As your due date draws near, you've finally accepted the fact that you are going to have to get this baby out of you! Your research on exactly how to do this is quite overwhelming... friends tell you one thing, family tells you something else, and Google.... well, let's not even go there! There are so many childbirth class options, you literally have NO IDEA what is best for you. You head is spinning with information and options... Husband Coached? Hypno-something? Birthing From Within? Yikes!! It all sounds like a lot. How will you know what to do?
Then you come across something that makes your decision seem pretty simple... The Hospital Class. And as an added bonus, it's FREE!! You decide to take the weekend express class and feel relieved that the decision really isn't as complicated as you initially thought. After all, you'll be giving birth in the very same hospital, women have been giving birth for centuries, so how complex could it possibly be, right? Deep down you are hoping to find the answers to the questions you don't even know you have.
After spending two long days learning about the Stages of Labor, practicing different positions, and understanding all your pain coping options, you are ready for confidence to wash over you. You are ready! Bring it on!! Only, that doesn't quite happen. In fact, you start to feel your heart beat a little bit faster when you think about certain parts of birth. You learned a lot in the hospital class, then why do you still feel so unsure? You tell yourself you should be feeling more confident, not less.
Suddenly your eyes are opened to the all the possibilities of birth, most of which you had no idea about a week ago! You begin to see what can go "wrong", you see how to make things go "right", you're more alert to the joy, the pain and the decisions to be made! Help! You might wish you had started this process sooner so you would have more time to work through some of your questions and feelings. Perhaps panic is starting to set in. What are you going to do?!
Hold on a minute....
If you are feeling like you've just slid down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland, you aren't alone. Most first-time moms feel the same way. There IS a lot of information to process and work through. And, you've never done this before, remember? It is ALL new to you. So be compassionate with yourself as you navigate these uncharted waters. Nothing in parenthood is as black and white, simple or straight-forward as we thought it would be (or would like it to be!). So, what can you do to cope and move forward when you are in this uncertain and unsure place?
Step One: Notice
Take a moment to just notice what is going on in your body when you think about giving birth now. It is our fist human inclination to want to jump into action and try to fix something that is uncomfortable. But right now just sit with it for a while. You might want to have a pen and some paper handy to jot down anything that might arise for you. Notice what makes you tense. Notice if anything makes your heart beat a little faster. Notice if there is anything you want to avoid thinking about. Make a note of any questions that are coming up right now.
Step Two: Activate Your Resources
Don't be afraid of the worry you might be feeling. Worry is the work of pregnancy, so use it to your advantage to activate your inner and outer resources. Pick one thing off your list above that you want to work on right now. You can come back to others later, but for now let's just focus on one thing at a time.
What is it you really want to know?
What advice have you already received? How did you know it was or wasn't right for you?
What do you want to be different or to change?
How is what is happening right now working for you?... and not working for you?
What more information do you need?
Step Three: Small Steps Forward
Now move forward with one small steps of action. This doesn't have to be a huge step, and you might not feel completely at ease just yet, but identify three small things you can now do to move forward.
Do you need to:
Ask your care provider some questions?
Hire a doula?
Take a different class?
Read a book?
Do more research of your options?
Sit with it some more?
The hospital class is a great resource for information. Now take it one step further and customize it for your individual needs. I'd like to let you in on a little secret: You don't have to Know Everything about giving birth in order to give birth. Use this uncertainty to activate what YOU specifically need to know and move on, one step at a time, from that place.
I offer free 20 minute consultations if you would like to discover some options available to you after you've taken a hospital class. Please feel free to contact me if you live in the Denver/Castle Rock area.
The following is part of a series of posts detailing the information in my free download 26 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Birth.
This is one of my favorite ways to connect with baby because it feels sooooooo good for mama, too!
No matter which way you are getting massaged, the key is to bring your full awareness to your baby. I like to first start by listening to my breath. Listen to it as you inhale.... and exhale. Once your mind starts to quiet down, bring your awareness to your growing child. With each exhale feel your body soften around his or her little body. You are providing a warm, safe environment for them to grow, so thank your body for the amazing job it is doing of nurturing this little human.
There are several ways to go about getting massaged. Some are easier and cheaper than others, but all are beneficial to mom and baby!
This is the most decadent way to get massaged. A good prenatal massage therapist will become your best friend, especially late in your pregnancy when every ligament is stretched to the max and every muscle is working overtime.
Enlist the help of your partner to give you a massage at the end of a long day. This is a great way for your partner to connect with you (both physically and emotionally) as well as the baby, too.
Simple Hand or Foot Massage
You'll need a partner for this, too. Get out your favorite lotion or oil and find a nice peaceful place to put your feet up. As your partner massages your hands or feet, allow your breath to slow down as you bring your attention to your baby. Send all your love and energy to him or her as you feel the love your partner has for you, too. BTW, a simple hand massage is simply divine, you won't realize how much you needed one until you get one!
Self-given Hand Massage
Don't let time, energy or lack of another person around prevent you from connecting with your baby and enjoying the benefits of a massage. A simple self-given hand massage can often work wonders. Take off your rings, find your yummiest lotion and spend five minutes massaging your own hands. Listen to your breath. Imagine how much work your hands will do for your baby once he or she arrives. Imagine the meals they will prepare, the tears they will wipe away, the loving embraces they will give.
No matter how you get massaged, the important thing is that you are taking some time out of your busy day to connect with your child.
In the comments, tell us how you plan on working a massage into your day today.