The rigors of labor are a physical marathon yes, but also a mental and emotional marathon. Every labor is different. So you cannot prepare for what your labor will be like, at least not exactly.
But you can begin preparing for your labor by beginning to understand where you are at emotionally and mentally before the labor begins. To do that take some time to address any fears you have approaching labor. The quiz below can help you with that. So take some time now to write down your answers to these questions. Feel free to write paragraph responses the more you analyze your feelings the better!
1. What are my three biggest fears about my future labor?
2. What would I consider to be one of my best qualities?
3. What are my experiences in hospitals or medical situations? (positive, negative, or both)
3. What doubts do I have about my ability to birth my child? or about my ability to labor or birth “well”?
4. What doubts do I have about my ability to be a parent?
5. What traumas do I have from my past? (does not have to be birth related)
These 5 questions can help you identify things that may become mental or emotional blocks in labor. And as we clearly know, how we feel or think about things can greatly effect how our body functions. Stress has huge impacts on our health or our ability to function at our highest capacity. So how much more would that stress effect your ability to function in a situation like labor?
Based on your answers to the quiz write a list of words and phrases that empower you and combat your negative thoughts or feelings.
For instance if one of your greatest fears is a complication in your labor you could choose an affirmation like “I believe in my body’s ability to birth my baby”.
Anchoring is a very useful psychological tool that you can do yourself! To make anchoring even more effective think of a fear, trauma, or concern you have and try and feel out where in your body do you tense up when you think of that thing? Try these steps below to get started!
1. Determine how you want to feel. For example “I want to feel stronger” “I want to feel braver”.
2. Remember a time when you felt the emotion you want to feel. For our example a memory where you felt really strong or brave. It can be any memory when you were feeling those things, under any circumstances.
3. Choose an anchor device that involves touch, such as touching your thumb and forefinger together or making a fist. It might be better to choose something that you don’t do often. Whatever your physical anchor is will not likely effect the results of the anchoring. But if you find that this exercise isn’t working maybe try a different physical anchor or a different memory. I do recommend choosing an anchor action that is in an area you hold tension when feeling the opposite of your goal.
4. Remember what you saw, heard and felt in your memory That encouraged you to feel the desired emotion. You must put yourself inside the memory as if reliving it. Don’t view the memory from a distance. You’ve got to “be there” again. Relive the memory until you begin to feel the desired emotion, for instance strength or courage coming over you in the same way you felt it at the time. As you feel those feelings coming on, activate your anchoring device from step #3.
For instance if you were using the thumb and forefinger anchor Touch your thumb and forefinger together as the brave feeling increases. Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside. If you’ve done this well and there’s no underlying reason you shouldn’t feel more brave or strong, this anchor set!
5. Test the anchor by touching your thumb and forefinger together in exactly the same way again and find out if you naturally access that confident state. Don’t be skeptical and resist the anchor. Allow it to happen.
These steps require time but also remember the benefit may very well outweigh the time. And it can be done laying in bed before you fall asleep, in down time at work, or while resting during the day. Especially if you have some trauma in your past I highly recommend some method of healing before labor begins. Your heart and mind deserve some ease.
Tips to make your affirmations more effective:
– Make sure you speak your affirmations out loud! preferably several times a day.
– Anchor your affirmation in areas you hold tension.
– Involve your partner or a friend/family member in your affirmation process so they can encourage you as well.
You can take some of these affirmations and turn them into affirmation cards you can use before or during labor.
Preparing for the physical rigors of labor is important, preparing for the emotional aspects of labor is equally as important.
Some other examples of birth affirmations: “I am strong”, “I can do this”, “My body can birth my baby”, “I am calm”, “I open and release,” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Try and Identify elements of labor and birth that might be causing you anxiety and choose an affirmation that speaks directly to that.