Childbirth is a wonderfully mysterious and spontaneous rite of passage that offers a life-changing opportunity for empowerment and transformation. Love is the key ingredient to creating a joyous and peaceful birth. Birthing free of fear and pain is not only possible, but is the natural state in which we were meant to experience birth. Your body has infinite power and wisdom, and can overcome any perceived obstacle. Believe that you can birth in any way that you desire, and you are one step closer to achieving it. Here are some suggestions to help you move toward the birth experience that you desire:
What is your current vision? What images do you see when you think of birth? Do those images feel good, or do they bring about negative emotions? In order to examine our beliefs and associations surrounding birth, we must first identify them. There are many ways to do this. A very eye-opening option may be to draw or paint what “birth” looks and feels like to you, or you can simply write it out. Do what feels right. Where do you see yourself giving birth? Who is with you? Are you afraid and anxious, or are you flowing with confidence and joy? Be completely honest with yourself. Remember, no matter where you are right now, it is okay to be there, and it is essential to accept where you are now in order to move forward to where you want to be. When answering these questions, do not limit yourself. Like brainstorming, every thought counts here! Also, take as much time as you need. You may do this exercise gradually over several days, so that the thoughts can come freely and you can truly reflect on your existing beliefs about birth.
Allow yourself to heal from past traumatic experiences that may be contributing to any limiting beliefs you may have about birth, yourself, and life in general. It is okay to let go of any pain from the past that you might be hanging on to, whether it be from a past birth experience (yours or someone else’s), or any traumatic life experience for that matter. If you could talk to the woman that you were during a painful time in your life, what would you tell her? Would you simply give her a hug and let her know that everything will be okay? Treat that woman as a dear friend, and have compassion for her. Forgive her for any actions that you feel caused her or others any pain or discomfort. Thank her for doing the best that she could with what she knew, and for any and all actions that kept her true to her inner being. Now, have that same compassion for your present self! You certainly deserve no less. Forgive and thank yourself for being who you are, and being where you are now. Your past does not dictate your future unless you allow it to. Encourage yourself to start fresh. Anything is possible when you live in this moment.
Counter your fears with positive information that makes you feel good! For every fear or negative association that you identified in the first exercise, counter it with knowledge. If for example, you fear that you will have a long labor, you can look for encouraging tips on how to let go of whatever time constraints you or anyone else may have attached to the birth. Every birth is unique, and your body and baby know exactly what it must do to birth the way that it needs to. If you or someone else has put an arbitrary time limit on when the baby must be born, then of course any length of labor that exceeds that time will be considered “long.” Indeed, it is possible to experience a “long” labor that is not necessarily long and painful! Birth knows no time, and if you are feeling pressured, it is important to ask why. Why must you give birth at a certain time? Only you know if the answer is an acceptable one or not. Be aware of fear-based assumptions. If you are alert and paying attention, you can usually spot them because they do not feel good. Look for the information that lifts you up and gives you confidence. You can find suggestions for encouraging a smooth labor or how to let go of attachments that you may have to what birth should be like. Inform yourself about what your body does when left to birth naturally, or find out the risks and benefits of any procedure long before you agree to have it done to your body and your baby. When you are aware and informed, you need not fear the unknown.
Rewrite your story. We all have a story, and we can change the story at any time we wish. Take what you have learned about yourself from the above exercises and now make the changes that are right for you. What is the experience that you most desire? What images make you feel good inside? Concentrate on the positives, and what you do want in this exercise. Then, list the reasons why you do believe that you can create this experience. Look for as many reasons as you can! This can be a daily practice, and you can involve others in helping you come up with more reasons why you can create the birth experience that you desire. Allow yourself to have fun with this. Seek out empowering and inspirational stories from other women, books, web sites, anywhere! Surround yourself with people who contribute to your well-being, and filter out any negative information, stories, or advice that does not make you feel good. That stuff does not serve you or your baby and will only pull you away from creating the experience you desire. You have the choice to accept or discard any thought or piece of information that comes your way. Accept those that inspire and instill peace and joy within you, and discard those that don’t. Create reminders for yourself everywhere you go, that you are a beautiful and powerful being. They can be visual, like art, collages, and the written word, or they can be audio, like inspirational talks or uplifting music. Meditation and positive affirmations are powerful ways to reconnect with your inner self. Do these things as often as you can!
Practice the art of allowing, acceptance and detachment. Allow that which is good to flow into your experience, accept what is your experience in any given moment, and remain detached from expected outcomes. Always remember that you experience what you need to, in order to gain the wisdom that you need to evolve. As conscious creators, we can manifest whatever we desire. They key though, is to allow what we desire to come into our lives. For instance, if you desire a drug-free birth, but believe that you cannot birth without drugs, you are not allowing your desire to come to fruition. With this, we must accept what we do experience. Using the same example, if you do end up receiving drugs during labor, it serves you no good and you cannot learn and grow from the experience, if you waste energy feeling guilty or shameful about your experience. It is what it is, and you cannot change the past. What matters is the present moment, and what matters in any given moment is that you feel good, and that you are true to yourself. The art of detachment lies in trusting that by doing what your heart tells you, everything will always be as it should be. It is far easier to accept uncertainty and believe that this birth and all others serve a purpose in the grand scheme of life. Our conscious minds have but a teeny tiny piece of the puzzle, and we cannot know why certain things happen the way they do, but we can accept that what flows into our experience is right for us. Let your desires guide you toward your destination, but remember that enjoying the journey is the key to your happiness, and to a beautiful and joyous birth experience.
Article written 10/2/08 by Michelle Pier, of Fruit of the Womb