If there’s a perfect time to take advantage of the power of positive thought, it’s childbirth! Birth affirmations provide an easy throughway to sharpening the mind-body connection before and during labor. They’re inclusive in that anyone can use them — you don’t need any special training, and they’re beneficial for any type of birth.
There are several ways to use these — maybe some ways work for you, maybe they all do, maybe none feel quite right (scroll to the bottom of this post for alternate ideas). There is no wrong answer.
- You may enjoy visual reminders (for example, hung on paper or fabric around your birthing space, written on notes in random spots, lipsticked onto your bathroom mirror).
- You may benefit from listening to mantras (audio tracks).
- You can keep affirmations in your head, too. Just invite them into your mind every so often when you need an introvert’s pep talk.
- Are rituals your thing? Fold a set of affirmations into your spiritual/religious/energetic ritual practices. The theme of birth will become a spotlighted energy as you progress further into pregnancy. Don’t fight it, let it join you!
- Your partner can relay your favorite affirmations as partner support during labor (simply alter the pronouns/tenses as needed). Is your partner aware that simply showing care by verbalizing sweet nothings, pride, and appreciation can assuredly influence your hormone levels, reduce your fear, and decrease your reception of pain?
- Birth is safe for me and my baby.
- Childbirth is a normal event.
- My birth story unfolds without judgment.
- It’s okay to feel scared.
- It’s okay to feel out of control.
- It’s okay to need help.
- My body will heal.
- I am in the right place, doing the right thing.
- I am going to be okay; my baby is going to be okay.
- I’m prepared for whatever my body and baby need.
- I have everything I need to birth my baby.
- I am thankful that my baby can be born safely this way.
- Birth is miraculous, however it happens.
- My baby will arrive at the perfect time.
- Birth happens in its own time.
- I am flexible and open to change.
- I will take this one moment at a time.
On Birth Company
- I am not alone.
- I am cared for, protected, and loved.
- I trust my birth team to keep me and my baby safe.
- My partner/care provider/doula is a dependable guide.
- I am surrounded by love.
- I am laboring along with 300,000 other women today!
On Self Love
- I am brave.
- I am more beautiful than I’ve ever been!
- I am proud of my body.
- I love my body.
- I am enough.
- I am doing great!
- My sexuality is sacred; I own it.
- I’m grateful for my body.
- I will nourish my body as it nourishes my baby.
- Every surge brings my baby closer to me.
- I’ll get to meet my baby very soon!
- My baby feels my sense of calm and confidence.
- My baby is looking forward to being welcomed with love.
- Breathing in, I feel strong. Breathing out, I let go.
- I soften. I open. I release.
- I want this more than I fear it.
- Breathe baby down.
- A place of surrender is a safe place.
- I turn my labor over to nature.
- It’s not pain — it’s power.
- My contractions are not stronger than me — they are me.
- The power and intensity of my contractions cannot be stronger than me because it is me.
- The strength of a contraction is the strength of my body.
- Birth is powerful; I’m empowered.
- I am stronger than I think.
- I have the command to relinquish control.
- I see my cervix opening to let my baby through.
- When I breathe in, I capture the tension. When I breathe out, the tension dissolves.
- My cervix is a flower, petals blooming further as I dilate.
- My uterus opens upward and outward, like holding up my skirt as I step over a rain puddle.
- In labor, I’m riding the waves and stay above the water.
- In labor, I’m riding a galloping horse that will take me to my baby.
- I believed I could so I did.
- I believe I can so I will!
- I CAN do this. I AM doing this.
- I can do anything for a minute.
- My body knows how to birth this baby just as my body knew how to grow this baby.
- My baby knows how to be born.
- I trust my capability to handle anything.
- My body and my baby are healthy and strong.
- I am making the best choices for my baby with what I know.
- I am doing the best I can with what I know.
What makes for an effective birth affirmation:
- Leave possibility for the unexpected. After all, there will be surprises in every birth.
- Phrase in the positive tense instead of the negative.
- The best affirmations not only help you mentally prepare for labor, they also help you feel great about your birth regardless of the outcome.
Following are examples of affirmations I find lacking or problematic. If you love them and they work for you, by all means, affirm away! But if you feel especially sensitive to word choice, consider the specifics and intentions of your affirmations carefully.
I birth with ease.
Birth is hard work, even when it’s a ‘breeze.’ Some birthing parents hope for an ‘easy’ labor and that’s what they get, but later feel like they missed out on something if it was shockingly quick or otherwise underwhelming. I worry this affirmation sets a birthing parent up for feelings of incompetence or disappointment. Personally, I’d prefer a version that helps a birthing parent love whatever labor they have. That said, if labor is rough and you find repeating the word “ease” gets you through, it couldn’t be a more appropriate usage of a four-letter word.
The body achieves what the mind believes.
Though, sometimes it just doesn’t, despite our best efforts. Labor is a psychological trip more than anything; there will be no muscling or thinking your way out of it! Perhaps we can lessen risk of ineptitude by tweaking this a bit. Maybe “The body achieves what the mind perceives”? A laborer’s intuitive faculties are running at peak levels, after all.
My body knows how to give birth.
It really does! But birth is not one-size-fits-all. There is a vast range of possibility that falls under the umbrella of “how birth is done.” This affirmation is problematic when we maintain rigid ideas about birth. If it doesn’t end up looking that specific way, how will we feel? Birth is, under all its more complex layers, simply a grand experience that reveals a new chapter. If you can view the spareness of birth with reverence, this affirmation should awaken some deeper excitement. If, after some soul searching, you find yourself still placing conditions on the definition of birth, this affirmation may not successfully serve you.
I trust my body, I trust my baby.
This can be a great confidence boosting affirmation! However I feel it’s best used when we first truly understand how to surrender to the intangible yet intensely physical nature of our body and baby working together, rather than impose boundaries around exactly what it is that you trust them to do. Do you really trust your body and baby to do what they need, or do you trust your body and baby to do what you want? Get to a place where you strongly feel the former and this can prove a mighty affirmation.
Birth affirmations aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Regularly spending time ruminating on your pregnancy and birth is still essential, so here are a few alternate ideas.
Your innovative energy is at an absolute pinnacle during pregnancy so keeping a journal or scrapbook specific to this time is a great idea. Include drawings, sketches, dream journaling, photo collages, milestone markers, even taking basic notes after prenatal appointments will do. If you’re not typically the artsy type, don’t waste your time feeling intimidated. You’ll be thrilled by the expansion of your creative energy when your body is making a little human being!
Do affirmations feel corny to you? How about instead of applying these directly to yourself, think about them in relation to others. Invest a good amount of time watching empowering birth videos. This is itself potently self-affirming.
Skip the generic guestbook at your baby shower. We really can live without the vague Hallmark-esque advice and fear-mongering trips down the memory lanes of our acquaintances and relatives. Request only positive words from your guests — this will help preserve your bubble of peace. If you prefer a Mother’s Blessing Ceremony, ask your friends to paint words of love and encouragement on small stones that you can use to decorate a sacred space of your home. Let your friends’ affirmations speak for you; make a special effort to rouse them when your own voice feels stifled.
If you’re not quite ‘there’ with the vulnerability needed to truly accept a birth affirmation, start building self-confidence in your everyday, more familiar activities. For example, do you work out? After a great exercise session, jot down affirmations you can use to bolster energy for your next session. Maybe you create things with your hands? After finishing a crochet hat or glazing some pottery (or whatever), reflect on your feelings about what you accomplished. How do they affect your outlook on the way future projects could turn out? Do you notice a difference in outcome when the feelings are negative and strict versus positive and flexible? This is a roundabout way to affirm a belief in yourself and, with time, learn to apply this feeling to a vision of your birth experience.
Via my birth worker site YourLaborNeighbor.com