Birth Affirmation Cards
Birth affirmations are a great way to strengthen the link between mind and body. Many women today spend far too much time in their heads, analyzing, worrying, comparing, and while this may be useful in many life situations, it’s terrible for giving birth. In fact, in order for the delicate milieu of birth hormones to function at it’s best, the brain needs to power down. The French renowned childbirth expert Michel Odent, argues that the part of the brain involved in critical thinking, the neocortex, needs to shut off in order for a woman to give birth effortlessly and painlessly.
While the neocortex is useful for day to day functioning, it hinders a smooth birth. Here is Michel Odent on how this actually works:
The neocortex is supposed to be at rest so that primitive brain structures can more easily release the necessary hormones. That is why women who give birth tend to cut themselves off from our world, to forget what they read or what they have been taught; they dare to do what civilized women would never dare to do in their daily social life (daring to scream, to swear, to be impolite etc.); they can find themselves in the most unexpected, often primitive quadrupedal posture; I heard women saying afterwards: ‘I was on another planet’. When a labouring woman is ‘on another planet’, this means that the activity of her neocortex is reduced. This reduction of the activity of the neocortex is an essential aspect of birth physiology among humans.
In the third trimester, as the impending birth becomes more real and less abstract for women, the neocortex often works overtime, causing doubt, fear and anxiety. Birth affirmations can be one way of stopping these negative thoughts, and soothing the conscious mind. They can replace negativity with confidence and calm. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Each contraction brings me closer to my baby.
- Soften, open, release.
- Just as my body knew how to grow this baby, it knows how to birth it.
- I am calm. I am safe. I am relaxed.
Oxytocin, the mother of all birth hormones, aka the love hormone, aids the birthing process by stimulating the uterus to contract and releases feelings of calm and well being for mothers in labor. After birth it contributes to bonding, and successful breastfeeding. Stress hormones disrupt the release of oxytocin. Fear, anxiety, tension, all produce stress hormones in the body, that inhibit the release of oxytocin.
Birth affirmations can contribute to less stress, and more trust. By repeating affirmations to yourself, you are stopping the negative self talk by rebuilding the internal perceptions of yourself. You are literally telling yourself, mind and body, that you can do this, that your body was made to do this.
In the Muslim tradition there is a hadith (a saying of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ) that says, ” I am in the opinion of my servant.” Birth affirmations not only reinforce the idea of a loving and Merciful Lord who created the birthing process, but they allow for a good opinion by reaffirming positive thoughts about your ability to birth. Which is why I chose to go through the Qur’an, hadith and other texts looking for birth affirmations. Muslim women have a vast resource of support in their tradition. There is a birth story in the Qur’an. There are hadith, detailing the myriad rewards associated with pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. Also in the Qur’an, we have many verses nudging us to patience, trust, and an expansive vision that sees more than the mere eye can see.
With artwork by the British illustrator and artist Hanna Whiteman, this set of eight birth affirmations, will beautifully brighten your home and birth space. The eight affirmations are culled from the Muslim tradition, aimed at supporting a women’s journey to a deep reliance on God, and to a trust that with every difficulty comes ease.
For a limited time you can purchase the full set of affirmation cards. I have printed out a limited run of these to share with clients, and with you dear readers!! Birth affirmations make great unique and memorable baby shower gifts. They’re printed on high quality card stock, measuring 5 1/2″ by 8 1/2″. They come prepunched with two holes for easy hanging. A violet sari ribbon is included so you can string them together. It is best if they are placed somewhere, where they will be read frequently.
The PDF versions of the birth affirmations are also available for purchase. You can print them all out, or just one at a time. You could also experiment with printing them out on fabric and hanging them! All eight affirmations are included in the pdf package.