There’s a funny thing that happens when you start telling people you’re pregnant. It’s a thing that continues right on throughout the 40ish weeks, and can even be seen during labour and certainly into your first days, weeks and months as a new mother.
People around you like to share their negative stories. They like to question your choices. They sometimes go so far as to tell you you can’t do what you have planned or wish to do.
A lot of the time, it is misinformation, ignorance, or simply their opinion (with no evidence to back it up). And most of the time, it comes with good intentions. People want to share with you, “prepare” you, or just connect – but this can often leave you feeling worried, sad, stressed or just dejected.
I am a very firm believer in the power of the mind. The way that your body handles labour is in direct response to what your mind is telling it. And what your mind tells your body during labour is the same story it’s been told throughout your pregnancy.
You have the power to write that story.
That power lies in positivity. Positive preparation during your pregnancy is directly responsible for a positive birth experience. Even if you end up on a path you wouldn’t have chosen (say, an epidural or a caesarian birth), with positive thinking, learning and informed choice, these outcomes can also be positive.
So how to surround yourself with positivity during your pregnancy?
◇ Consider how well your body works. It has grown a baby from a tiny egg. It has housed this baby, fed it, nourished it, given it eyes, finger nails, a beating heart. It has done all this with very little external input. It knows how to birth.
◇ Limit negative voices around you. This can be hard if it is a particularly close relative or friend, but having that person around you is feeding you fear and doubt. You don’t need it.
◇ Build a supportive village around you. Find those that are on your team – non judgemental, genuinely excited, and caring – and keep them close. This absolutely includes your care provider. It is never too late to change doctors or midwives if you’re not receiving 100% cheering-you-on vibes.
◇ Watch and read positive birth videos and stories. Birth is amazing.
◇ Practise affirmations regularly. Saying strong, empowering things to yourself will build your confidence and self worth. It’s important that you find the right affirmations for you – saying something you think is silly or don’t believe is not going to work.
Doing these things is a powerful step to a really healthy mindset as you approach labour. When you are feeling confident, calm, and prepared, you have a much greater chance for a positive birth experience.