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August 8, 2019

Enneagram + Birth | Type 4

My goal with these blog posts is to create a resource for mommas who are planning a pregnancy or birth and find a lot of insight through the Enneagram. This is just one tool in your toolbox when preparing for birth but I hope it’s an eye-opening one!

So, let’s dive in! Below is a description of the Enneagram Type Four as defined by The Enneagram Institute. After that, I have some insight from women who are type fours and have given birth. At the end of the post, I’ve shared a few insights and “homework” for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

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4: THE INDIVIDUALIST

“Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.”

birth image hospital

Anna’s Experience:

“[I am] generally creative, self-aware, feel special and different, prone to melancholy, introspective, and feel my experiences are unique.

I wanted a natural delivery, with no epidural – I wanted to feel what was happening and had a sense that I would end up being that 1 in however many who ended up with some form of life-long residual effect from it. That was my main stipulation – no epidural.

Surprisingly, I was quite resigned to the idea of ‘doing whatever needs to happen to get my baby out safely’ even if that included a c-section. I never needed one in the end, though 3 of my labors were not as I’d have planned. [I had] 1 ventouse (vacuum) deliver with PPH (postpartum hemorrhage) and 2 inductions.

I feel my type has affected my perception of my fourth delivery most. I gave birth in a different hospital to the other 3 and felt I knew best what would help, having done it three times and am still a bit upset that I didn’t feel listened to by the midwife. She was 100% by the book and following guidelines. It didn’t feel like my experience and opinion was taken into account. It was a disappointing birth after the amazing experience I’d had the third time around.

I feel very proud of my third birth! [It] was spontaneous, earlier than the others and kind of took me by surprise. I had him in a birthing center which was my wish each time but not possible [with the other three]. Then he was born in 2 hours and 50 minutes. It was just a very “easy” labor and my team let me get on with it, really. Only one midwife and my husband was in the room and we had plenty of un-rushed time afterwards for skin-to-skin.”

Amber’s Experience:

“I’m a four which means I’m the romantic, creative, deep-feeling, and sensitive type. I’m able to deeply connect with my emotions almost to a fault and am extremely sensitive of other’s feelings.

I can see lots of ways that my enneagram type affected my birth planning, labor, and delivery. Being the romantic that I am, when I became pregnant with my first 6 years ago, I began to dream of a beautiful, calm, and emotional birth. I might have made my birth playlist way in advance, chose all the best-smelling essential oils to diffuse, and wrote down all of the most inspiring birth affirmations. It was important to me to choose a birth place that felt comfortable to me as I’m very affected by my environment when I’m not in labor so it was vitally important for me to feel safe and comfortable. We decided to go with a birth center and chose the midwifery model of care because it just felt SO right and I loved how personable and relaxed everything felt.

With my first, things didn’t go as I would have wished for them to and we were transferred to the hospital after laboring all night. The romantic dream of the candle-lit water birth came to a screeching halt and initially I felt really disappointed but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason (another four trait – everything HAS a deep meaning), and we had such a beautiful, natural hospital birth with our midwife.

My perception of birth as a mother and as a doula/birth photographer are pretty similar and very indicative of my enneagram type. I think birth is art. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things that we are able to participate in. To be the portal of life and to experience a living, breathing human come FROM you and THROUGH you is one of the most empowering and gorgeous occasions.

Definitely do your homework on choosing your medical provider – feeling safe and supported is everything. HIRE A DOULA AND A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER. You will want photos. I don’t care what you say. YOU WILL WANT THEM. They are art. They are beauty. They are EVERYTHING. Feel all the feels. Be in the moment. Plan the romantic, beautiful birth you’ve always dreamed of but manage your expectations and trust that everything truly happens for a reason and your story will be laced with beauty.”

INSIGHTS:

  • Fours tend to focus on the emotions of their experiences. They are typically looking for a joyful birth experience.
  • Fours may be very affected by how they were made to feel during their labors. Even if everything went well “on paper,” if they were made to feel disrespected or unheard, they will view their experience as a bad one.
  • Fours can be very affected by their environment, as well, especially while in labor.

HOMEWORK:

  • Talk to your birth team about your wishes for your birth. Make it clear to them how you prefer to be spoken to and what may trigger negative feelings for you. Many fours find that they are very sensitive to how they were spoken to during labor and birth.
  • Try to figure out what makes you feel safest and make sure that is part of your birth plan. Think about your environment, the people that are around you, the way you’d like your care provider to communicate changes that need to be made – the details make all the difference.
  • Don’t be afraid to communicate your birth “dreams” with your team. Even if they aren’t the “romantic” types, what’s important to you should be important to them. They also may be able to talk you through something that is unrealistic.

Are you and Enneagram Four? Did this resonate with you? Did you have a different experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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