Preparing for childbirth can be a daunting task. It's a bit like planning a camping trip, when you've never been camping before. Once you decide that you are indeed going camping, you're all in. You spend months thinking about summer and the beautiful time you'll have camping (or so people say...you've never actually been camping, so you'll take their word for it). You and your partner research the best places to go camping in your area. You talk to your friends who have camped before. You find out their favorite places and you ask why they like it. You make a mental note to do more research on that particular spot.
You need to know what type of equipment you'll need for your rookie camping trip, so you sojourn to REI and look at all the tents, sleeping bags, cook stoves, lanterns, air mattresses (yes, there will be an air mattress on your camp out!) You learn the difference between RV camping, car camping and backpacking. You log into Pinterest for camping recipes and tips. You glean all kinds of camping hacks: from turning a jug of water into a lantern with just a headlamp, to how to cook paella over an open flame. Your mind is swimming with all this new information. As the date of your inaugural camping trip approaches, you begin to gather up your supplies. You get out the map, and you lay everything out in the living room to see what else you may need. You are ready to go!
Or are you? Over the last few months of preparing for this trip, you start to feel like something is missing. You realize how much information is out there about camping . . . and you have read most of it! Your mind feels prepared. And heck, even your physical body feels prepared, thanks to the early morning walks and afternoon "pre-camping" yoga classes you've taken. But something is still missing, and you can't quite put your finger on it. Suddenly you realize that you are embarking on a completely unfamiliar journey, and even though you have done all this research and preparation, you really have NO IDEA what to expect. There are a lot of unknowns: the weather? the wildlife? do you have enough food? enough water? But more importantly, you start to wonder how this camping trip will affect you on a deeper level. What kind of preparation do you need to do to emotionally prepare for the unknown? Are you ready for the leaky tent? The unbelievably gorgeous sunset? The feeling of being so small, while seeing the universe expand above you? How will you cope with getting lost along the way? Or realizing that you left behind your morning coffee? How will you hold the immense gratitude you feel following a challenging hike? These are the real questions of camping. These are the things that matter.
The thing about camping is. . . it's not about having the right tent, or the perfect sleeping bag, or the most flavorful food. It's about the journey. It's about getting rained on and having to make-do by playing cards in your tent. It's about taking a "wrong" turn only to discover the most beautiful little lake not marked on any map. It's about the time spent together, finding your way through. It's about eating scabby hotdogs off a stick, and getting dirty, and pooping in the woods, and getting scratched up by the brush on a hike, and loosing track of time, and setting up a tent in the rain (which makes you really appreciate said tent!). While there is a lot of preparation that goes into camping, once you're out the door and on your way, are you willing to let go and see what happens? Are you confident in your ability to meet the challenges that come your way with flexibility and resilience? Are you willing to leave your judgement of the "perfect" camping trip at home? Are you open to finding joy in the cold and pouring rain? Are you willing to be surprised? Are you willing to be changed?
As you prepare for camping... er, I mean,birth... are you ready to answer some of those unspoken questions you have? Are you ready to meet this birth with all that you have? If so, call me. I can help you. I will gently guide you through your preparation and finding out what you need to know to give birth. I will support you on this unfamiliar trip by providing emotional and physical comfort during your labor. I will be there throughout, to answer your questions, or to wipe tears from our eyes, to rejoice on a job well done. You will not be alone. The journey you must take is yours, but I can help you along the way. Schedule a 20 min. consultation, and we'll get started!
The following is part of a series of posts detailing the information in my free download 26 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Birth.
Whether you are an avid outdoors-woman or would prefer to admire the Great Outdoors from the comfort of your own home, being outside and aware of your natural surroundings is a fantastic way to prepare for labor. When you're outside, especially now that summer is in full swing, everything is alive. The trees are full, flowers carry heavy blossoms, and even the weeds are flourishing. You are also a part of this season of growth. Your body nourishes your growing baby, and your heart is expanding to make room for a new person in your life.
Moving around in a new environment will strengthen your muscles and increase your stamina for labor. Experiencing the gifts of nature will awaken your intuition and mothering instinct. There is no better time like now to get out and take that hike!
Where to Go
Almost anywhere you live, you can find a hike to meet your needs. If you are an active healthy person, you might want to try a more challenging hike. Or perhaps you would prefer to go easy on the incline, and just take it all in. Here in Colorado there is something for everyone. I've listed a few of my favorite places to go, ranging from easy to challenging.
**As with any physical exercise, please check with your care provider and make sure you are not overextending yourself.**
Castlewood Canyon: Just south of Denver, near Franktown, Castlewood Canyon State Park is a great place for hiking and a picnic. A beautiful creek runs through the bottom of the canyon and there are several trails to choose from to meet your hiking needs. You'll be amazed with this surprising gem of a place so close to the city.
Rock Park in Castle Rock: This short hike is right in the heart of Castle Rock. The views from the top of the Rock are astounding. The trail isn't very long, so it's perfect for a pregnant momma!
Garden of the Gods: Another perfect hike for a pregnant momma. These trails are well marked and the views of the red rocks are beautiful. You'll get the feel for being out in the wild and you practically don't have to leave civilization! About one hour south of Denver in Colorado Springs.
Adams Falls: This is an absolutely beautiful hike outside Grand Lake, Colorado. A short trail takes you to the waterfalls, which are not to be missed. Afterward, take in a boat ride on Grand Lake or a stroll through the town. Grand Lake is at the foot of Rocky Mt. National Park, so if you're feeling more adventurous, there are plenty more places to hike from there!
Chief Mountain: If you want to see some vistas, this is the place to go! The trail head is just off Squaw Pass, almost to Echo Lake. Go early and take drink a lot of water as the elevation is pretty high. On this short hike, you will pass through several eco-zones and get above tree-line. This hike could be challenging, so make sure you are up for the task!. (Meaning: check with your doctor.)
Still Need Some Inspiration?
Where is your favorite place to hike? Link to it in the comments!
The following is part of a series of posts detailing the information in my free download: 26 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Birth.
If you are anything like me, you are ready for winter to be over! Thank goodness, Spring is right is around the corner. It is time to get out of your shoes and let your feet breathe. Get them out in the sunshine and wiggle them around. They have spent too much time bundled up in boots, and covered in shoes and socks.
"Wait a minute, Meggan, What in the world does this have to do with preparing for labor?" you ask.
Hang in there with me, you'll see.
Our feet are the unsung heroes of pregnancy. They carry us around all day long. We stuff them into shoes, boots, high heels and rarely give them time to stretch out. They get swollen and ache with the extra weight of your precious baby. They are the forgotten soldiers. Forgotten, that is until they hurt and cry out for relief!
So with the first day of Spring later on this week, let's celebrate by honoring your feet! Give them some extra love and tlc this week. Take off your shoes. Stretch out your toes. Roll them on a tennis ball. Splurge, and get a pedicure.
Once you've liberated your feet and shown them your appreciation for all their hard work. Get outside. Walk around in your yard. Feel as many different surfaces as you can: cement, grass, gravel, smooth rocks etc. As you are walking around, let your feet sink into the earth. Close your eyes and feel this connection to the ground. So often our experience of the Earth is with a thin (or thick) sole between our skin and the ground. Allow your body to be connected fully to the Earth, and feel the strength and grounding that this brings.
Quiet your mind.
Notice the different sensations your feet are feeling (sharp, cold, prickly, tickling, soft, etc.). Do not judge them, just notice them.
Let it be.
Let the ground support you.
Offer up a prayer of gratitude for the strong body that you have and for the baby you are growing.
And thank your feet for everything they do!
If you want more information about how to care for your beloved feet, check out Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief, or Whole Body Barefoot by Katy Bowman. (Even if your feet don't hurt, this is a great book for preventative foot care!)
What is your favorite barefoot activity?
The following is part of a series of posts detailing the information in my free download Connect With Your Baby A-Z!.
This video says it all!
Crank up your favorite tunes....
You can dance with someone.
You can dance alone.
Don't worry about how you look...
Let the music move you!
Stephanie Larsen, creator of Dancing for Birth says, "When women start dancing, dancing brings a new connection with themselves--a connection that is not typically cultivated. Dancing increases acceptance of one's body, and love and respect for oneself; it increases self-esteem. Dancing informs a mother of what her body is capable of, and to feel pleasure to be in her body.
"In labor, women can experience an internal, intuitive, and ectatic state. This same state can be accessed while dancing. In labor, women rely on sensation and freedom of movement. Through dance a woman learns to feel sensation in her body rather than be numb to [or unaware of] sensations."
Pam England, creator of Birthing From Within writes in her blog: "Women often feel suffering when they can't move in labor in the hospital, or they don't have the freedom to act upon the desire to move. Women can feel restrained by tubes, belts, and tethers of technology, but they can also lose their freedom to act, with or without medical tethering, by their own conditioning and disconnection with their bodies.
We give birth in our bodies. We cannot "think" and plan our way through labor. We give birth in our Dynamic Feminine energy and body; which means to move intuitively, mindlessly, and unself-consciously."
So take a few moments out of your day today and move your body!
Let us know in the comments what your favorite song is or how it felt to let loose.