After identifying what they know they want for their delivery process and making concrete decisions, some women have found it amazingly helpful to generally prepare for an experience in which there are known factors and unknown factors. This might involve preparations such as meditation, visualization, or exercising to strengthen their bodies.
How do you prepare for something brand new? It’s a valid question. And even if you’ve given birth before, you’ve never experienced this birth process. Each delivery is unique and there are always unknowns. It may seem challenging to try to prepare yourself when you’re not sure what’s going to come up. Yet, there are some things you can consider doing to feel prepared.
Many people proclaim the power of visualizing what you want. Georgia, for example, prepared for her child’s birth by actively visualizing the experience she wanted to have. I asked her, “How can you visualize something you’ve never done?” For her, part of it was simply anticipating how she wanted to feel throughout the process – the specific kinds of emotions she’d most like to have – and she pictured herself feeling that way. Another thing that helped her was educating herself on anatomy. She looked at pictures of the cervix and understood what different muscle groups would be engaged during different stages of the process. With this knowledge she began to imagine what it would look and feel like as her body experienced different phases of the journey of birth.
Georgia visualized herself feeling confident and secure as she rode the waves of contractions in early labor. She saw herself on her feet moving around and swaying with pressure across her back and belly. She felt herself focusing on her breath. She created a picture in her mind of herself giving birth to her beautifully healthy baby.
She acknowledged that she hadn’t been able to fully visualize precisely what would happen, yet she was confident that preparing her mind and body for delivery was highly valuable for her. Through her visualizations, she created a practice of allowing concerns to appear and then releasing what she didn’t want to focus on. And, she strengthened her ability to focus on what she truly desired.
There are, of course, other ways besides visualization to prepare for something you’ve never done before. How are you – or how did you – prepare for birth?