As I sit in my garden looking a my beautiful sunflowers I can’t help but think of women, pregnant women in particular. I think all women are beautiful but pregnant women grow larger, heavier, more radiant and their natural beauty shines, just like the sunflower.
If we do not care and support the sunflower it will wilt and its true beauty and strength will never be seen.
Just like the Sunflower, a woman needs good care and support during her Maternity period.
Location: For optimum results we need to think about location, to the sunflower this is a place that feels warm and sunny.
For a woman location of birth is very important, it needs to be a place where she feels safe and comfortable birthing. It’s important the woman is aware of her choices.
Nutrients and Fertilisers: Sunflowers are heavy feeders so its important that they are given lots of nutrients and fertilisers in order to grow healthy and strong.
As the woman grows and the weeks pass it is important that the woman is given the information she needs throughout her pregnancy to prepare her for birth. This may be from her maternity team, antenatal classes, positive birth stories, positive birth groups ,the NCT, online forums and groups. In this day and age there are many ways to become informed about pregnancy and birth. Women can access information outside of their healthcare setting.
Support: As the sunflower grows and becomes heavy it will need a bamboo stick by its side for support. Some sunflowers need more support than others.
Through a woman’s pregnancy and birth she needs to feel supported. A key person is a midwife. A midwife is usually the first and main contact for the expectant mother during her pregnancy, throughout labour and the early postnatal period. She is responsible for providing care and supporting women to make informed choices about the services and options available to them. Sometimes women may also need support from an obstetrician, dietician, health visitor and maybe a doula.
Shelter: A sunflower will need to be sheltered and protected from winds to stop them from getting damaged. My nan used to say if you talk to your flowers they grow better.
Language used, words and the tone in which they are spoken can have a big impact on a woman’s mindset. They can make her feel vulnerable and can effect her emotional well being. If a woman is not happy with the care she is receiving she can talk to a supervisor of midwives or seek advice from other organisations.
Protection: As the sunflower matures the head drops to face the ground. It is now when the sunflower becomes vulnerable and maybe attacked by the birds that are trying to get to its seeds. It is a good idea to wrap the head in a mesh or net to protect the sunflower.
When the woman is at the later stages of her pregnancy her belly may drop. When labour starts it is very important her labour support,ie, midwife, husband, doula, birthing partner protects the birthing environment and ensures the woman feels safe. The labour support will need to protect the women’s privacy and ensure she is not disturbed so she can tap into her inner wisdom, dig deep and find the strength she needs to give birth.
Height: A Sunflower will grow tall and will rise above all the other flowers showing its importance and its beauty.
The woman is the most important person throughout her maternity experience and her needs should be at the top of everyone’s priorities.
If she has the right support and care her birth experience can be a very empowering experience. She can enter into motherhood feeling strong, beautiful and radiant just like the sunflower.
A beautiful image of Sunflowers and Poppy’s and other flowers, just like women with their midwives and other forms of support.