If you’re pregnant, you probably have a million questions. And whether this is your first baby, or your fourth, it’s highly likely that one of them is: how can I have a positive birth experience? In fact, you might be wondering if this is even possible, since there are so many negative and downright scary stories and images of birth in today’s world.
Step forward The Positive Birth Movement (PBM)! Back in 2012, based on my own experiences as a mum, writer and doula, I set up PBM. I’m delighted that the organisation is now a huge network of groups all around the world, where mums-to-be come together to connect with each other, listen to positive birth stories, and learn about their many options and rights in the birth room. Best of all, the PBM groups are all completely free to attend – and there is no catch!
So, what is ‘positive birth’?
It’s not as many believe a ‘natural’ or drug free’ birth. Instead, ‘positive birth’ is where a woman feels she has the freedom of choice and access to accurate information she deserves. She also has the feeling she’s in control, is powerful and is respected. Whatever your personal choice, PBM is focused on helping you to approach birth realistically. You’ll feel you have genuine choice, whether you opt for a home or hospital birth, with or without medication or have a caesarean or a water birth.
Positive Birth Experience with PBM
The groups are open to all and whilst they are sometimes ‘women only’, many welcome dads and partners too. Unlike traditional antenatal classes, the learning is ‘peer to peer’, which basically means that women learn from each other rather than from a teacher or expert. The organisation believes that this is a great way to achieve their two main aims; firstly, to challenge the negativity that surrounds modern birth, and secondly, to change birth for the better.
The groups, which usually meet once a month, discuss a set topic, for example, ‘Planning for birth’, ‘Dads and Partners’, or ‘Oxytocin’. At the group, participants focus on this topic but often branch out into discussions on their own situation or needs. Often, a past group member will come and tell their birth story. All of the groups are connected by being under the PBM umbrella, and are linked up by social media. This creates a huge conversation and network of support and information!
The Positive Birth Movement is not about ‘natural birth’ or ‘home birth’. They support women in all of their choices and situations. PBM also believe that any birth can be made more positive if the woman is at the centre of the decision-making process and is treated with kindness, dignity and respect.
To find your nearest PBM group visit their website.
PBM founder Milli Hill has written a comprehensive guide for pregnant women, The Positive Birth Book. Available from Amazon and all good book sellers.