Cheryl MacDonald, perinatal yoga teacher and childbirth educator explains why we need to throw out the rule book when it comes to birth.

Having trained in hypnobirthing; written my own natural childbirth education programme and used natural birthing techniques myself, I have a few suggestions to keep in mind…

Optimism is key, but don’t be disappointed

Being a prenatal yoga teacher and antenatal educator, I was eternally optimistic about the birth of my first son. I prepared for my birth using a well-known birth hypnosis programme (which I also taught to other mums) and was 100% prepared to be silent, peaceful and pain free during my birth. I practiced religiously every day for nine months, and then my birth was nothing like I had planned.

Now I have to quantify this and say that I had the most amazing, beautiful, natural and speedy birth (around 5 hours start to finish). But I didn’t look like the serene ladies in the hyonobirth videos that promised me a silent and pain free birth.

However, I cannot say that my birth was painful. My birth was at worst uncomfortable and at points, damn hard work. At times I was meditative, breathing deeply, loudly, oblivious to anyone other than my baby, absorbed in my birth. Other times I was pumping with adrenaline talking to my baby: “Come on little guy!! We can do this, come on little man I love you I love you so much!”

Giving birth is the most amazing, rewarding experience I have ever had. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, the main thing is that gorgeous little person that you have to love for the rest of your life at the end of it.