Posts Tagged ‘birth doula’

If you don’t pee in front of your partner, think twice about having him at the birth of your baby.

July 21, 2016


We are on a girlie week-end, climbing hills in the Derbyshire dales, and staying in a bed and breakfast. We are all escaping motherhood for a day or two. Over breakfast one morning, a conversation begins about peeing in the company of our husbands. I am surprised to hear a few women say they have never had a pee with their husband in the room. It turns out they have never broken wind in front of him either. I kind of think this is an awesome feat of bodily control that I wouldn’t be able to achieve!  It reminded me of how different we all are.

But it got me thinking, that if you feel embarrassed to go to the loo with your partner in the room, what must it be like to try to have a baby with him in the room? Having a baby is not particularly alluring, it involve body parts, it involves smells and noises, it is not “lady like” particularly, or “sexy”.

I have been thinking these things for a while, but not had the courage to write them down. There is something, even in our modern day liberated lives, that is not okay about writing about women’s bodies as functional rather than objects of desire. So, as you read this, notice any discomfort you might feel, and ask yourself “why is it not okay to read about my body in this way?”

Dbirth stool labouro you pee in front of your husband? Do you change your sanitary wear in front of him? Do you break wind in his presence? Do you orgasm freely and loudly with him? If so, birthing in front of him might be easier. Because birthing is about your body parts, and it is about things coming out of your body, and it is about letting your body be released from your mental inhibitions.

To orgasm freely, we need to feel uninhibited. We need to feel that we are not being judged or watched, to not feel self-conscious. Birth is the same. I’m not talking about orgasmic, hippy dippy births (yes, orgasmic births actually exist). I’m talking about all births without drugs, or knives. Because your body needs the hormone “oxytocin” to birth without a drug or a knife, and oxytocin disappears if we feel judged, self-conscious or worried.

So, it stands to reason that if you get very self-conscious at the thought of your partner seeing you being anything other than sexy and alluring, you might struggle with his presence at the birth. You might not want him to see you grunting or sweating. You might not want him to see you breaking wind, weeing, or even letting out a little poo. Having some-one in the room, who makes you feel anxious or inhibited is not good for birth. So think very carefully about your partner’s presence, and if you’re not sure, then  my advice is to address it, discuss it, think about it, as part of your birth preparation. Sophie Fletcher, in her book  Mindful Hypnobirthing, is one of the few birthing books to even talk about the fact that he doesn’t have to be there. It is a choice. If you know that you do want him there, prepare for that. The Mindful Mamma classes spend a lot of time of partners’ role. Learn how he can help you to elicit and release your oxytocin via his connection and love. Mark Harris talks about this in his book “Men, Love and Birth”. Ina May Gaskin maintains that the kissing that got baby in there, can get baby out too 🙂 Michel Odent argues that men’s presence in the birthing room might account for the rise in intervention. There’s no right and wrong. As I said at the beginning, we are all so different. But if you’re preparing for your birth, don’t prepare without addressing what it’ll be like for you to have him there, and what role he is going to play.

Mia Scotland

Birth Doula and Mindful Mamma hypnobirthing practitioner


“I’m scared I’m going to harm my baby…”

April 28, 2016

mia brochure photoWhat do you say when you hear the words “I’m terrified that I’m going to harm my baby”

Those words are ones that would be hard to say if you’re a mother. But if you’re a professional, be it a midwife, a health visitor, a doula or a counsellor, they can be hard to hear too. Those words represent an ultimate taboo.  A mother wanting to harm her own baby…..

But just wait a minute. If you are very astute, you will have spotted my deliberate error there. Can you see it? They are not the same thing. “I’m terrified I’m going to harm my baby” is not the same as “I want to harm my baby”.

If you hear a mother say “I’m terrified I’m going to harm my baby” the chances are she is suffering from an anxiety disorder, and she is not a danger to her baby. She is about as dangerous as some-one with fear of heights, who stands near(ish) a cliff and says “I’m terrified I’m going to jump off”.  You wouldn’t call the crisis team in this instance would you? Instead, you might say “no you’re not, you’re just scared”. It’s the same with mothers. If a mother is anxious (and especially if she is suffering from perinatal or maternal Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) then she might talk about suffocating her baby, but she can be reassured that she isn’t mad or bad, she is scared.  And of course, if you make the mistake of reacting like she is mad or bad, and call the crisis team, you certainly aren’t going to ease her anxiety!

To find out more about perinatal mental health problems, come to my workshop for birthing professionals on Friday 10th June 2016. For details, click here 

Mia Scotland, Author of “Why Perinatal Depression Matters” and Perinatal Clinical Psychologist.

Whose job is it to keep chemicals away from babies?

June 5, 2013

So, women have today been “advised” by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists” to “play it safe” when it comes to exposure to chemicals. I would like to “advise” the Royal College of Obstetriciams and Gynaecologists to “play it safe” when it comes to messing with a pregnant mother’s mind.
I would like ask the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to consider exactly how a woman might avoid chemicals in our world that is simply littered with them? Bags, soaps, creams, packaging, babies’ bottles, best selling baby shampoos, the list goes on. Why are women being “warned” to avoid the impossible, but society is allowed to continue to produce them and market them as safe? Is this really a pregnant woman’s job to have to worry about this? Is it not hard enough, worrying about whether or not you got enough folic acid, whether or not you can eat cream cheese, prawns, hotdogs, one glass or none of wine. This is not a pregnant woman’s job, it is society’s job. Society needs to step up and look after the wellbeing of our pregnant women, not heap more responsibility and blame onto them.
No-where is this more important than in the area of protecting a pregnant woman from excessive stress. I won’t go into the research here, but trust me, it matters that pregnant women and new mothers are looked after psychologically. Notice, that I don’t say it matters that a women avoids excessive stress. In my view, it is not her responsibility to avoid stress, because to ask a woman to do this is asking the impossible, and laying the guilt at her door. It is as unhelpful as asking her to avoid chemicals. It is our responsibility as a society to protect her from stress.
And thus, I rest my case. Please, Royal Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, do not heap more stress, anxiety and responsibility on the already burdened shoulders of pregnant women (especially as you have followed up the advice with a statement that you have no idea if they actually are even damaging to baby in the first place. Getting ridiculously unhelpful now.). Please, Royal Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, make a statement about society’s need to address the potential issue of dangerous chemicals in household items, including mother and baby products, and those used in the actual hospitals. And then you might want to go on to urge the government to prioritise maternity provision to incorporate emotional wellbeing, so that we can, as a whole, create a healthy future generation. That would make my job as a birth doula, and a support for pregnant mums, redundant. Roll on that time…
mia brochure photo