Birth Affirmations are typically positive words and phrases that talk about pregnancy, labor, and birth in a way that is intended to help the expecting mom's subconscious erase the fears she may have about birth and replace them with confidence, understanding, and empowerment. With an endless number of ways to word birth affirmations, it makes sense that the ones you pick to focus on for your birth should speak to you on a spiritual and emotional level. In this blog post, I am going to discuss how to find affirmations that speak to you, how you can interpret affirmations to make them fit your beliefs, and why you may choose to avoid affirmations that contain negative language.
Finding Affirmations That Speak To You
Grab a piece of paper and something to write with. Close your eyes and think about your concerns. What is bothering you and holding you down as far as preparing for your birthing day? Are you worried that your body won't be able to do it? Is it hard to imagine that your body will actually stretch and move in the ways that it is supposed to? Are you scared of interventions? Having a cesarean? Changing your family dynamic? Your ability to be a good parent? These are just a few of the things that people may be concerned about during pregnancy. And many times, our fears can hold us back from being able to be successful, even if we don't realize that it's happening. On the other hand, when we can reframe our subconscious into believing positive things, we have a much higher chance of being successful in our endeavors. That's not to say that emergencies don't crop up, or that things outside of our control won't happen. But if in your heart, you don't believe that you can birth your baby, it's going to be very difficult to let go and allow your body to do what it needs to do. If you are afraid, it's hard to relax and accept the process.
Once you finish your list, take a good look at it. What do you see? Now it's time to find or create birth affirmations that address your concerns. Here are a few examples to get your started:
|Body's Ability to Birth||
My body will open
I can make informed decisions about my body and my baby
|Being Able to Handle Labor||
My birth is empowering, memorable, and safe
|Changing Family Dynamic/Parenting Ability||
I deserve this baby
Interpreting Affirmations to Fit Your Beliefs
There is no such thing as "one size fits all." Everyone on the face of this planet has walked down a different road. Our experiences have been as unique as we are. We live our lives and make choices every single day based on our previous knowledge and past experiences. So it makes sense that when looking for birth affirmations, some of them may seem to go against our belief system. Sometimes, you may even feel like they downright lie. And this may especially be true for women who have experienced an unwanted surgical or otherwise traumatic birth in the past. These women may read the birth affirmation "Open & Release" and instead of feeling inspired, feel crushed, sad, hurt, or maybe even robbed of the experience they thought they were going to have. So what can we do? How can we work through these feelings and find other ways to be okay?
"Open & Release" is a great example of an affirmation that can be interpreted in more than one way. You could look at it physically, as your body opening up, your hips widening, your cervix thinning. Tension and stiffness releasing and melting away so that your baby can move down and out. You can also look at it emotionally. Your mind opens to accept new possibilities, and you release your fears, your doubts, or any grudges you may be holding on to that are preventing you from enjoying your pregnancy and birth. For a cesarean, you could picture your belly opening like a flower. Though your body may be opening in a different way, you are still bringing your baby out, releasing your baby from his previous home, to bring him earthside and in to you or your partners welcoming and loving arms. You are releasing your fears, opening your heart and body for this baby.
"She Believed She Could So She Did" is another really empowering, popular birth affirmation. For this one, an idea could be to focus on something more general about the labor and birth process, to focus on the end result: Giving birth to your baby. Maybe previously you had a super long labor, became exhausted, and chose to have an epidural so you could get a few hours of sleep before the pushing phase. You could look at this affirmation as "I did what I needed to do for my body and my baby" You have to make the best decision that you can based on the information that you have at the time. That is all anyone can do in the moment. You can also use this to get through each surge as it comes on. You believe that you can get through this, that you can survive the next 90 seconds. And as the wave recedes, you can say to yourself "I did it." There are endless ways to adapt this particular affirmation to fit your situation. Look at what your needs are, and in your mind, you can associate it as you see fit.
Sometimes you may come across an affirmation and really just have no ideas about how best to fit it to your situation. Maybe that affirmation isn't for you. And that's okay. Sometimes, you just have to put that one aside and find a better one to take it's place.
Why You Might Choose to Avoid Negative Language in Birth Affirmations
There are many spiritual people out there who believe in the power of positive thinking. In fact, there are several pregnancy and birth related books that cover the topic of thinking positively about your birth and avoiding negative terms. For example, in the book "HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method" by Marie F. Mongan, she says "To truly embrace the concept of gentle, normal birth, learn to think and speak in the kinder, softer word substitutes that appear on the list that follows..." And she includes a nice list of words that can be substituted for things like "Complications", "Transition", and "Contraction". And in Ina May Gaskin's book "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth", the first chapter following the birth stories is titled "The Powerful Mind/Body Connection", in which she touches on how important it is nuture the positive thoughts around pregnancy and birth, dealing with any mental blocks you may have, and she uses kinder language such as "rushes" instead of "contractions".
Since Birth Affirmations are often created to help us overcome our fears and mentally prepare for the upcoming birth, it can be easy to include phrases such as "I will overcome the pains of labor" or "I am not broken". And I chose to put those words in bold because in our subconscious mind, those words stick out as if they are in bold. It's like when someone tells you "Don't think about a purple elephant" and the first thing that pops into your head is a purple elephant. Maybe you are the kind of person who can simply look past those words, but for many people, those words are best avoided. Parenting books often touch on this topic as well, emphasizing that it's better to tell your kids what you WANT them to do, instead of what you DON'T want. The Conscious Discipline series by Becky Bailey says that "What you focus on, you get more of." So if you bring that back to birth, back to these words like "pain" and "broken", even though you are trying to say positive things, your brain is absorbing these trigger words, which may creep back up later as fear. Instead, you may want to surround yourself with affirmations that focus on what you want for your birth. "I trust my body", "I Ride the Waves of Each Surge as it Comes Over Me", "My Mind Quiets, My Body Opens, My Baby Descends". Use these positive affirmations to create helpful connections in your subconscious, and you are helping set the table for a better birth experience!
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