Mindfulness Birthing: 5 Top Tips to Invite Mindfulness into Your Birth Experience
Birth is not one size fits all which is why Methods like Bradley and Hypnobirthing don’t suit everyone. Believe it or not, the best way to prepare for your experience is simply to become more mindful of who you are, how you react to challenge, and what you do when you are stressed.
Connect Childbirth is a childbirth class that focuses on being mindful and responsive to your individual needs. It is about connecting deeper to yourself, knowing yourself best (as only you can), and taking this awareness into your birth experience.
Here is what we mean when we say becoming more mindful. Listed below I have created 5 important concepts and questions to invest in and think about when preparing for your birth. Learning more about yourself will help you ensure that you take the best care of yourself through this process. I hope it is useful for you.
Mindfulness Birthing means that you create awareness of the following:
1. Become aware of your thoughts.
This one is HUGE.
What is your inner dialog?
How do you speak to yourself when things get tough?
Or, when you feel like things aren’t going your way?
Do you gravitate towards loving-kindness; tell yourself that you are strong, resilient, and safe?
Or, do you feel lost, unmotivated, and alone?
Becoming mindful of your inner voice is essential when moving past your comfort zone (labor) and creating a positive experience even it’s hard and challenging.
2. Become aware of how you manage small stresses.
Again, this is HUGE.
How do you deal with a stressful day at work?
Or, a fight with a family member?
How do you manage overwhelm?
Do you get mad and judge yourself?
Do you blame everyone else and feel bad for yourself?
Or, do you take a few breaths, regroup and offer yourself some TLC?
Maybe take a long shower letting that hard day sink down into the drain?
Or, you go for a walk?
Do you recognize that your response will create your outcome?
Are you mindful of the ways in which you manage your small stresses?
Whatever is your normal go-to when it comes to challenging moments is how you will respond in labor. We bring our patterned responses (good or bad, useful or harmful) to this experience. Becoming conscious and mindful of how we subconsciously react is crucial in creating a powerful birth experience.
3. Become aware of how your environment efforts you mentally and emotionally.
Again, being mindful of how you are triggered or disturbed is key.
Does music calm you or overwhelm you when you need to concentrate?
Do you like light and bright areas when you feel ill or do you feel better supported in the dark?
Do you use TV as a distraction?
Watch Friends, The Office when you need a pick me up?
Does hearing from family members bring you calmness and strength or anxiety and overwhelm?
Investing in self-care is pivotal in labor. Understanding and being mindful of these distractions and outside stresses will only help you stay focused in labor and create the perfect environment for you in this moment.
4. Become aware of the sensations in your body, knowing what is normal for labor and how best to support yourself.
This is a big one as birth is very physical and so many changes take place in your body. Releasing a baby requires A LOT of relaxation! That means that as your body contracts to move your baby down you don't resist it.
Resistance looks like tension, tightening, clenching which physically means you are holding onto your baby. This can present itself by tensing your shoulders, fists, clenching your jaw and squeezing your legs together or clenching your butt.
Body mindfulness and awareness will help you navigate what you need in the moment.
5. Became aware of how you create safety.
Yes, create safety in your body for this moment. This starts with education and understanding what to expect in labor. Education helps you embrace what will happen as your body releases your baby.
In addition, you need to know how to create safety in your body. Regulate your nervous system so that fight, flight, or freeze do not take hold. This means being mindful of your breath and tension and heart rate. We teach such techniques in Connected Childbirth; creating safety for this moment.
It also means that you have a partner (spouse, mother, friend, etc) that you can look to for love and encouragement. This person is to anchor for you in the moment and bring your feet back down to the floor.
I hope that this has been useful as I do recognize that Mindfulness is a buzzword currently; however, the more mindful you are of yourself, the more you invest in understanding what you truly need, the better you will take care of yourself and the better experience you will have!! Happy Birthing!