Before you begin this exercise, always start with physical and emotional centering. Imagine being in a special place of comfort and of safety where you can create feelings of relaxation and notice the beauty and special aspects of this place- sights, sounds, aroma etc. Allowing yourself to become more and more attuned to the beauty of this place, feeling a kind of comfort knowing this is your special place and allowing deepening feelings of relaxation to flow through you. Remember to include the baby.
The goal of this exercise is to enrich the possibilities of a healthy, fulfilling birth. To enable and to strengthen your mind/body connection. There is some evidence, that as we imagine something in a very deep way, we are sending messages through our body to respond. Using art, in the biggest sense of Art, which is all of our senses and using different mediums as well as our imagination and integrating that into body movements and function, this can help us create more possibility that our body will respond. Knowing that babies imitate, remember to imagine the baby fully moving and responding to your images and aligned with the baby’s own innate knowledge of maneuvering. All of us know that when we think of scary thoughts our body has a reaction, by the same token, and by the same mechanism as a mind/body connection, when we think of a really positive connection, our bodies respond in a positive way. Sometimes without having had a birth experience, it’s hard to know what you want. But as you are beginning to be comfortable with your pregnancy and learning ways to communicate with your baby, to imagine the baby, to send messages to the baby, to dream about the baby, and to receive messages from the baby, you become more used to your body, expanding in a way to give the baby this first home. In your preparation, through reading, through Childbirth Classes, to listening to friends, maybe even in learning about your own birth, perhaps you’ve begun to create some kind of an image of what the birth will be like. The Process Draw the birth that you want, and use whatever medium feels right to you. There is no judgment, no expectation, no “shoulds”, just free expression. Explore the meaning. Take a break, do something else different from drawing or art. Come back and draw the birth a second time, perhaps enriching it. Discuss and notice the differences (with your partner, caregiver, your doula, and or/a close person.) Develop a birth plan. You may use your imagination to strengthen the imagery you have for your ideal birth. You may find it easier to erase or eliminate any fear or negative thoughts you have had about the birth. Review all of these steps with the baby in mind. Get a sense of what the baby would like, what the baby needs from you and imagining a successful outcome for you and baby. The baby may present some ideas to you or not at all, that’s okay. After You Have Finished Your First Drawing, Explore the Meaning What does it mean to you, how do you feel about it? What were you surprised about? Did you get any new insight about what it would mean for you? You might also ask, “What does this mean to my baby?” What are some positive thoughts, images and ideas and expressions you have from this drawing? And what are some things you are not sure of, may have some questions about, may have some concerns about. How will you cope with those experiences and then how might you make them better and imagine them being resolved. Take some time and share your experience of this drawing. Move into that inner quiet place and allow some sharing and responding to your prenatal baby. See if you can pick up any messages the baby might be trying to express. Trust that part and just let a thought come to you.
You might answer some internal questions or complete some sentences such as: I am I will I have
I can I feel I choose
I trust I know I ask
After this drawing, take some time to notice your immediate feelings about it. What it says that feels really positive. What it says that maybe there is some questioning in it, imagine stepping into that scene, learning even more about it and you can describe what each aspect of it means to you, where are you, where is the baby, where is the support team, where are the caregivers, what the environment is like and whatever you can gather from it. What are the colors that you use and what do they mean? What are the shapes, what are the positions? And really explore the meaning. Check with baby. Clarify confusion, use imagery to help. Break Before you do the second drawing it is important to get up and do some activity. This process may activate a whole other dimension of your body/mind ability. Do something else, some physiological, emotional, physical, creative activity for your mind and your spirit. Was baby resting or engaged with you during your break? Second Drawing In doing the second drawing, perhaps you would be using a different medium or the same, take some time now to draw the birth you really want, your ideal and really put yourself into the drawing. This time, communicate with baby. Ask prenate’s opinion, questions and ideas. Be open to baby’s ideas and images of birth. Notice what colors you like using, what shapes, what dimensions, where you are, where the baby is, where your caregivers are, where your support people are, what the environment is like, and really flesh it out. Take all the time you need to do it. After You Have Finished the Second Drawing, Explore the Meaning After you’ve finished the second drawing, perhaps you have some of those incomplete sentences that you can fill in, you may add some other choices: I am, I feel, I will, I choose, I ask, I speak, I trust, I know, I can. You may get a sense of how baby would fill them in. When you’ve done that, take some time and share it with whomever you would like, it could be your doula, your partner, your friend, a close person, a caregiver and there may be parts you want to share with one person and other parts you want to share with another person. Developing Affirmations You might use some affirmations and affirmations are not just words. They are absolute strong images, you see them, you say them, you feel them through your body. Imagine your baby taking in these images, thoughts and feelings. As you enjoy feeling relaxed in your special place, and if you would like, say to yourself the following statements…feeling free to change the wording of any statement or create new affirmations to better meet your own needs and wishes or to ignore any statement that doesn’t apply to you…and you can feel the truth of these words…and imagine them as you repeat them. Use these as a template and develop your own: My changing body is radiantly beautiful. My precious baby is growing and developing fully and completely. Our baby is filled with love and health. • Childbirth is a normal, healthy event. My body is my friend. I trust my body to labor smoothly and efficiently in the best possible way for my child and myself. My baby moves easily into the optimal position for birth. I am receiving all the support I need to give birth joyfully. I am giving our baby the very best start in life. The power of birth strengthens my mate, my child, and me. After the birth is over, I can relax and sleep easily at any time, at home, or in the hospital. All my functions are normal and healthy. I feel calm and comfortable. My milk develops quickly and fully in my breasts. The milk flows naturally, just like a beautiful flowing river. I can turn on the valves to produce even more milk as I wish. I can close off the switches to any discomfort. You might want to look at this every day and feel as though you are in it. You are rewiring your brain, you are sending dendritic connections through your brain, through your heart, through your chest, through your womb to your baby, through your whole body as you imagine being in the situation that you’ve created. Your mind has enormous power to enact in reality what you think, what you’ve developed with that powerful imagination. If you want to make a comparison, it’s similar to what the Olympic athletes do, they spend a long time imagining their sport, their activity. They see themselves in it, they imagine themselves in it, their whole body is responding to it, they hear themselves in it, they smell, they see, they completely immerse themselves in the experience and they do better. This is well researched, so it can be meaningful to imagine the birth that you truly want with all that you know. And you have this in front of you every day. Step into it. Enjoy.