I thought I knew the power of the mind body
connection. However, it was through the recent birth of my second
child that my understanding of it was strengthened tenfold. In the past, I
used exercise (running, lifting, yoga) as a moving meditation, and I
how my physical actions effect my mental state. Exercise and deep
helped me to stay calm and centered. I was working from the outside in.
labored with my first daughter Laylah I had a similar approach. I was sure that my physical actions would help
shape my birth experience into something peaceful and easy.
Almost 3 years ago when Laylah was born I found that all the
physical strength in the world could not combat the pain of labor. Giving birth sans epidural was important to
me, so that’s what I did. During the
labor I tried to fight the discomfort with different physical postures,
massage, props, gyrations, and vocalizations… all to no avail. I was afraid,
stressed, and in major PAIN. After all
was said and done I came out of it feeling traumatized and a bit embarrassed by
the whole experience. My poor baby came into the world hearing “F*#K! I am
going to die!” It was all very dramatic.
When I got pregnant with Caia, I knew I had to take a different
What would happen if I started
from the inside and worked my way out?
That’s when I decided to read up on hypnobirthing. The goal of hypnobirthing
is to practice deep relaxation, visualization techniques, and self-hypnosis to minimize
the pain of childbirth. I studied hard. Along with practicing the techniques
every night by listening to hypnobirthing tracks on my ipod, I read Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method
Mongan. I was skeptical when I read
things like “childbirth can be a pain free experience,” but I was willing and
open to the thought of it. I felt as if I was training for a race. The more I practiced the meditations the more
confident I became in my ability to stay relaxed when the big day arrived.
Labor started. I was nervous, but I kept my cool. With each surge (Hypnobirthing lingo for contraction)
I calmed my mind and allowed my body to relax completely. In my mind I told myself that I was not
feeling pain, only “pressure.” This “pressure”
concept really worked for me, and as labor progressed, I made sure to stay in
the present moment. In the breaks between surges I savored the relaxation, and
during the surges I repeated my “only pressure” mantra. The atmosphere was
peaceful. I didn’t yell and scream. I didn’t waste mental energy anticipating the
next surge. Time flew by, and all of a sudden my midwife told me it was time to
push. I was shocked! I thought that I
was just getting started. Where was the pain and suffering that I experienced
with my first labor? Was it possible that it was almost over?! With 2 big
pushes my little one was safe in my arms. I felt proud and amazed at the ease
in which she entered the world.
It was truly a wonderful birth experience, and it gave me a
deeper understanding of the power of the mind... and how it can affect our
physical experience. What an awesome tool to use in all the challenges of life. With
the right mental approach, obstacles can be overcome without too much
suffering. Whether it is exercise, a frustrating work moment, a painful loss of
a loved one, or a screaming toddler in the back seat of your car, one can relax
and ride the surge to the next break.