“Our thoughts create our experiences.”  — Louise Hay

I came across this quote in a book I’m reading and I thought it was very fitting for the work I do as a doula.

Whatever the outcome of a birth, it is the parents’ perception of that birth that will form the memory and therefore the idea of whether it was positive or negative. Another way to think about this is that the particular circumstances of the birth do not determine whether the birth is positive or negative.

There are a myriad of birth plans out there — medication, non-medicated, cesarean, home birth, hospital, lights dim and quiet, lights on and lots of people. The particular birth plan does not determine what a positive or negative birth looks like. Neither will whether or not things go according to that plan.

So what does a “positive” birth outcome look like?

It does not matter what occurs, but rather what are the parents’ perceptions of what occurred. It may be a subtle difference but it is very important. And empowering.

“How is it empowering if my birth does not go according to my plans?” Because you are in control of how you will perceive the events that occurred.

This does not mean that you might not have to process through fear, anger or disappointment if things go awry of your plan, but it does mean that you have the power to rewrite the way that you will perceive those events. You have the power to take control of how you move through what happened (or didn’t happen). You have the power to create a “positive” birth experience by the way you think about that experience.

Having a labor doula there to support you through everything that happens, and to process with you when things go off-script, can make a huge difference in how you think about your birth experience. A doula does not determine the outcome of your birth, but can help you have a positive birth experience regardless of circumstances.

And don’t forget about the postpartum period. Those first few weeks and months at home can be full of challenges. With a postpartum doula you will be supported when things are going according to plan and when they are not — and your thoughts will create your experiences!

One thought on “Circumstance vs. Experience

  1. Julie, this is so true. I’ve been around people whose attitude and words can help make or break a positive experience. A word of support spoken at the appropriate time, a gentle smile to encourage, can go a long way in creating that desired perception that you speak of.


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