How is Birth like an Olympic Sport?
Let me count the ways.
Think of birth as you have seen it on TV. Not so zen, right?
Now, close your eyes and think of the Olympic Athlete making the same facial expressions, the same screaming and carrying on that we see in Hollywood-portrayed Birth. Right…
The athlete will not win gold, or even make it to the finish line for that matter, if she is not focused, calm, prepared, and supported. Let me say the key elements again: focused, calm, prepared, and supported. Mindset. Yup, it all boils down to mindset.
The mind and the body are interconnected in everything we do, we think, we eat.
Compared to other countries, the U.S. is seriously lacking in all of the most important components to birthing naturally, easier, and more calmly. The number one fail on behalf of Americans preparing for labor is education. Second, culture. Sadly, most women don’t hear about birth until they see it in the movies or on television. Traditionally, in the U.S., speaking of anything birth or “pelvic” -related is taboo. Whereas, in other cultures, sharing birth stories and bonding with other women of all ages over menstruation is the norm.
Imagine, an Olympic Athlete growing up with the ability to run races, ski mountains, or fly from uneven bars… but, never allowed to speak of the desire or the ability to do such amazing things with her body? This is how many American women are raised when it comes to pregnancy and birth. So, when we look at this mindset, we see that preparation for birth starts way before pregnancy is even a thought for a young girl.
It’s never too late to start preparing for pregnancy!
Preparing for pregnancy means you’ll be more prepared for birth. By preparing for birth, I don’t necessarily mean take a class during your pregnancy. Sure, a class is a great idea. But, not just any class! Find a class that best suits the type of birth you are looking for. Ask around for a class that will give you the tools beyond the medicine to have a better birth, no matter how you birth. Anyway, let’s get back to the Olympics.
The competitive athlete has undergone lots of training to get to the Olympics. It’s her lifestyle. She put years into doing the right thing, making the right decisions, and building the right support circle. She had a vision and she went with it.
When it comes to preparing for labor and for giving birth, it starts with a vision. If you envision yourself birthing like in the movies, then you will. The laboring woman in the movie is acting the way she is because she is unprepared, she hasn’t built the right team, and she hasn’t prepared her mind for the big event.
The training an Olympic Athlete undergoes prepares her mind and her body for winning. Sure, there comes the unexpected sometimes but she’s prepared for that, too. Of course, disappointment can meet her along the way but she’s prepared for it. She can look the fear, the change in plan, or the disappointment in the eye and take on the challenge. So can a woman prepared for labor and birth.
When we fully prepare our minds for anything that can happen, nothing is unexpected.
Olympic Athletes are active, no doubt. There’s more to it though. Being active during pregnancy is important, too. But, again, there’s more to it!
Olympians eat a healthy diet as a lifestyle. If it were up to a lot of pregnant women, they would live on french fries and cheeseburgers. I mean, why not? You get the much needed salt for your thyroid, calcium from the cheese, carbs for energy, and protein for you and baby. But… a meal like that is actually not very nutritious, and is usually too heavy for the average pregnant woman. A meal like this will lead to heartburn, the feeling of bloating, and constipation.
When you’re pregnant, you are training for a major physical endeavor– labor and birth. And postpartum, otherwise known as the fourth trimester. An Olympian cannot eat heavy foods that are hard to digest, are low in nutrients, that will cause physical discomforts. She does not have room for these foods in her lifestyle. Instead, during pregnancy or training for an event, we should eat foods that will encourage more energy, better physical well-being, and the highest nutrient-density per bite.
Choosing healthy foods now is preparing your body to work hard during labor and to recover more easily post-baby.
No Olympian gets there on her own. Nope. She does the hard work, of course. Behind her though is a team. That team helps her stay focused. The team has her back when fear sets in. The team is her outside looking in from the sidelines. Without her team, the Olympian won’t break her own records because she doesn’t have the time, the resources, the how-to because she is in it.
As your health coach and doula, I am the team member who is on the sidelines every step of the way. I see things you can’t see, from the medical, the holistic, and the mother perspective. I have the tools, the resources, and the experience to guide you to have a better experience, no matter how you birth. Don’t try to do it alone.
Just like that Olympian with the gold medal,
you are the rockstar!
To learn more about preparing for your pregnancy or your birth like an Olympic Medalist,
schedule your complimentary consultation today!
It’s never too late to get started. I look forward to hearing from you!