Daily Practices Before The REAL Thing
What you feed your mind every day is just as important as what you feed your body.
Take notice of what your focus is on during the day.
Find a community (in-person or on-line) that supports, inspires and encourages positive birth stories. A simple rule of thumb you can use: "is what I'm about to watch, read or listen to right now going to make me excited or more anxious about my baby's birth'“. Your gut feeling will tell you very quickly and you can turn your focus to something that feels good.
When you’re in the car use that time to listen to positive pregnancy/labor affirmations. I teach GentleBirth classes so I highly suggest the GentleBirth App that contains awesome affirmations and mindfulness sessions. “Pregnancy Celebration” & “Mindful Driving” are great ways to fit in some quick practice time while you drive.
Practice slow focused breathing regularly. Do it while you’re driving, while you’re standing in a store line, before you check your email first thing each day. Get into the habit of taking 3 deep closed mouth breaths before you check your phone (this will give you many opportunities to practice built into every day).
Mindfulness practices - engage your muscle of mental focus regularly, not only but especially if you're planning an unmedicated birth. Take a shower and instead of thinking about what you have to do today, just enjoy the feeling of the shower....simply slow down and pay attention to what you're doing...the smell of the shampoo...the feeling of the water...the temperature... your mind will wander lots of times - so just acknowledge it and return to the activity. Your mindfulness practice will also help you notice patterns of thought that are adding to your stress.
Think about the future. How do see yourself in labor? What are you wearing? who is with you? When you think about your birth do you see yourself strong, focused and empowered? If not let me help you change that. So many people spend their pregnancy rehearsing the kind of birth they DON’T want! Your brain wants to anticipate the future - so if you’re ‘programming’ it for distress, not coping and stress your brain thinks that’s what is to be expected. Notice any ‘what ifs’ as they come up - and try to replace them with words that feel empowering such as ‘what if I cope really well’….’what if I surprise myself’…’what if I’m stronger than I think’.
Be aware of your self-talk - it's hard to have a kind mind towards yourself when your self-talk is negative and critical...especially around how our body changes and feels in pregnancy and postpartum.
Write your own positive affirmations especially around common worries such as baby's size...something like 'my baby is the perfect size for my body' and ‘my body opens easily to let my baby out’. I have made some you can have if you want them. Just email me!
Write down exactly what you want to feel, experience and see happen in your birth experience. Then re-read this periodically and tweak as needed!