Finding Peace and Calm Within the Birth Space
I am so privileged to have the job of bringing life into the world. My wish for all pregnant women is the gift of a mindful pregnancy and childbirth.
As a Seattle Birth Doula serving in hospitals, birth centers, or at home, building a soothing, peaceful nest within the birth space is one of the most important aspects of my work. It is of utmost importance to me to make each family feel calm and relaxed in their space, wherever that is. The birth of your baby is a sacred beginning, and I honor this, and you as new parents, by mindfully putting together a space where you feel blissful and supported.
The typical hospital setting can be a pretty sterile environment, but there are things you can do to change the energy in the room. The first thing I do when I enter is create a sacred space of peace and calm; the space that holds the energy for everyone in the room, including your little one making their journey earthside. So it’s important whether you are at home or in a hospital that you feel completely at ease, supported, and loved on in your birth space.
Most items in my birth bag are props that help me build a cozy, comfortable environment for my parents to do their intensive work- my birthing scarf, labor balls, hot water bottle, massage tools and lotions, essential oils, chapstick, hair ties, and special treats for Mama. Other items I gather once I arrive are (quite a few) towels, pillows, blankets, a heating pad, and an ice bucket.
I find one of the largest impacts on energy in the room is the lighting. I am always mindful of lights I can dim or turn off, and bring small LED candles or twinkle lights to sprinkle around the room and bathroom. I also encourage my Mammas to purchase a lavender scented eye pillow- you can find them for super cheap on Amazon, and can warm them up in the microwave to deeply relax with the lavender aromatherapy while keeping in a focused, internal space by eliminating any distracting light.
You guys- I cannot encourage hydrotherapy enough! This can be such a powerful tool for pain management and relaxation, especially during active labor. A hot bath or shower, or simply running water down the back can be incredibly soothing during intense contractions. I like to bring a peanut ball for Mom to rest on in the tub, a few LED candles, essential oils to sprinkle in the water, and a soothing playlist- and together we find the most chill of spaces.
“It may seem like overkill to plan such intricate details of your birth environment, but the point is this—a relaxed, calm Mom will birth quicker and easier-anonymous"
Here are some other ideas that may help you find your chill space:
· Mats, beanbags, cushions, soft blankets and/or a birth ball to make yourself extra comfortable and cozy
Remember that upright positions will help labor to progress. Keep moving as much as you can.
· Comfy Clothes-You’ve probably been living in them anyway these last few months and will most likely continue doing so moving into motherhood, so don’t stop now:)
· Your own pillow, soft robe, cozy slippers
Would you like any music playing? Perhaps you have songs with special significance? Perhaps you’ve already been meditating to something or there’s a particular tune or style of music that you just generally find soothing and inspiring? Or it can be fun! Prepare a playlist in advance with different styles for different times. The faster, livelier tunes may be helpful in the early stages, but as you start to need more focus, I would recommend something slower and more rhythmic.
What else would bring you greater peace?
Birthing is a whole body experience, and your senses are heightened, so use them to your advantage – they can also be a great distraction. Have you or could you explore some high quality pure essential oils that you could diffuse in your birthing suite (or place a few drops onto cotton balls)? Specifically relaxing ones, uplifting ones, or simply your favorite smell?
Within my work, I have found that when my Mammas feel safe and supported, they can find a tender place of relaxation that allows them to trust me, and trust their body. When they find this place, they no longer worry about the time or what is happening around them, they become fully engaged and in tune with their bodies, and are able to ride the waves patiently until baby comes. It is an amazingly beautiful thing to watch