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The mental strategies I used giving birth

By July 21, 20222 Comments

Hey mate,

So, I recently had an excellent chat with Sophie from Australian Birth Stories.

If you don’t already know Sophie, Australian Birth Stories is a wildly popular podcast (with over 9 million downloads!) that tells first-hand accounts of pregnancy and childbirth. See, despite almost 300,000 births each year, many birth-giving Australians still don’t know much about what’s involved in carrying a baby to term, or how it can impact the body, outside of their own direct experience.

In our chat, Sophie explains why she wants to change that and shares some direct tips on how you can be prepared.

For a few days after our conversation, I found myself thinking a lot about the mental strategies I used during the birth of my two boys.

Now, as you probably know, I am nothing if not the world’s most diligent note taker/researcher/planner.

I’m also very pragmatic. If I do something new at work, I take notes on HOW I did it, and save it in my “Knowledgebase Matrix”.

I think it’s the engineer in me. I like to have systems and records.

Anyway, all of that is to say that I knew I’d have some notes written down in my phone or computer somewhere about giving birth to the boys.

Lo and behold, a quick search of my Notes App yielded the below list.

Nine mental strategies for giving birth.

I made this list before I gave birth to my first son Hakavai. Some worked! Others didn’t. It’s a trial and error kind of process I guess.

Anyway, here is is. If you are planning to give birth sometime soon, or know someone else who is, share this list with them!

Oh, and share my podcast ep with Sophie too. It’s full of good tips and advice.

Here’s the list:

  1. Don’t think about the day in its entirety. Focus on one step at a time – one contraction, one wave at a time.
  2. Focus on how grateful you are to still be here, to have a beautiful partner like Michael, and to be a mum to the best son in the world!
  3. Think about how grateful you are to get to experience it, and that you’ve been able to carry him for 9 months.
  4. Language: swap ‘contractions’ with ‘waves’ and ‘pain’ with ‘intensity’.
  5. It’s Hakavai’s birthday, it’s a day to remember, you get to meet your son!
  6. Visualise Hakavai surfing, diving, hanging with Michael, watching the two of them!
  7. Approach the day with curiosity – this is a learning opportunity.
  8. Remember, the calmer you are, the more confident you are, the more easily your body will be able to do what it’s designed to do.
  9. Remember: women have been giving birth for millennia. Let biology and thousands of years of evolution take over.

What else would you add to that list?

Pop your fave strategies in the comments below.

You never know – it might be helpful for someone else.

Turia x


  • Deb says:

    Thankyou so much Turia ..i’m a grandma but i still read all your emails (& your book-no i’m not a stalker 😆) I just admire you & your resilience & thought I may
    be able to pass some of this onto my daughter in law due in sept with their 2nd .
    kind regards

  • Sara says:

    I wouldn’t normally leave replies to anything but felt I had to this time.

    I lived in remote WA in the 2000’s with no medical Centre (I only had a 1970 VHS they sent me to watch – I only had a dvd – so that was no use – haha – so had very little idea about types of birthing etc)
    Anyway I had to fly to Perth 4 weeks prior to delivery as I have bleeding condition that requires specialised IV clotting factors.

    These IV medications were used during birth and after.

    I had so much trouble breast feeding that I cried all day and night thinking I ‘had’ to breastfeed. The midwives were nasty telling me I wasn’t trying etc. In the end after 7 days in hospital I had to head back home – my beautiful mum said just put her on the bottle – as long as her tummy was full she would be ok. So that is what I did 2 days before leaving.
    Thinking about it for weeks – I found out by my own research that my baby hated the taste of my breast milk due to the IV medications they were putting in me. I’ve since advised a number of midwives I’ve come across to be careful of what you say or do – because it may not be the mothers or babies fault but any medications given to the mum.
    It’s taken me many years to get over not giving my daughter that precious breast milk but I’ve finally forgiven myself.
    So mums out there who can’t seem to breast feed – don’t be hard on yourself – formula is great.
    My daughter is now in her final year of doing 2 major degrees in university and excelled in all her schooling.
    So breast or formula- doesn’t matter – love yourself for bringing in such a beautiful baby into this world and encourage them along the way.
    Remember that little old ant poem who persevered until he got there …. !!!
    Love to you all x