I remember when I found out I was pregnant. I was so excited that my dream of being a mama had finally come true…well almost! I still needed to get through the pregnancy and then give birth to my son. Like most woman, I also feared the pain of giving birth and knew I needed to somehow work through this mentally. I inherently have a fear of hospitals too, so I knew I needed to engage with something early on where I could face these fears face on and enjoy the experience.
This is when I read up on visualisation and hypno-birthing as a way to focus my thoughts and energies in a positive way. I knew my visualisation needed to transport me to a place where I felt most calm and relaxed. For me, this is the beach.
Being a personal trainer I identified working with intervals and sets, and I included this pattern in my visualisation. Through visualization, I pictured each contraction being a wave surge, so each time I experienced the pain of a contraction, instead I would take myself to the ocean and feeling the surge of that wave.
Visualising your birth is no different to how high performing athletes dream their game day. Your mind is extremely powerful and has the ability to override what you think your body is capable of. Sports performance expert, Loren Fogelman says, "Your mind is unable to discriminate between imagination and reality. This is why your dreams appear so real. Harness the power of your imagination and visualise your success."
When you are visualising your birth you are starting to prepare your mind and body to handle the experience. I liken it to a practice run, so your mind thinks it has been there and done it before. I got so good at visiualising I started to visulaise how short my labour would be, how calm I would feel and how I would go into labour. To be honest, it really wasn't far off; our minds are an extremely powerful thing.
I started piecing my visualisation together from about 24 weeks, then started to really intensely practice it from 30 weeks. Every night before bed and when I was floating in the ocean with my huge belly, I would visulise my calm birth.
Visualisation may not be for everyone, but if you do choose to, it’s important to select something personal to you and something that connects with you. If you are someone that loves hiking and feels most relaxed in nature, you could visualise yourself walking up a huge mountain that has little dips where you can recover before the next steep hill. And the moment you hit the top you are gifted with your precious baby.
Along with visualisng my birth, I also practiced hypnobirthing and watched positive affirmation videos which helped me remain grounded and extremely positive. I have created my own positive affirmations video in hope to help other mamas with their miraculous journey of giving birth.
RELAX THE MIND & SET THE MOOD
It is really important to be in a relaxed and positive frame of mind, and you should choose a setting that encourages this. A scenic walk, taking a bath, laying on your bed listening to music are some examples. Ensure you select a place where you won't be distracted by others, as the longer you can practice it the better!
MEDITATIVE & CALM THE MIND
You then want to be in a meditative state of mind. Trust me, this does get easier and easier the more your practice. You want your mind to be calm and not drifting off thinking about other things. If it does, acknowledge those thoughts and then get back to focusing on your breath. I practiced yoga in order to learn techniques to relax my mind. I also found listening to an audio helped me. Or another great idea is just doing a breathing exercise (three slow inhalations and three slow exhalations) where you can simply focus on that.
VISUALISE YOUR GOAL
Be really specific with this and take as long as you need to create every single detail. After all this is your mental rehearsal on what it is that you ultimately want to achieve. The easiest way I can explain it is imagine you are watching a movie in your head. Except you get to control every scene.
Create the image: Where are you? Who is with you? How do you feel? What can you see? What can you smell?
HOLD ONTO THOSE FEELINGS
Remember all those positive and great feelings of excitement, confidence and love associated with your goal. Focus on those and remove any negative and scared feelings you may be thinking about.
KEEP VISUALISING & TAKE ACTION TO KEEP YOURSELF POSITIVE
Visualise over and over again and keep your mind super positive by watching your positive affirmations (link above) and educating yourself on how amazing the women's body really is.
Enjoy this practice and enjoy this time.
“if you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney
Love & Light