The transition from having a baby inside your belly to having a baby on top of your belly is an amazing and exhausting experience. My mom had four natural births, and I grew up on a farm around sheep giving birth to lambs every spring, so I assumed that I would do natural birth as well.
When I was six months pregnant, I came across more information about the Bradley method of natural childbirth (see more at: The Bradley Method Website), and my husband and I signed up for a class that ended on November 14. The empowerment I felt from learning how labor functions and how my body works during labor gave me strength to not hardly be afraid of the pain of giving birth to a child. Dr. Bradley believed that women can give birth naturally most of the time if they’re given support and good coaching; he designated the coach to be the baby’s father.
The Bradley Method gives you a lot more homework than most birthing classes. I had to watch my diet and eat lots of protein. I had to do daily exercises, such as Kegel exercises and pelvic rocks. My husband and I were supposed to practice relaxation techniques and labor rehearsals (these were harder to fit in because we were finishing up the floors in our home—going from old beige carpet to maple laminate floors; we did some almost every day.) We attended seven weeks of classes, up until our due date of November 7. Having to do all this homework gave me the mindset that I owned my birthing experience and could greatly influence it by my actions and attitudes instead of it being something done to me. Having to work together to prepare for the labor brought my husband and I closer together. We describe the labor as “our labor” not just “my labor.”