Pregnancy and the Law of Attraction
What we focus on grows strong in our lives. In the case of pregnancy and childbirth what a woman thinks about can make all the difference to what kind of experience she has. While it is important to be informed about procedures and options, current mainstream medical practitioners tend to focus almost solely on the possible risks of pregnancy, which can cause a woman to find her thoughts directed to all the things she doesn't want to happen. Books like "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne and "Ask and It is Given" by Esther and Jerry Hicks explore the law of attraction, which is simply about how when we resonate with something we draw more of that towards us. This is one reason why it is so important to put our attention primarily on what we do want in our pregnancies and births, rather than the opposite.
Visualisation and our own Perfect Pharmacy
Another way to look at thoughts and their affect on us is explored in David R. Hamilton, PhD.'s book "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body". Hamilton writes about how the brain is is like our own personal pharmacy, capable of manufacturing a whole array of chemical healing compounds, which are the most effective and perfect medicines for our bodies. These chemical processes can be triggered simply by thoughts and belief. For example, Hamilton cites studies which show how when a patient takes a placebo drug and believes it is the real one, the brain actually manufactures the relevant natural form of medicine. He describes the power of visualisation, and how when you visualise a part of the body, that part of the body feels it and responds. He writes: "I believe in line with what you imagine, brain maps change and chemicals are released". This is particularly relevant in the case of a pregnant woman in labour. If she imagines that her cervix is opening and relaxing, then it will open and relax. If she is feeling tense and worrying that her cervix is not opening, it will create further restriction. Conventional medicine favours injecting synthetic forms of pregnancy-related hormones such as Oxytocin, but when a woman is relaxed and experiencing positive feelings, she can create all the natural Oxytocin and other hormones that she and her baby need for the birth process. These concepts are written about extensively in the well-respected midwife Ina May Gaskin's book, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth". She describes visualisations used by women she has cared for which involve imagining the cervix as if it were a flower opening. Ina May also writes about the importance of how we think about and describe what are conventionally referred to as "contractions". The very word denotes tension rather than relaxation and opening. Ina May prefers to call them "rushes". I have also heard them called "surges". You can allow your body to ride these rushes like waves of energy.
Finding Positive Support
It may be challenging to deal with all the feelings and thoughts that arise in pregnancy on your own. This is why it can be incredibly helpful to join a support group which helps pregnant women use their thoughts in a positive way. Some suggestions to try: join a birth group in your area, where mothers to be and new mothers can get together with a doula or other informed natural birth practitioner to learn about what is possible in a nurturing environment, join a prenatal yoga or pilates class or take a class on hypnobirthing. Other things you can do to help yourself to think positively about birth are to read books which contain positive birth stories, such as "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth".
A Positive Birth Plan
It is also very helpful to create a birth plan which speaks in positive terms about the experience you would like to create in pregnancy. It is much more effective to give your midwife a birth plan which has statements in the affirmative, rather than those like "I do not want...". Drawing pictures of the experiences you would like to create and having them available to look at during the labour and birth is also a great help. You can create affirmations for yourself, like one woman in Ina May Gaskin's book who said over and over, "I'm going to get huge!" when thinking about her cervix dilating, and that is exactly what happened â€“ she opened wide and out came the baby. You can ask others like your birth partner to remind you that "you are a strong and marvellous woman, with a body perfectly designed to give birth". This is why choosing people who can encourage you positively during your labour and birth is so important. For this reason, it can be very beneficial to hire a doula. The Doula UK website describes a doula as: "an experienced woman who offers emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. A doula believes in "mothering the mother" - enabling a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new mum."
Sources and Further Reading:
Ina May Gaskin "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" and "Spiritual Midwifery"
Pat Thomas "Alternative Therapy for Pregnancy and Birth"
David R. Hamilton PhD. "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body"