Visualization During Labor

In our birth class, we’ve talked about using visualization as a tool for coping with labor contractions.  You can both plan a visualization ahead of time and wait until you are in lab0r to find your visualization.

Last night I was trying to fall asleep and having a lot of pretty regular Braxton Hicks (as usual).  The last few days they’ve begun to hurt sometimes at the site of my old endo pain.  This seems to especially happen in bed at night (not sure if it’s my position or the baby’s or what).  Anyway, I usually practice breathing and relaxing during these, trying to get a feel for what being relaxed during a contraction feels like and hoping that these little ones are helping prepare me for the real ones.  Last night, in addition to breathing, I tried visualizing one of my favorite places- Rosario Head, a sea cliff on the Puget Sound.  This particular vista was in the state park just adjacent to the marine biology station where I spent two summers during my undergraduate and graduate studies.  I used to go there at night and look down at the waves, silver in the moonlight, pounding the rocks below.  As I imagined the waves last night,  two descriptive words came to mind: fierce and beautiful.  I love the ocean and find it to be one of the most beautiful things on earth, but I also find it a little terrifying.  It’s so powerful, so vast.  It’s fierce.  So I imagined a contraction being the same way- fierce and beautiful- and as soon as I did that, I immediately noticed a difference in perception.  Instead of thinking pain I was thinking power.  Thinking about it this morning I actually feel a little emotional over my visualization.  Maybe it’s because I love the combination of those two words so much, or maybe it’s because I have something to hold on to- one more tool that I can utilize when needed.  I have no idea if I’ll want to attach those words to contractions during labor, but this really gives me hope that, whatever I’m feeling at the time, I will be able to come up with visualizations that help me using this basic strategy.

This has felt like a ramble, but I really wanted to write it down.  All during my pregnancy I’ve felt like I should be doing things to prepare myself for labor, to prepare myself to cope with pain, to prepare myself to endure a potentially long labor.  To my dismay, however, I haven’t done a lot of the things I thought I would do.  I thought I would do yoga ALL THE TIME.  Haven’t done it once yet.  I thought I would reread ALL the birth books I read before.  Haven’t wanted to reread much of anything. I thought I would take a walk EVERY DAY.  I’ve spent my time doing housework instead.  Sometimes I like to remind myself that this is my first baby and I plan to have others, so I can improve on my birth preparation each time.  Sigh.  I’m a “learn by doing” person, so I guess this will be no different.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laughingpromises
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 17:54:23

    I think visualization will be an important technique for me as well. A lot of the Ina May birth stories I’ve been reading have talked about riding the “waves” of contractions (or rushes, as they call them). I like that thought. I guess there are a lot of analogies with contractions and the ocean. I love what you said here about them being fierce and beautiful. I may have to tuck that one away for myself. 🙂


    • travelnole
      Oct 21, 2012 @ 10:10:37

      I do remember all the wave comparisons in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and that thought has always stuck with me. I actually just bought a paper copy of that book because I want to reread the stories now that I’m close to giving birth myself. I first read it a couple of years ago when I first got the baby bug 🙂


      • laughingpromises
        Oct 21, 2012 @ 16:16:57

        I’m reading that now! I read Spiritual Midwifery at the beginning of my pregnancy, and I am so excited to be reading more of her books now. I’ll be reading the guide to Breastfeeding after this one. Love it.

      • travelnole
        Oct 22, 2012 @ 23:25:00

        Ooooo, let me know how the breastfeeding one is if you start it before I get to it. I’ve been wondering if I should read that one! Thing is, I have a couple other books started that I really need to finish first…..

      • laughingpromises
        Oct 22, 2012 @ 23:43:49

        Haha I know what you mean. It’s amazing how many books people let you borrow or that you want to read in pregnancy. I think I’ve read more in the past 6 months than the rest of the time I’ve been in Australia (and I love reading). I am starting it in the next couple of days, so I’ll let you know what I think. 🙂

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