The short answer is that labor is a mind game. The pain of contractions and the fear of the unknown can consume you. Keeping your mind focused on your own incredible strength and the joyful outcome that awaits can steer you away from getting lost in the physical pain.
When we are afraid and in pain our body’s natural reaction is to tense up, pulling every muscle tight and holding our breath. Unfortunately, when we do this we are actually working against the power of the uterine muscles contracting that move baby down and out and open the cervix. Holding our breath or taking short, panicked breaths deprives our body of much needed oxygen. Focusing your energy into specific breathing patterns and repeating a powerful message specific to you can keep the tensing and fear away.
Your affirmation can be as short, just a few words, or as long, a few sentences, as you’d like it be. The most important thing is that it makes you feel empowered and secure.
Two of my favorites are, “my body was meant to do this” and “my baby knows the way and I trust them”.
Find words that speak to you and warm your soul. Let your doula and birth partner know what you‘ve chosen so they can say them to you too and remind you what you already believe and know if the pain and fear begin to take over.