From my personal experience, mentally preparing for birth is just as important, and maybe even more important than physical preparation. We exercise and eat right to prepare for birth. We make playlists and pack bags for overnights stays. We might set up nurseries and buy baby goods designed to make a new baby comfy and happy.
I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking, something I think is absolutely necessary for preparing your mind for the trials of the birth experience. These are a few tips that helped me in my journey to a natural birth.
Stop watching A Baby Story, One Born Every Minute, or any other reality birth show.
The idea that your body is broken and incapable of giving birth is just perpetuated and exacerbated in these types of shows. They rarely, if ever, show a woman having a natural birth and they instill fear by showing women screaming and crying and being wheeled off to surgery. These shows do a great job of making moms terrified to have what should be a normal and natural experience.
During my first pregnancy, I would watch these shows hoping to get a glimpse of what was in store for me. I remember the excitement for my upcoming birth fizzled and was replaced by anxiety and nerves. One day while watching Discovery Health, I heard birth compared to forcing a softball down your throat. The visual of that really hit me in the gut. What they failed to mention, and what I had to be reminded of, is that the throat-sized canal was made to stretch for the sole purpose of allowing the softball to pass! At that moment, I decided I was going to change the channel and never turn it back to that sort of programming ever again.
Remember, fear impacts birth greatly. Just change the channel. You do not need to be a victim of our negative birth culture.
Read positive birth stories.
Allow yourself to be surrounded by beautiful births that prove your body is designed perfectly and that you are strong and born to do this. You grew your baby perfectly, you can birth that way too. By wrapping yourself in other people’s positive stories you will find that that is actually what a normal birth experience looks like, not the dramatic, torturous births you see in the media. If you need help finding great birth stories, go to these sites: Birth Without Fear and Mama Birth
Take a class and educate yourself.
Educate yourself on your options and ask lots of questions. The more you know, the stronger and more confident you will feel. The more educated you are, the less likely it is that you will be bullied or scared into doing something you don’t want to do such as induction or medication.
Read affirmations over and over.
And over. And over. It’s all about what you say when you talk to yourself. When you feel doubt, acknowledge it. Tell yourself something positive that counteracts the doubt and move on. Print the affirmations. Tape them to your bathroom mirror, on your fridge, and at your computer. You can read some of my favorite affirmations here and here.
Talk to your baby.
Lay in bed at night or anytime you are quiet and alone. Place your hands on your belly and feel your little one’s soft movements. Really make an effort to connect to your baby. Envision your baby snug inside your cozy womb. Have a pep talk with your little one. Tell him (or her) that you can’t wait to meet him. Tell him you will work with him to make sure his transition into the world is gentle. Ask him to work with you, too, by getting into an optimal position. Together, as a team, you and your baby will meet each other earthside.
Let go and let your body do what it was made to do. Don’t fight it. Relax. Trust the process. Trust yourself. Hypnobirthing can be a great tool to accomplishing this.
May you have a beautifully peaceful birthing experience full of power, strength, love, confidence, and family.
This post was originally published on Cluster Love.