As a birth doula I believe that how we give birth matters. Not just in the moment but long term; not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Anecdotes abound of Alzheimer's patients who are still able to recount their own personal birth stories when everything else has left them, so it is safe to say that how we give birth can impact us in ways that are deep and long-lasting.
Why is this? Research shows that the way we experience and perceive our births has significant impacts on a number of facets of our postpartum mental health identifying that birthers who experienced positive birth support had highly significant (i.e. statistically significant) decreases in both anxiety and depression and highly significant increase in self-esteem at 6 weeks postpartum. Highly significant findings regarding satisfaction with a birther's partner have also been noted through various studies, showing that a positively supported birth can have a significantly positive impact on how birthing couples feel towards one another immediately after their baby was born and into the postpartum period. Finally, those who experienced a positively supported birth noted highly significant increases in their perceptions of their babies and of their relationships with their babies.
So what does all this mean? When it comes to thinking about family dynamics and attachment structure, a positively supported birth experience can statistically improve a birther's perception of themselves, their partner, and their baby which can then lead to improved family dynamics, the creation of healthy and secure attachment styles between birther and baby, and an overall positive path forward for their family as they continue to grow together.
To me, this is such an incredibly beautiful and long-lasting outcome that a positive birth can help impact. As a doula, I am there to support you through the physical, mental and emotional challenges of your labor, to try and help you achieve all the birth wishes that are important to you - but deep in my heart, this is truly what I hope for for you -
... a birth that leaves you feeling like you can achieve anything...
... a birth that leaves you with an increased sense of trust and connection in your partner and your relationship...
... a birth that leaves you with a deep sense of love and attachment to your baby...
... a birth that you will revel in until you are old and grey...
That is what I hope for you.
Lindsey, Birth Doula, CD(DONA)
Read: The Doula Book by Marshall H. Klaus, MD, John H. Kennell, MD and Phyllis H. Klaus, MFT, LMSW
Lindsey is a DONA certified birth doula in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA