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The Tale of Two Bears and Birth

Updated: Mar 7

At all times, we have two mindsets, two voices, arguing in our heads. These voices weigh up the pros and cons of decision making - in cartoons they are usually portrayed as a little angel and a little devil - a good voice and a bad voice.

But instead I want you to think of these voices as two bears fighting.

These two bears fighting are locked in a battle, an eternal, internal struggle.

One Bear is full of hope, love, courage, generosity, truth, empathy, positivity, faith and so on.

The other Bear is full of regret, doubt, fear, insecurities, anger, arrogance, negativity and sorrow.

So which Bear wins the fight?

The answer is simple - the one that you feed.

In preparing for your birth, are you feeding the negative bear or the positive one? Which mindset is driving your decision making for birth? Is it a mindset based on fear and doubt, or one of courage, positivity and hope?

If you have been feeding the negative bear, don't worry. You are not alone. When it comes to birth, we spend most of our life feeding the negative bear. And it is not entirely our fault. We are told scary birth stories and we hang onto every detail - our brains remember as part of a survival mechanism. A bit like being told that fires are bad and dangerous, we remember so as not to hurt ourselves. We also end up thinking after a while that birth is bad and dangerous.

In fact, birth is no more risky than any other thing in life.

"Birth is as safe as life gets" - Harriette Hartigan.

If we think about it driving a car is risky, as it going for a swim in the sea, or climbing a hill. There is a chance we could get hurt or die in a worst case scenario - and unfortunately birth is the same - it is a fact of life that nothing is risk free.

But birth is actually very safe. The still birth rate for Scotland for the last 50 years has been 0.5%, and in 2022 was 0.4% so to reverse that, there is a 99.6% chance that wont happen! Taking into account other complications: early neonatal death, neonatal encephalopathy, meconium aspiration syndrome, and specified birth related injuries including brachial plexus injury the numbers are still low: 4.3 per 1000 births or 0.43%. (And it is worth noting here, that risk usually increases when we enter a hospital environment. Studies show the safest place to birth a baby is a midwife led unit or at home!)