, you eliminate pain” and “confidence is the most important factor in a successful birth”, and so many other wonderful (and true) platitudes for ensuring good birth outcomes. But there’s a problem with them. And that problem is that they are vague and, honestly, kind of self-evident (or, at least, I think they are). Of course fear is something you want to avoid to have a successful birth. Of course low confidence is going to affect your experience.
So how do we really get to the core of the matter? Well, I think I might’ve thought of one way. Indulge me for a sec. Take a moment to try and define confidence for yourself. What does it look like to you? How do you get it? Pretty hard to do, right? Now take another moment and try to think of a few insecurities you have. I betcha it’s a lot easier to think of those. When you try to work on something as abstract as confidence without identifying what hinders it, you’re not going to get very far. But if you turn it on its head and compassionately observe what insecurities you have (without judging yourself for having them), you might find out more about yourself.
Now, I’m not trying to be a Negative Nelly here. It’s not about fixating on the “bad” parts of ourselves. A friend of mine has a great theory that we all have the same amount of confidence. It just gets clouded up, like a lovely silver dish, by a patina of insecurities. We each have to do the work, all the time, of polishing and buffing away those parts of ourselves that encroach on our true beauty, so that we can use our confidence as a tool to steer us in the right direction. And there’s no better time to do that deep polishing work than when you’re about to welcome a new life into the world through your own body.
So, that’s what I do. One of my jobs as your doula is to help you identify your insecurities. To provide the cloths, so to speak, for you to work on giving your confidence the polish we both know it has the potential of having. To prepare for birth, we’ll talk. We might talk a lot. We’ll talk about what you’re looking forward to, what you might be worried about, and we’ll do the same for your partner if you have one. So when the birth rolls around, those sneaky insecurities you have on your beautiful confidence are kind of irrelevant. Your confidence will serve you through birth, parenthood, and the rest of your life as long as you keep working on your insecurities. And that beautiful silver dish is a priceless heirloom – something that you can pass down through generations.