I’ve been working really hard this pregnancy on finding the inner peace and calm that is so important to help you relax into birth as much as possible. I didn’t realise it was important to practise meditation and breathing, or even to practise finding a calm space – I thought it just happened when it needed to – but it really is vital, and the more I do it, the easier I am finding it. I am also amazed at the impact it’s been having on my state of mind right through this pregnancy.
At a recent session with my wonderful cranial osteopath Ben, we talked about moving carefully and gently through this pregnancy, trying to let each new stage happen and let my body grow around my advancing size with acceptance and stillness. Ben commented on how amazingly calm and relaxed I seemed. “I expected you to have this zooming energy, everything firing off in different directions,” he said, because, firstly, he knows me so well, and also because I’d been moving house and working like a trojan to ensure I got a break before the twins arrived. “But I’ve just written in your notes how unbelievably good everything is. You’re always so busy in your head, but you’re very calm and it’s just a really great energy.”
This was fantastic to hear. I’ve been using lots of the meditation and breathing techniques I’ve practised since my hypnobirthing course and am really starting to feel the benefits. Whether I go into labour naturally, or have to opt for a planned c-section – both outcomes which I am feeling comfortable and peaceful about thanks to both my midwife and a fantastic one-on-one session with the lovely Beth at Bump to Baby – I know I can use this ability to find an inner strength and stillness to get me through.
Below are some of my favourite breathing scripts and visualisations and meditation tracks to practise to, if you are also working on that inner calm…..
Positive Birth Rehearsal: I love this track, from the wonderful soothing tones of Hollie de Cruz who runs London Hypnobirthing. It’s a great practise to do in your mind before birth and has really helped me feel connected to the babies and exciting about giving birth to them. (Positive Birth Rehearsal, £8.99 digital mp3, download here)
Breathing Visualisations: This is a CD of 24 short 2-3 minute breathing visualisation scripts to practise with before birth, and use during labour. Each one is designed to last the same length as a contraction, focusing you on the out breath, and visually on something as simple as rolling a ping pong ball along the floor, blowing bubbles or walking in a bluebell wood. There are also a couple of lovely tracks focusing on the baby and its experience of birth, connecting you back to your baby. (Visualisations CD, £8 digital mp3, download here).
Empowering Statements: This is part of the Katherine Graves Hypnobirthing book and CD collection, and a really great track for reinforcing positive messages about birth. Listening to it beforehand means you can focus on the ones that have the most impact for you, and really start to connect with them. (Empowering Statements for a Confident Birth, £6.97, Katherine Graves).
Confidence and Power: Another great meditation from Katherine Graves, especially good for moving past negativity and dealing with stress, anxiety and fear, buy it here.
You can get more great visualisations from Hollie de Cruz here – her Deep Relaxation Mp3 is great; and the full Colour and Calmness CD from Katherine Graves is an hour long set of positive meditations and great calming visualisations, find it on iTunes.
The Hypnobirthing book we used was by Katherine Graves – I preferred it to the Marie Mongan one, as I found it less focused on the theory and deeply spiritual side of hypnobirthing, and more on the practical and approachable aspects of hypnobirthing, with lots of clear ways forward for practising and preparing for birth. You can buy it here.
I would also recommend getting some of the Yes Mum To Be Cards, with positive statements for birth and pregnancy. Turning one over each day and focusing on its message has helped to centre my thoughts – and you can even stick the really meaningful ones for you all over the house to remind you throughout the day about positivity and calmness.