Birth Matters: Tips For An Empowering Delivery – No Matter The Method.

While hospital births were the norm for previous generations, the early 2000’s saw a rise in interventions, complications, and traumatic birth experiences, leading expectant mothers to fight against the medicalization of pregnancy and push for more informed, consent-led birth. The “natural birth” phenomenon took the world by controversial storm and – to my knowledge – remains a popular option today.

While I’ve seen many benefits to this shift, I’ve also been left feeling concerned by it. My own unmedicated birth experience did not go as planned and I can’t help but wish I’d been more well-rounded in my planning. I naively thought it best to ignore the possibility of other outcomes because so much of birth is mental. If I allowed myself to consider other options I would be more likely to “give up” when things got tough, right? I opted for a birthing center because I didn’t even want the temptation of an epidural. I was so fearful of interventions because they often cascade into the need for a c-section (horror of horrors!). I spent hours preparing my mind and body for an unmedicated labor, but when push came to shove lacked the ability to process the birth experience I was handed.

Sadly, I believe an empowering birth was still within my reach. Had I been more prepared and worked through *all* of my fears, not just those related to my planned birth, I think It’s possible I could have had a very peaceful, non-traumatic emergency caesarean. So, expectant or hopeful moms, I’m writing this for you. My prayer is for every mama to have a good birth experience – regardless of delivery method.

Tip 1

Educate yourself on all types of birth and make peace with the options. I found birth affirmations to be very helpful during my unmedicated labor. I would repeat quotes and scripture to myself and it was very helpful for maintaining a calm, determined spirit. The problem? Most of my affirmations were focused on my body’s ability to succeed and in my mind, directly related to “natural birth”.

“Just as a woman’s heart knows how & when to pump, her lungs to inhale, & her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when & how to give birth.”

“The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

“Be strong & do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” – 2 Chronicles 15:7

“My body is strong and capable”

I still think these are great affirmations, and if I had already been prepared to use these same affirmations while being transferred to a hospital, getting an epidural, needing pitocin, an episiotomy, vacuum-assisted delivery, and eventually caesarean they could have been very effective. 😉 Instead, they left me feeling like a bit of a defeated failure questioning what went wrong and why my body betrayed me. What I wish I would have done, is prepare specific affirmations to be used in each case. Some of my favorites that I will be using for any future children are:

“Abdominal birth is a valid birth”

“A positive experience outweighs a perfect one”

“I am partnering with my team to make the safest choices for me and my baby.”

“I am a mother and willing to do whatever is necessary to bring my baby safely home.”

Tip 2

If possible, seek out people you trust and listen to their stories. Ask questions or seek their advice. Now, some people just like to throw a scary story at you – hence the emphasis on people you trust. Another options is to run a google search on positive unmedicated delivery stories, positive caesarean stories, and positive epidural/induction birth stories.

Taking some Nitrous Oxide for pain relief while pushing a few hours before our hospital transfer.

Birth trauma most commonly happens when a mother feels a lack of control, a lack of caring, or a lack of communication with her team. Not only will hearing other stories help you feel more prepared and peaceful about a delivery, but you might just hear some great advice that will guide you during unexpected changes to your delivery. An added bonus – you will have people to confide in, cry to, laugh with, or whatever else you need to process postpartum. During my pregnancy I only spoke to mothers who labored at home or in birthing centers and was hesitant to share my plans with others because I knew it was controversial. After Shilohs birth none of the women I had previously confided in could understand my experience and many seemed unsure how to talk to me. Thankfully, I was able to find a few women who had also had a c-section and could commiserate with them about my delivery and healing.

Tip 3

This one is up to you, but don’t feel like you can only seek out positive stories. I myself had a traumatic birth that required a lot of healing, but guess what…there were parts of it that were beautiful and peaceful. Ironically, in the most chaotic parts I felt so assured that God was upholding me and taking care of us while simultaneously experiencing grief that things were not going as planned. Now I’m passionate about helping other women be better prepared for birth and motherhood while feeling confident and empowered in their decisions.

Tip 4

Prepare a birth plan for the delivery you want, but also prepare one for a caesarean and discuss this with your support team (spouse, doula, parent, etc.) A c-section is not something you need to fear or focus on – your body will have to heal and recover no matter how you birth, and you will be amazed at how strong you are, but it can help you feel more peace and control knowing your team is aware of your preferences for baby and equipped to support you. You could even write down those birth affirmations or scriptures I mentioned above and have them read those over you or remind you of them in the moment. Here are some common abdominal birth preference ideas you may not be aware are options:

In case of caesarean I’d like:

  • A moment alone with my husband to process/pray prior to surgery if possible
  • My husband to be in the room with me
  • Skin-to-skin contact, delayed cord clamping, and breastfeeding as soon as possible – if possible
  • To try providing expressed milk or breastfeeding before formula is offered
  • Someone from my team to accompany baby to NICU or for any treatments or tests

Tip 5

Hire a doula! A doula is a professional labor companion who can provide physical and emotional support to both you and your spouse before, during, and after birth. Studies have shown that doulas can help cut down on labor time, reduce a mothers stress/anxiety level, lower the rate of medical intervention, and improve mother-baby bonding which can raise your odds of breastfeeding success.

Even if you opt for a medicated labor, doulas are a treasure trove of information about laboring positions and relaxation techniques and are prepared to help advocate for your preferences – which can be especially helpful if you tend to shy away from conflict or often feel unsure of yourself. Regardless of your personality, after you’ve been doing the hardest work of your life for a few hours it can be nice to know someone out there is fighting for you so you can focus on relaxing and listening to your body. A doula can help you understand any recommendations your medical team is making and assist you in asking questions to get the information needed to make the best decisions for you and your baby. Doulas also often take notes throughout your labor and are great at helping you process your birth experience postpartum.

Out of all my regrets, finding a doula was NOT one of them. Ours was a Godsend to both me and my husband and I can’t imagine how I would have handled everything without her knowledge, reassurance, and calm presence. If money is an issue for you, you can try finding a student doula who is working on their certification and needs to attend a few births to complete their training. There are also some doulas out there who offer a certain number of low or no-cost services to parents in need. Find a local mom group on Facebook and ask for recommendations!

Proud new mama and daddy

One of my postpartum pet peeves was when well-intentioned people would say things like, “All that matters is a healthy baby!” I will always push back against that idea and this quote from @wildandthrivemotherhood on Instagram does a great job of putting my thoughts into words:

Your birth experience matters. Your mental health matters. Your emotional state matters.Your entrance into motherhood, matters. How you feel about your experience, matters. Processing the real trauma that occurred, matters. Understanding that it could have been avoided and never should have happened to you, matters. Healing from that, matters.


The good news? None of these things are entirely dependent on the circumstances of your birth going as planned. ALL birth is beautiful and crazy and incredible and hard. We’ve made great strides in taking back birth, so the last thing I want to see is women who are determined to have a positive experience end up feeling defeated.

I’ll never forget, a few days or weeks after having Shiloh I was talking to my husband, Matt, and made some self-deprecating comment about how I didn’t actually “give birth” and – God bless him – he cut me off, grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said “YES you did. You did give birth. I don’t ever want to hear you say you didn’t again.” That was the moment things slowly began to shift and planted the seed for me to eventually think about my birth with pride. Pride that I had done some freaking hard things and made some freaking hard choices all because my baby needed it.

Our perfect girl killing the NICU game

Motherhood is magical. It grants you the power to fall in love with someone before ever meeting them. It gifts you amazing instincts to look after your cubs. It fuels you in ways you can’t explain to keep you going no matter how exhausted you are. It expands your heart and fills it with more love than you have ever felt.”

Linda Wooten

By Regan Kraus

Hi! I'm Regan. I'm a wife to my best friend and biggest supporter, a mama to our 2 kiddos, and a beloved daughter of Christ. This blog is a virtual invitation to coffee. Grab your favorite mug and Join me to talk marriage, motherhood, ministry, and all the life that happens in-between!


  1. I absolutely loved reading about your experiences and am so appreciative of the advice you gave for future mothers, like me! I’m hoping to retain this information during my birth! Thank you! ❤️

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