Staying Mindful Before Your Due Date to Prepare for Birth
As my due date was fast approaching, I began to feel more and more excitement and anticipation building up. I had done a lot of work to detach myself from my due date being considered a “set in stone” day. In preparation for birth, I tried to think “mid-February” instead of one specific magical day. Yet, human nature set in and as the date came and went I couldn’t help but feel a sense of letdown. Was I doing something wrong? Did I have some untapped fear? Why was I feeling anxious? I went to a support group of mommy friends and shared my feelings. As the tears begin to flow, I realized the disease of perfectionism was creeping in, and fears like “what if my baby gets too big if it stays cooking too long”, or “what if medical interventions are needed”, or “how was I going to deal with pressure from my doctor to get an induction?”
Here was the light amidst the fear: I searched for something to focus on. I like to call it my primary purpose. My primary purpose at that point was to prepare my body for the healthiest birth experience my baby and I could have. So, I had a choice to make: would obsessing over each day “past due” lead me to my primary purpose? I know we’ve all been there, frantically trolling all the websites for information to help us feel more settled. But here is what I did know at that time. Due dates are just an estimation, and the baby was completely healthy; and I was being given the gift of those final days as a staycation opportunity.
Now, I would be lying if I said I stayed in that state of mind all week. It definitely was a test to notice when the anxiety and fear arose, which gave me a chance to practice being in-tune with my mind and body. And it was good prep for what I’d need to do for labor!
Another question I had asked myself was how could I fill my days and see this opportunity (a baby “being late“) as a gift of time. When I asked any second-time mom what she did when she was late she said, “Oh my gosh, enjoy this time as much as you can!” Of course, this made sense, especially since I’d been blessed with a pretty physically comfortable pregnancy. So, I made sure I had at least one thing every day that filled my spirit and balanced resting with fun: movies; walks with friends; going to my favorite restaurant; window-shopping at the mall, which was also awesome to get in some exercise, because we know walking a lot can help get labor going.
Other helpful tools:
- prenatal yoga
- sharing my thoughts and feelings with a friend who gets it
- affirmation tapes (the Gentle Birth app is great!)
- baking healthy treats
- a “labor ready” (induction) massage
- chiropractic work
Most importantly, I was able to really settle in to being pregnant – I had a new magical awareness every time I felt the baby move. I would think this, “This might be the last time I feel the baby move so let me really relish it”. The same thing goes with connection time with my husband.
So, four days past my due date rolled around, and we went to the doctor’s office for my checkup. They all were shocked to see me as I had been a bit dilated and partly effaced for a few weeks already.
Unfortunately, that office visit turned stressful pretty quickly when the “I” word began to be discussed: Induction. I had been very passionate about desiring a birth as natural as possible with no unnecessary interventions unless the baby and I were at risk. And my doctor and I seemed to have different opinions on when the induction would become medically necessary: I felt extremely overwhelmed and scared as the tears begin to flow.
I examined my fears and I realized I was doing something called “future tripping”. The stress and anxiety may have blocked the natural hormones in my body for labor to start on its own. This was my primary purpose, my heart’s desire! The next day there was a lightness as I surrendered. I knew the baby was safe and trusted the plan, also at the same time giving myself permission for that plan to change. I trusted my intuition as a strong mama bear. That is my biggest message every mama out there!
I’m happy to report that six days later my labor started without intervention, and we are now a happy and healthy family of 3!
Trust your instincts, Mama!
Coach Erin Sears Basile