The body is doing a lot of inner work to grow a baby. One of the healthiest things to see is a woman pregnant with her first child who takes the time to enjoy the process. Usually it is women in their late thirties or early forties who have seen success in the outer world who are now willing to abdicate the “benefits” of the corporate world and reassess their lives through the lens of parenting.
Spiritual and Holistic Options
The tenor of pregnancy contributes to a child’s constitution for the rest of his or her life. It is a crucial time in a child’s development. And because the baby is part of a woman’s own body, positive inner communication between the two can translate into a woman’s deeper trust in herself that continues after birth.
Communicate with Your Unborn Child. Once pregnant, you can regularly communicate with your baby. Visualize your child in a pink bubble (or another color of choice—I suggest pink because it is associated with love) and send the message that she is safe and loved. This is an especially useful exercise during times of stress or when you are scared or anxious. You can also read to your baby and talk to her regularly. Hearing begins to develop in the first trimester! And remember, pregnancy is a two-way street. If you tune in carefully, you may sense that your daughter is also communicating with you.
Teresa Robertson is a midwife and a birth intuitive who helps women enhance the health of their babies in utero and their own ability to carry a child to full-term. She does this by teaching pregnant women to tune into and connect with their unborn child. Since meeting her at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York in the’80s, I’ve referred many pregnant women to Teresa. I found her approach both empowering and effective—it’s the essence of what I call “yin” power, the power of waiting, of being open and receptive. Teresa helps encourage the fundamental nature of femininity, and that’s exactly what it takes to both conceive and carry a healthy baby—or any other creation.
Good Vibrations. Make listening to music, dancing, and singing a regular part of your pregnancy. It helps tune both of your bodies. Layne Redmond, an accomplished drummer and author of When the Drummers Were Women, points out that the original beat our bodies were exposed to was our mother’s heartbeat. And that’s why the beating of drums still stirs us right to the bone.
Music has been shown to reduce anxiety, heart rate, and respiratory rate. It also decreases stress hormone levels, boosts natural opiates, relaxes laboring women, and has beneficial effects on the physiology and behavior of the newborn, including contributing positively to weight gain in both normal-weight and premature babies. Durham1
Don’t Wish Away Your Pregnancy. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, comedian and writer Erma Bombeck wrote down some of the things she wished she had done while she still had the time. One of those was savoring her pregnancies. She wrote, “Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.” Bombeck2
Use the Power of the Mind-Body Connection. Take advantage of your emotional porousness. Use birth affirmations regularly during your entire pregnancy to help you program your body and mind for optimal birth. In her book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, midwife Ina May Gaskin points out the amazing power of the mind to influence the body during labor. She told one pregnant woman that during her labor her vagina, vulva, and cervix would become huge openings to allow her baby to pass through easily. When she gave birth, that is exactly what happened! Put affirmations all around your environment—your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, Palm Pilot, journal, and phone—to remind you of your birthing power. Say them out loud or in your head regularly. Write them down repeatedly. Let the power of your emotions and thoughts do its magic with your body.
Create an Outer Placenta. Pregnancy, labor, and birth are physically demanding events that require a large outpouring of life energy. Every woman who is going through the changes of pregnancy needs to replenish that energy, not just through proper nutrition but through the love and support of those around her—the nourishing environment I call the outer placenta. Just as the developing baby cocreates her own placenta in partnership with her mother, so too must the mother “implant” herself into her community to cocreate this outer placenta. The urge to reimplant yourself into your own mother is particularly strong at this time. Obviously a supportive mate is a major plus in a woman’s ability to care for herself optimally. A carefully chosen, committed health-care team can also make a big difference. In general, the more effective and diverse your community of support, the better.
Learn More — Additional Resources
- Ina May Gaskin is one of the best-known pioneers of midwifery. Learn more about her work at www.inamay.com.
- To learn more about Teresa Robertston’s work, visit her at www.BirthIntuitive.com. She can be reached through email at Teresa@BirthIntuitive.com or by phone at 303-258-3904.
- For further ideas about using affirmations, I recommend The Pocket Midwife by my friend and nurse-midwife colleague Susan Fekety, C.N.M. To order, log onto www.pocketmidwife.com.
- Mother-Daughter Wisdom, by Christiane Northrup, M.D., Chapter 3, “The Miracle of Conception” and Chapter 4, “Pregnancy: Trusting the Process of Life”
- The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D., Chapter 12, “Pregnancy and Birthing”
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin
- Durham, L., Collins, M. 1986. The effect of music as a conditioning aid in prepared childhood education. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, vol. 15(3):268â€“70; Kershner, J., Schenck, V., 1991. Music therapy-assisted childbirth. Int J Childbirth Educ, vol 6 (3):32â€“33; Caine, J., 1991. The effects of music on the selected stress behaviors, weight, caloric and formula intake, and length of hospital stay of premature and low birth weight neonates in a newborn intensive care unit. J of Music Therapy, 28(4), 180â€“92.
- From “If I had my life to live over again,” by Erma Bombeckâ€”a popular article sent to me via the Internet. Original source unknown.