Birthing Empowerment with Larni from Sage Birthing.


I’m Larni! A home schooling mama of four (almost five!) little loves. I’m a birth-keeper, full spectrum doula and childbirth educator and I’m currently putting all of my own advice into action as I prepare to bring my fifth baby earth-side in just a few weeks. 


I’ve birthed all four of my babies in hospital, but for this little soul we have decided to plan for an unassisted home-birth. This means for us that we are not engaging with any medical assistance- unless something changes and we feel it is necessary. Our plans for birth are to have my husband, my children, my photographer and two close friends there for support and to help with the little ones so I can fully embody my feminine energy and focus on my body and my baby.


While I am not planning to seek assistance for my birth and labour- I am absolutely open to following my body and my intuition during these last few weeks and during labour. If something should arise where I feel it is necessary to get checked out I am absolutely open to that. Birth is a journey, and while you cannot plan every single step of the process you can have a plan for what you want to happen. Every birth experience is unique and each mama will have different key areas of importance.


Over the past 12 months I’ve been privileged to support 15 mamas during their whole pregnancy, birth and postpartum journeys, and no two births have been the same. No two birth plans have been the same. Each mama has had different wants and needs. For example I’ve had mums who were absolutely against being induced unless medically necessary, and I’ve had mums who were happy to be induced. I’ve had mums who wanted zero pain relief and had a bunch of tools available to help facilitate that, and I’ve had mums who were wanting pain relief as soon as possible. It’s not my job, or anyone else’s job to tell you how you should birth. It’s up to you, mama, to do the inner work during pregnancy to feel into what aligns for you. 


I’ve heard a bunch of different responses in the past when I talk about the importance of having a birth plan. “What’s the point in planning for birth when it’s unpredictable?” or “I’m just going to go with the flow”. Both of these statements are true to a degree, yes; birth is unpredictable- just like life. Going with the flow might sound great and relaxed in theory, but if you don’t know your options then you don’t have any. I’ll say that again, because this is so important mama.


"If you don’t know your options, then you don’t have any."

The power in the birth plan isn’t the piece of paper that it’s written on, then laminated and put in your hospital file. The power in your birth plan is the research you put into it. It’s the education you outsource or seek for yourself, it’s the conversations you have with your partner, doula, care provider, it’s the understanding that you then have for your options.

So often I have mama’s message me and say they’ve done a birth plan and they want my advice. Which is great! I love helping women and talking birth options over. I literally live for this. But quiet commonly when I ask them what their goal is, I hear “to not have an epidural”. Great. Awesome if that’s what you want. Go mama! These are some of the questions I ask and why they are so important to consider.

Why don’t you want an epidural (or insert other routine procedure here)?


“Because I shouldn’t have one” or “Because I’ve been told they’re bad” or “Because my mum/sister/friend/influencer on instagram said they are x, y, z”. All of these might be reasons, even excellent reasons, but if you don’t have a strong, personal belief behind all the aspects of your birth plan then you probably aren’t going to feel overly committed to it when it comes to crunch time. If you don’t fully understand the pros and cons for this option in your birth experience, then how do you know if it is or isn’t a good fit? It is your birth, these are YOUR choices, and just because someone birthed on their back doesn’t mean you have to. Or because your best friend said “Take the drugs as soon as you get there, don’t be a hero” doesn’t mean that’s the right fit for you either. Or because your midwife said she doesn’t recommend epidurals that you shouldn’t have one. Your birth is your birth. Know your why.


What research have you done about birth?

This one is the most important aspects of planning for birth, in my opinion. Hands down. You can have all the plans in the world but if you don’t know the pros, cons or your options then you are potentially setting yourself up for an experience that you are less than prepared for. There are SO many resources available for pregnant mamas out there, some free and online (books, movies and of course child birth education classes). 

The power in the birth plan isn’t the piece of paper that it’s written on, then laminated and put in your hospital file. The power in your birth plan is the research you put into it. It’s the education you outsource or seek for yourself, it’s the conversations you have with your partner, doula, care provider, it’s the understanding that you then have for your options.

So often I have mama’s message me and say they’ve done a birth plan and they want my advice. Which is great! I love helping women and talking birth options over. I literally live for this. But quite commonly when I ask them what their goal is, I hear “to not have an epidural”. Great. Awesome if that’s what you want. Go mama! These are some of the questions I ask and why they are so important to consider.


Seeking out information outside of the hospital provided antenatal classes is highly  recommended. Some hospitals don’t even run regular antenatal education classes! If you’re wanting to take your birth into your own hands and create the experience which aligns with you and your values then doing the preparation is absolute power. It’s not just about learning the pharmacological pain relief offered by your hospital, the anatomy of birthing, flow of hormones which are essential to birth (and how interrupting this beautiful flow of hormones has a cascade effect of interventions), but it’s about your mindset and arming yourself with a toolkit filled to the brim for you to utilise during your birth.

Birth is 10% about the body and 90% about the mind- this phrase absolutely rings true just from my own personal experiences and what I’ve witnessed of women during birth. If we can conquer our mindset, if we do the groundwork, the self work, during our pregnancy then we are literally taking control of our birthing journey.


What are your personal beliefs on birth?


We all have individual ideas on what birth is, and all of these ideas/beliefs stem from the way the world around us depicts birth. From the moment you start to tell people you are pregnant you are bombarded with opinions and peoples own birth experiences (predominantly negative though- am I right?!), the way birth is portrayed in movies and even the way we are taught from a young age to doubt our bodies ability- which extends to shame around our monthly bleed.


We are sold fear, at every single turn.


Positive birth stories unfortunately can be few and far between and blocking out the negative noise really needs to be a conscious action. Stopping conversations in their tracks, if the story isn’t helping you feel empowered towards your birth experience then you honestly don’t need to hear it. This isn’t to say that women don’t have negative experiences, they do and it’s upsetting. But when you are pregnant it is important for you to focus on the experience that you want. It is important to get crystal clear with your personal beliefs around birth and mothering.

Working through any fear or limiting beliefs before walking into the birthing experience is something that I really emphasise when working with mamas to be. Fear releases adrenaline, which stimulates the fight or flight reflex, which can slow or completely stall labour. Fear is something you want to work through before birth.


Birth is transformative, it is life changing- regardless of how you birth.

So wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to line yourself up for a positive and empowering birth experience?

And just to clarify. A positive and empowering birth experience doesn’t have to mean drug free, it doesn’t just mean vaginal delivery, it doesn’t only mean home birth or hospital birth or birth under a tree next to a river. 


A positive birth experience is one where you walk away feeling heard, respected and given choices. Everyone’s definition of a positive birth will differ to a certain degree- and that’s ok. This is YOUR birth. You are the driver, the one making the decisions. You don’t have to ask permission or apologise for asking questions.

You are allowed to want an empowering birth, you are allowed to request and decline whatever feels right for you. My wish for every birthing woman is that they know their options and they can make truly informed decisions which align with their birthing journey.

I am eagerly anticipating this next birth, getting to walk to the sacred alter of birth again and emerge change for a fifth time. I know this birth will teach me what I need to be taught- we have the birth experience that we need to have to parent that child. I have a deep belief in my why behind my birth plans, I have a trust in my body but I am also open to meeting any changes if they occur. Birth is not linear. You cannot map it out perfectly and that is ok. It’s part of the mystery and magic of the experience. 


I can’t wait to share this next birth story with everyone- and I’d love you to follow my journey over at @sage.birthing
Download your FREE birthing plan here.

Shop Larni's looks:
Sawyer Baby Doll Dress in Caramel Daisies
Lounge Set in Sand

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