When I gave birth to my son in 2014, I couldn't imagine anyone but Greg being there. I didn't want family or friends there whilst I was giving birth, just my partner. Turns out, I didn't really need him there either and I ignored him the whole time and went into the 'birth zone'. Now, I am pregnant with my second, and likely to be my last, I know exactly what I want. First time round you have no clue with what is about to happen and most of your information comes from watching nine months of One Born Every Minute. My birth was certainly not like the movies either, and resulted me staying in the hospital for seven days. So, this time round I had a plan.
Greg, unlike most men, prefers to be down the end where the action is, so it can get lonely at the top. I felt I needed some support, mainly emotionally, this time round so I decided on having a second person with me. I know some may say it is a very personal time for a couple, as they are welcoming their child into the world, but I needed another female. The solidarity, the unity and basically the kickass power another strong female brings - that's what I needed. But the more I've thought about it, the more confused I was about picking who would get this amazing job of watching me push a human out? I mean really who could refuse?!
I am very lucky and surrounded by some amazing ladies. My Nan for one brought me up and is a force in her own right. One of the besties, is going to be on honey moon and is also scared of blood so she got a free pass. I also have a group of girls who I have been friends with since school who are some of the strongest, kindest and most brilliant people I know. Then there were my mum friends who had done it before, knew what was going to happen, perhaps the experience would help? I was confused. I was also slightly worried about asking one of them to be my birth partner in case they turned around and went, 'Oh hell no, I don't want to see that'. I mean who does?! I was undecided, maybe it should just be me and Greg?
Having the birth I wanted began to consume my thoughts, so I started researching what kind of birth of wanted. I had heard and seen a lot of about hypnobirthing, so this was what I wanted to do. Greg did not really get on board with it shall we say, so it was preserve on my lonesome or finally pick my birth partner. There was one person who right from the beginning would have been perfect. I had met her last year and she was the right amount of crazy, pushy, organised (on a OCD level) and loving. When I was feeling sorry for myself (flashback to last time when I was crying/ throwing up in the toilet whimpering to Greg I couldn't do it), she would soon snap me out of it. She was also on board for the hypno-birthing. Just one small thing to add. I met her on Instagram.
Now, I know what you are thinking, that she is likely to be a 50-year-old man called Dave with a tache. But, I have met her before, so technically we are now not strangers. In fact the whole family went on a little staycation with her in her house for four days (much to Greg's horror who thought we would never be seen again). So far, we have not been killed by the lady I met on the internet! We had initially connected on Instagram after I posted a very controversial article I had written about breastfeeding other people's children. Let's say we didn't agree and I thought that would be it. However, this then turned into a bit of a Insta relationship and we then met in London a couple of months later. We have attended a few blog meet ups, and I am around 99.9% sure she is not a man called Dave now. We talk every day, and from the minute she found out I was pregnant she was scouring the internet for baby stuff, checking in, remembering when all my appointments were and reminding me to take my tablets each night! There was only one small problem. She lived 100 miles away, would this even work? How would Greg feel?
We still have a few months to go before we find out, but hey we have a plan. As soon as I asked her, she began to make plans to make this happen. I really couldn't ask for a more organised and committed person to give birth in front of! Will it be weird that I will be giving birth with someone I met on the Internet? Maybe, but no more so than anyone else you give birth in front of. Greg isn't too fussed, after all he knows her too. I think he also knows she will be giving me something he perhaps cannot. This time round he knows I mean business and I think it scares him slightly so he is letting me get on with it! Do my friends and family think it is odd? Perhaps they do, but if someone told me they are having the person they met of the internet attend the birth of their child I might too!
Giving birth last time, was the both the best and worst time of my life. So, this time I am determined to surround myself with strength and positivity and have an empowered birth experience (I am aware how corny this is sounding!) And if that means having someone I met of Instagram with me, then so be it! After all, it is my choice, my body, my decision, and my birth, and like to stubborn mother I now am, I will have it all.
I am always in two minds about social media, it is both amazing at connecting you with someone who you would have never met otherwise and who go onto become huge part of your life. On the other hand, you will be open to judgement, negative comments, but that's what you have to swallow when you choose to share an insight of your life/opinion for all to see. There is also a risk, a danger and there are some horror stories about meeting people online. I think sometimes you do feel more comfortable talking and sharing with what essentially begins with a complete stranger than some of your friends and family. I know I have gained a huge confidence by sharing my life/ experiences online, but still worry when friends and family read them with what they think. At the end of the day I think when a woman gives birth it boils down to what she wants. This is her body, her experience. She may want to do it alone, with a football team watching, at the bus stop, in a hospital or in her own house but it is down to her and only her. So yes, I will be having my partner and someone I met on the internet attend the birth of my second child. But I am happy with this, so that's all that matters.
P.S. I am in no way endorsing you asking random strangers of the internet to watch you give birth as they really could be a man called Dave with a tache!