In the *modified* famous words of Beyoncé, “I see it (vision), I want it (goal), I grind hard (action), I own it (success)!” I believe mental preparation is a HUGE part of achieving any goal!
In runners terms, I would liken my pregnancy and labor to running two marathons:
Marathon #1 is remaining healthy through the entire pregnancy. I have to take extra precaution to keep my blood pressure in the normal range during pregnancy.
Marathon #2 is the labor and delivery itself. Since I haven’t experienced the “complete” labor process, I’ve been mentally preparing for what is to possibly come.
As a believing person, it goes without saying that prayer is at the tip top of my list! Here are 5 other ways that I am mentally preparing for a home birth labor and delivery:
1. Visualization. I’ve been practicing visualizations since I found out I was expecting. Sitting quietly, I imagine where and how I would deliver. It will be in our first family home, in our bedroom, dim lights, maybe a few candles. I smell the scents of dried rose petals, lavender essential oil, and CALM spray. Surrounded by my supportive birth team: husband, doula, birth assistant, and midwife -- likely not all at once, but there if I need them. Feeling the peaceful serenity of water from the birth pool or the shower. Listening to beautiful Quranic recitation, and words of encouragement. Eating and drinking replenishing and sustaining foods. Free, unencumbered, and limitless in the peace and calm of allowing my body to do what it naturally wants to do.
2. Affirmations. During my absolutely beautiful Mother’s Blessing gathering, my sista-friends made prayers, strong intentions, and affirmations for our space during labor and delivery. As they made their remarks, they dropped a bead into a container. Some of the participants chose shaped beads that hold a specific meaning to them, as well as a representation of me: the pearls (ya'll know I love my pearls!), cube, jade butterfly, and the seashell were all chosen because they represent aspects of my personality and character, and they have uniquely special meanings to me. The longer beads in between those are actually rolled up and beaded Quranic verses! The beads were then put together to form a necklace. I’ve been wearing the necklace for some time now and speaking affirmations that they spoke to me, to myself daily.
3. Relaxation. Since our older two daughters are off in GA for the rest of the pregnancy, I have had plenty of time to rest and relax. At first I didn't know what to do with myself! It's been a while since I've been "child-free" without anything to do, or places to go. As the pregnancy wears on, I am very grateful for the time and space to REST! I still have appointments to go to and little errands here or there, but I can leisurely nap without wondering if/when someone is going to wake up. ..or wake me up 😁. Although I'm not observing the physical fast this Ramadan, I've been able to focus on my personal spiritual development without the everyday distractions that come with motherhood. I’ve also taken up adult coloring! I was gifted a book and it has been refreshing to take a blank sheet and bring it to life with color! On some of these pages, I have written affirmations on the back, and they are hung in our room for reflection during labor and delivery!
4. Color of empowerment! While red is my favorite color, YELLOW is my favorite HAPPY color! It’s bright like the sunshine, hinting at the endless possibilities the day or life may bring. I have included yellow in my wardrobe throughout the pregnancy and just last weekend, I treated myself to a prenatal, pre-labor pedicure with yellow polish with gold sparkles on the big toe! It's also a reminder that my body is NOT a lemon and to live my life like it’s GOLDEN!
5. Celebrating the small steps along the way! Normally I’m not one to run victory laps for every minor achievement, I like to GO BIG! That isn’t the case during pregnancy! Even with textbook perfect blood pressure levels when I’m not pregnant, gestational high blood pressure has been something that I have struggled with during both previous pregnancies. There is no concrete explanation of why, or a real way of avoiding it. It just seems to be my body’s response to being pregnant, *shrugs*. However, through trial and error, there are precautions one can take. This time, with the help of chiropractic care, acupuncture, and regular intake of the dietary supplements, I have been able to keep my blood pressure within normal ranges. For every appointment where my pressure is within normal range, I say a prayer of thanks, and give myself a gold star, AND a high five for a job well done!
In the words of India Arie, I'm stepping out on faith to find inner/mental strength, courage, and wisdom to rock this homebirth!
What do you do to mentally prepare for a BIG task? Let me know in the comments!