In the third trimester the end of your pregnancy comes into focus. You will not be pregnant forever! Preparations for birth take on a different meaning as the day comes closer when you will finally get to meet the small person who has been growing inside you all these months.
The natural bond between mother and baby has also been growing and getting stronger. At around thirty-six weeks their head may ‘engage’ by dropping down into the pelvis to prepare for birth, although this may also happen later. Baby is physically ready now for life outside the womb. She can hear, see, taste, smell and touch, she is in fact a complete and fully conscious human being even though she happens to currently be living upside down in a bag of warm water. She is waiting.
While she waits her brain and hormonal system work seamlessly with her mother’s body. Baby’s hormonal system works to compensate fear by releasing endorphins and adrenalin if shocked or stressed. These changes can be detected through listening to her heart beat, as well as intuitively. Research (1) has shown that labour is physically initiated by an enzyme from baby’s lungs which cause more prostaglandins to be released into the mother’s system, beginning the thinning and softening of the cervix before dilation as well as initiating contractions. It could also be said to be initiated by baby’s will to be born or as a physical manifestation of the creative power of the universe. However it is perceived – birth will happen.
The question is often asked how can the mother-to-be prepare for the intensity of labour? Or perhaps how will the child’s father prepare to be birth support and father a child.
But what about the baby, is there anything we can do to help her prepare for her birth?
It doesn’t need to be said that the journey towards birth is a life changing event in your baby’s life. It is at best an intense experience, or quite a shock for them to leave their quiet warm womb and arrive in the bright world. And if the birth process is longer and involves medical interventions it can be traumatic for her.
Just as mother and father-to-be prepare so can baby. This is a meditation I like to use to open up communication with baby and prepare her for the physical, emotional, mental & spiritual transformation that is coming. It can be practiced in full once a day step-by-step as well as in condensed form when time is short. It is much better to practice meditation in little micro-practices throughout the day than to feel like you can’t find the time so not do them at all. If you can do it in full once first so your body knows the full feeling and when you do your micro-practice the deepening can be a remembering.
Sit or lie comfortably in a warm place where you will not be disturbed. Turn off your phone and prepare to relax. Close your eyes and listen to the sound of your own breathing. What does it sound like – is it soft or loud, gentle or strong? Observe where the breath goes in your body, be curious but don’t try to change anything, simply observe.
Move on to relaxing your body, beginning at your feet. You could imagine a warm blanket being pulled further and further up your body, each part that gets covered relaxes more and more until your whole body is warm and deeply relaxed.
In this place of deep relaxation begin focusing on your breath again. Be aware of the flow in and out of the oxygen rich air that you are bringing into your body. With each incoming breath bring the oxygen rich air deeper and deeper down into your chest. Then deeper into your belly. Then even deeper and send this rich breath all the way down to your baby. Imagine how this is feeding your baby and preparing them for the journey ahead.
Become curious about how your baby is feeling and ask her how she is today. Wait, leaving space for an answer, which might come in words or images or pure emotion.
Ask her how she is feeling about the coming birth? Again wait and see what comes. She may be certain and clear, or she may not. If there is no answer or you are not sure if she understands then you can explain to her that soon it will be time for her to leave the womb and be born. Send her calm and loving thoughts as you tell her what will happen during the birth process. Describe in as much detail as you can the journey she will take, how tight it will be for a while as she passes down the birth canal, the turns she must take, the stretching over the top of her head. And then describe what the the world out here is like. Make it simple but talk as if she is understanding every word. She will feel your feelings as you describe how much you’re looking forward to meeting her. Imagine holding her in your arms and looking into her face, tell her how that feels.
Ask her if there is anything else she wants you to know at this time. Wait and see what comes. Then say goodbye, relax the connection and let her drift back into her dream world as you begin to drift back up to the waking world.
Take some deep breaths, integrating everything you have experienced and felt. Wiggle your toes and fingers before stretching and opening your eyes. Take your time to adjust to the light. You could write the experience down in your journal or use some art materials to express how it felt.
And remember that intimate connection and level of communication is there all the time, whenever you have a moment you can tap into communicating with your unborn child. Letting her know that you are there with her.
I would love to hear how this goes for you. Please leave your comment in the box below.
(1) Date: June 22, 2015
Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary: Researchers have identified two proteins in a fetus’ lungs responsible for initiating the labor process, providing potential new targets for preventing preterm birth. They discovered that the proteins SRC-1 and SRC-2 activate genes inside the fetus’ lungs near full term, leading to an inflammatory response in the mother’s uterus that initiates labor.