While parenting is filled with many highs and lows, nothing compares to the insurmountable love and joy it brings. And for moms, they will surely agree that it’s a love affair that knows no age or limits. That’s why this breastfeeding month, we’re taking time to honor all the devoted and passionate moms who make the world a better place to live. Get to know our mom of the month, child birth educator Thammie Sy as she shares a closer look at pregnancy, child birth, and how to make motherhood feel less scary.
Four unmedicated and natural childbirths brought Thammie Sy to formalize her passion for helping mothers through birthing, childcare, and parenting. “I want other moms to have beautiful, empowering experiences as well. There is no one way to have a beautiful and empowering birth. One thing we can all have though no matter our birth experience is the right attitude and mindset towards it,” says the US-certified doula and childbirth educator.
“It is my desire to help parents establish the right perspective about birth by giving them a better understanding of what happens during birth so they can make informed choices regarding throughout the process. And by equipping them with skills to help prepare them for labor and birth.”
Here are Thammie’s eight pregnancy and childbirth tips for every mom, and even dad!
1. Healthy pregnancy, healthy labor. This was one thing I should have taken seriously when I was pregnant. I made progress, in the sense that I became healthier and healthier with each succeeding pregnancy. If I had known then what I know now about the role of nutrition and exercises in preparing my body and in helping increase baby’s likelihood of positioning himself/herself optimally, I would have maintained a healthier diet and I would have done prenatal exercises to condition my body for labor and birth better.
2. Know how to filter what you hear and read. With all the information available to us now, we have to know which are reliable sources of information. I remember I used to panic after spending more time than I should have on Google and Facebook. There are many opinions and voices when it comes to your pregnancy and childbirth. Though most do raise valid points in their own right, you have to know which ones are aligned with your values and context, and which ones are not. We also have to understand that our story is unique, and one is not better than the other.
3. Use this time to discuss with your husband/partner how you want your family to be once baby comes. There will be more changes once baby arrives. Now would be a good time to discuss and have a vision for your family. What is most important to you? What are your negotiables and non-negotiables? How will baby change the dynamics of your current set of priorities and your schedule? What lifestyle adjustments would you need to start making now before your baby comes?
4. Be wise about where you spend your money. There are so many new innovations now that are geared towards helping moms, babies, and even dads enjoy their transition to parenthood and having a newborn. I use the word “enjoy”, because most of these products really do give us parents a sense of “wow, this is so nice to have!” But we have to know which ones are must-haves, and which ones are really just nice to have. Invest in a few essential must-haves, and more importantly, invest in building skills and knowledge and in your relationships.
5. Tune in. With all the changes in our pregnant bodies plus the necessary preparations we have to think of as our estimated time of giving birth draws near, it is not a surprise for many us to feel overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions. We are concerned with the baby who is still inside the womb, at the same time we are already thinking of how it will be like once he/she finally comes out. We are coping with the changes that pregnancy brings to our bodies, at the same time we are thinking about whether or not we can cope with the coming labor, or how we would be able to cope. Instead of ignoring all these emotions and thoughts, it is good to tune in and take time to explore and evaluate those feelings with your partner/husband, as well as birth professionals such as your care provider (OB or midwife), a doula, or a childbirth educator. Taking time to process your thoughts and emotions will make a huge difference in how you approach your birth and adjust to baby’s arrival.
6. Value having a birth team. During the time of our ancestors, giving birth was more than just getting a baby out of one’s womb. They knew that giving birth is like a rite of passage for parents. It is a celebration of life. As such, the mothers were surrounded by a community of people who supported and empowered her--body, mind, and spirit. We need to surround ourselves with a birth team we can trust and whom we know will support us in the same way that previous generations did for their new mothers. Choose care providers (obstetricians or midwives) who support the kind of birth you wish to have and whom you can trust--no matter how your labor progresses and how your birth story plays out. Communicate with your husband/partner and get him involved as much as possible. Your partner plays a key role before, during, and after labor. Consider getting a doula who can provide physical, emotional, and informational support throughout your labor and who can advocate for you and your partner. Connect with like-minded parents whom you can exchange notes with and even those who have more experience and so can encourage you as you go through the challenging moments of birth and parenting.
7. Prepare a birth plan. A birth plan is your vision for birth, written out and communicated with your birth team. It is a letter stating your wishes and preferences for birth. There you will describe the kind of management you wish to have, how you desire to cope with your labor, who you want to be involved in your birth, the kind of environment you want to birth in. A birth plan will help you, your partner, and your care provider clarifies and align your goals and beliefs and would help serve as a guide in making decisions during labor itself. A good birth plan will lay out options that would take into consideration variations in labor, should circumstances arise that would require a change of plans.
8. Attend a birth class. Ever since I gave birth to my firstborn, I would always tell my pregnant friends to attend a childbirth class. Knowledge is indeed power when it comes to giving birth. And when I talk about knowledge translating to power, I mean it almost in a literal sense. Much of the pain women experience come from their fears and anxieties; and much of their fears and anxieties are influenced by either a lack of knowledge or a lack of skill. I have seen how the atmosphere and calm during labor can potentially affect its progress, and how reduced fear increases a woman’s ability to cope with her labor. Birth classes help you embrace the right mindset, provide you with sufficient knowledge, and equip you with the necessary skills to help prepare you for your labor and birth experience.
As much as we love the role of being a mom, knowledge and proper preparation are crucial to ensure you always have it together from pregnancy to child birth. That’s why for Thammie, having a reliable sanitary pad product as one of her everyday essentials help her to keep going and to stay on top of her game!
“As a wife, a mom, a homeschool teacher, a speaker, and now a student pursuing another diploma, a childbirth educator, and a doula, I need to manage not just my time, but my energy levels as well. I used to have terrible dysmenorrhea and could not function well on the days leading up to my period, more so during my period,” says Thammie.
“Ever since I tried Jeunesse Anion, I have been loyal to it and have been recommending it to my friends. I do not remember the last time I experienced menstrual cramps or the last time I was confined to my bed because of my period. I could not imagine being able to stand for long hours during my classes and provide continuous labor support to parents if I was still experiencing the pain and loss of energy I used to experience before.”
Follow Thammie Sy at @birthingbeginningsph and birthingbeginnigs.com
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