One of the biggest transformations of your life will be giving birth. How you prepare is for this transformation greatly matters. Just like choosing the right crib and setting up a baby's room it takes more preparation. How you choose to approach your birth can matter just as much as where you choose to give birth, who you want to support you, and what you put in your hospital bag.
Getting a few things prepared while pregnant can help empower you with all the right choices for you and your baby. Doctors and midwives are there to support the entire process but we can take responsibility for our birthing outcomes. The way a mother chooses to create her birthing space can leave her feeling strong, empowered, and confident.
How to prepare mentally
Yes, we can choose our hospital and a doctor, but being ready is all about your mental state. Your mindset plays a huge factor in how your birth goes and what experience you get out of it. Imagining or mediating on positive scenarios during your birth will help in knowing you can succeed in the options that you choose.
One of the biggest mental blocks that can stop you from having a positive birth experience is the thought of, “I can’t do it.” Guess what, YOU absolutely can! Not only was your body designed for it but your body is amazing. Using mantras, affirmations, and even meditation can help support your mindset during pregnancy and birth. A positive mindset can be extremely helpful for those who struggle with it. Listening to affirmations playlist on spotify or whichever you choose can program your subconscious mind. These affirmations can help support you throughout your birthing process.
Affirmations such as:
I trust my body
Me and my baby are working together
I am strong and capable
I am mentally, physically, emotionally prepared to birth my baby
Asking questions and doing your own research (especially if it’s your first birth) can help support your mental state. Once you’re able to gain an understanding of what might happen, the precautions, or interventions that may take place, you feel more settled moving into labor. Even if you choose a home birth prepare for being transferred so that you are knowledgeable if a transfer does happen. You’ll also be able to tell your partner what kind of support you want or need during your birth.
Being empowered starts with educating yourself. Remember to take it slow so that you don't become overloaded with too much information at a time. Be cautious about what you read, listen to, watch about birth, and even family you talk too. Focus on the positive and joyful experiences that can occur. Seek out family members that help enhance your positive thoughts surrounding birth.
If you have unsupported family members around you, you may want to express to them how their negativity is affecting you mentally. Also understand there are so many situations where birth doesn’t go as planned. Things can shift but being educated will help alleviate many of those fears and concerns you may have. Fear is generated when we focus on all the things that could go wrong instead of all the things that could go right. Fear can cause unnecessary tension in your body. This tension can cause your body to close up and reject everything. In birth, you need your body to work with you so that you can feel empowered by your choices.
How to prepare emotionally?
Have you experienced having all of the emotions at once during pregnancy? If not, it can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Giving birth can bring out so many emotions and sometimes there’s no way of knowing how you’ll feel during the process. What can you do now? Be kind and gentle with yourself throughout your transformation. It’s so important to process all of your emotions and it's okay to feel. Feeling your emotions will help when you need to process them during your labor. Also, taking a deep intentional recovery breath will help before and during labor.
Another way is connecting with your inner child with compassion and love when you feel those emotions. Just like you would soothe a child with compassion and love you can do yourself the same way with reassurance, space, and understanding.
Create a support system for yourself so when you do feel overwhelmed you’re able to reach out and get the help you need. Your support system can be very important for the postpartum period when you’re feeling overwhelmed as a mom. Find friends or family members that you feel comfortable sharing your story and feelings with. Understanding that it's okay to ask for help. As much as you possibly can keep other people’s birth stories and/or stress out of your birth. Your mother, aunts, sister, and friends' birth experience isn’t your own.
If someone wants to be a part of your birth space while you’re giving birth and the idea of them being present stresses you or your partner out, it's okay to say no to that person. If people are unsupportive of your birth choices, it’s okay to simply not share your choices with them.
Surround yourself with people that only support you. It's so important that you feel like the most supported person in the room during your birth.
Lastly, as birth is an intense inware experience, it is possible that it will bring up or uncover some underlying issues you may have with your partner, family, or friends. Doing the inner work beforehand can assist with resolving things that have been ignored throughout your life. Sometimes the act of forgiveness can be huge in letting things go. This can also mean forgiving yourself.
Choose mantras or affirmations that help empower you and make you feel strong.
Meditation using a spotify playlist
Seek out a positive birth stories from friends or family (block out any negative thoughts )
Make a list of questions to ask your provider or doula and do your own research
Find a Childbirth education class near you
Be gentle with yourself when you feel emotionally full or drained.
Reach out and get connected to people who uplift you.
Note any resentment or stress that you feel about your life currently. What can you do to resolve that? Who or what needs to be forgiven?
Process your emotions and remember it’s okay to feel
Take into account that this work will make a huge impact on how you experience birth and your role as a mother. During this transformation there is so much that happens and no one can do the work but you. Even in the process of giving birth, nobody can actually give birth for you-they can only assist you in the journey.
Creating a safe internal environment is just as important as your external one. It helps shape the way you experience birth and how you nurture your baby. Remember that birth is the most natural process we’ll ever experience. It's something that women of many years have been experiencing. Be kind and patient with yourself!