Birth is a big event (understatement of the year)! You'll spend a lot of time planning and preparing for the arrival of your baby, but are you also preparing yourself emotionally? When you think of the moment of birth do you feel a twinge of fear? Apprehension? Anxiety? Do you struggle viewing your labor and birth with confidence, peace, and ease? Expressing concerns to your provider, talking with a safe partner, and hiring a doula(yes, definitely hiring a doula!) can help calm your mind and strengthen your confidence, but there's something else you can do for a few minutes each day that can make drastic changes in the way you view birth.
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out! The way we talk to ourselves-positive or negative-has an impact on the way we view the world, other people, and our experiences. The subtle things we think or say alter how we feel. If we say "I'm not sure how I'll handle the pain", our mind creates a pathway of thinking towards doubt, fear, and potentially, an unfavorable outcome.
But how can I say "I birth with strength and power" if I don't know if I can?
Fake it 'till you make it m'dear.
It will feel awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain weird, but before you know it, the daily habit of saying out loud "I've got this" eventually provides you with the gift of mind over matter. You've been saying it to yourself so much that your brain will start to believe it. After all, where does the signal of pain, or pleasure come from? That's right, it comes from the brain.
So let's get started with all the easy, simple ways to sift out negative thoughts and replace them with positivism(yes that's a word, I looked it up).
Keep affirmations positive
When you start writing out your affirmations (or use the list at the bottom of the article) always keep them positive. The brain latches on to negativity and it can cause a downward spiral that undoes all your hard work. For example, instead of "I will not give in to fear", you can say "I will face challenges with confidence and strength". Using the words "not", "don't", or "won't", etc. can hang around in your brain, ready to pop up at the first sign of doubt. By simply inserting positive words or phrases in place of negative ones, the pathway to positive thinking becomes more automatic and frequent.
Now that you have your affirmations how do you use them? Here are a few ways:
- Write them on post it notes on your bathroom mirror so they are the first thing you read/see when you get up in the morning. To take it one step further, stand in front of the mirror with your hand on your heart, and look right into your eyes as you say it. Adding visual memory makes it even more effective.
- Pick a few from the list to memorize throughout the week, and add each one you memorize to an affirmation workbook so you can keep track of them and bring them out for later use(or the next baby!).
- Use meditation: Play meditation music on headphones, or as you lie in bed before you get up in the morning. Read through a few affirmations as you practice controlled breathing(great for labor prep, kill two birds with one stone!). You can even write a birth affirmation script and record yourself over your favorite meditation track, so you can listen each day, when you are feeling apprehensive about your upcoming birth, or during labor.
Affirmations for pregnancy and labor
- My body is strong and healthy.
- With each contraction, my baby is one step closer to being in my arms.
- I love my body and honor the power I have to create and bring forth life.
- I give birth with confidence.
- I surround myself with those who love and support me.
- I am relaxed and open as I birth my baby.
- I love myself and my baby.
- I honor my body and the life it creates.
- I listen to the wisdom inside me.
- I know what is best for my baby and my birth.
- This day is a gift and I am full of gratitude for this pregnancy.
- I feel connected to my partner as we welcome our baby.
- I trust my body to grow and birth my baby with ease.
- I am full of joy and light.
- My head and heart are connected to my body and the process of birth.
- My body and my baby work as one.
- Just as my body knows how to breathe, it also knows how to birth my baby.
- I am connected to mothers throughout the ages who have given birth before me; their strength and confidence flows through me as I labor.
- I welcome the birthing process in all it's power as a gift to bring my baby into my arms.
*Take note: affirmations are not a magical spell that will insure you will have a perfect birth. Sometimes things go wrong or plans change, and that's okay. Once the experience is over, you can take all the time you need to process, or grieve and feel the loss of unfulfilled dreams for birth if necessary. What affirmations will do is help prepare you to be relaxed, confident, and in your best "emotional" shape so that you have done everything you can to set the stage for the birth you envision.
Where to go from here
Now you have all the tools, and you are prepared the next time doubt comes creeping in. Such as when a well meaning friend tells you her birth horror story. Or a stranger walks up to you and says you look ready to pop and if you go much longer there's no way that baby will fit (And you still have 2 months to go!). When this happens you'll know what to do. Stop for a minute. Close your eyes. Breathe. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the air and the warmth of the sun on your face. You've got this. Your body knows how to birth your baby. With each breath you send love and confidence to your baby. You surrender to the birth the universe has in store for you.
You are going to rock this birth.