Dear Society…mainly people of influence…stop scaring women about childbirth before they even have a chance to experience the magic for themselves.
We all have the right to experience our births in whatever manner we choose…medicated/unmedicated. At home, in a birthing center, hospital or in a beautiful creek in the middle of nowhere.
But can we all agree that sharing personal information that is not evidence based and just plain scary, is not helpful at all to newly pregnant mothers.
If you must speak to someone, please don’t let it be the women who is preparing for her birth. There are many others that can help you process any trauma you experienced.
Fear is a common theme when speaking to women about their birth plans. It’s only normal to fear the unknown. However, this combined with all the false information being spread, is completely detrimental to a women’s mind set.
I’m certain we are all familiar with the Fear, tension, pain cycle?
This holds especially TRUE during our labor. When we are scared..fearful of something our bodies create tension and in return, creates more pain. The simple way of putting this is when we reduce our fears, we reduce our pain.
So, first things first. Stop listening to people’s horror birth stories. Stop reading them. Stop watching. There are plenty of beautiful, peaceful birth stories out there. If you need help finding them, please let me know and I will provide them for you.
Let’s dive into 5 ways that we can prepare our minds for birth and beyond. Obviously first, we must say NO to the negative stories and only allow us and our babies to hear positivity.
Research childbirth classes in your area that are far beyond your typical hospital ones. In my experience with hospital setting classes, the majority of the class is spent on what drugs can we use and when can we use them. They provide a very basic outline of labor and the protocols of the specific hospital.
There is nothing wrong with receiving medication for pain management. However you should know the pros and cons of all of your options along with coping techniques to use before you are at the point in your labor when you can receive anything.
Locate classes that will provide you with the mental skills you need for labor. That teach you breathing and relaxation techniques along with tools your partner can use to assist you.
There should be many different child birth classes offered outside of the hospital setting along with my personal favorite, HypnoBirthing.
Talk to friends and family. Advise them of your birth plans and seek support and encouragement from the ones who are with you. Research Doulas in your area and consider hiring one for your birth. They are an invaluable resource that provides education, comfort and encouragement for the mother. They are the non medical link that stays by your side throughout labor. Doulas help with communication between the medical staff so the mother can labor and also provide reassurance and comfort for partners. Studies show that by having a doula, labor time is decreased. That’s a good reason, right?!
3.Relaxation and Meditation
Create a daily ritual of self care focused on you and your baby. Whether this is 15 minutes or 60 minutes, start somewhere. It’s extremely important to find some alone time to focus on the present.
Meditation can seem like a complicated practice to some. However, it can be rather simple. It can be as simple as observing your breath as you inhale and exhale..rising and falling. As simple as being present in your thoughts. Not thinking of the past or the future. Then noticing if your mind has wandered, then returning to the present.
This is a great time to work on your birth breathing as well. Deep breathing exercises help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system that controls your rest, relaxation and digestion response. It’s a wonderful calm state to be in as your heart rate and blood pressure lowers.
Find somewhere comfortable to sit, relax your gaze and rest your hands on your lap. Breathe deeply into your abdomen allowing your belly to expand during your inhale and contract on expiration.
Surge breathing is abdominal breathing. Slowly breathe in for as long as you can comfortably, for a 15-20 count, and at your pace. Then you want to breathe out for the same count.
You can locate guided meditations from apps, and online in YouTube that can get you started. Some days you may want guided and some you may want to sit in silence and focus on your breathing and your thoughts.
This is a great mental tool. As an athlete I was taught to visualize every step of the event I was preparing for. Labor is no different. I can almost guarantee it will be your most athletic event ever.
Envision your birth environment.
Who’s invited to this sacred event?
What energy do you see each individual bringing?
What items do you want in your birthing space? Candles? Aromatherapy? Birth tub? Affirmations? Music?
It’s crucial to visualize and properly prepare for all the specifics you want.
5. Positive affirmations
Pregnancy is a great time to rewire our brain. Positive thoughts affect our physical well being in a positive manner and can help you to achieve the peaceful birth you are in search of.
Research different affirmations online and create your own or there are many to choose from that you can purchase.
It’s extremely important to practice these affirmations out loud and daily. Post them everywhere so you are reminded daily.
Some I love:
• I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby
• I embrace the wisdom and innate knowledge of my body
• Many women before me have birthed their babies in courage. Their strength is within me.
• My muscles work in complete harmony
• Birth is safe
The very first step in preparing our minds for labor, is to eliminate the negative and focus on the positive. Our minds are extremely powerful and the thoughts we have, have a physical affect on our bodies. It is your body, your baby, your birth experience. Take the time to prepare your minds for this magical, beautiful experience. Wishing you all the best!