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Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in Positive Birth Stories | 3 comments

Funny what you forget

Funny what you forget

Funny what you forget isn’t it? I was reading Mind the Baby’s post tonight where she was talking about just how long 90 seconds is…when it comes to labour. Her post reminded me about one of the most physical ways I prepared for labour.

If you’ve been reading here a while, you’ll know that I used Gentlebirth in preparation for giving birth and I was definitely pleased with the results!

But I’ve never really written about one aspect of Gentlebirth that I found quite difficult. It relies heavily on visualization techniques. And I’m not very good at visualization. (Just ask me to describe someone I’ve just met, and I doubt I’ll be able to picture what they look like to recall them in detail for you. ) I tend to think in words, not in pictures, and so visualizing colours of the rainbow, or flowers in a field was more difficult than you might think for me. I had to do a Google search to pick out a few rainbow images that I liked (and to get a clear picture in my mind of the difference between indigo and violet!) before I could really start to relax listening to the CDs.

But one of the things that had been recommended to us during the Gentlebirth class was to use our own visualization techniques. Almost by accident, I managed to create a very strong image for myself – well it was more memory than image in the end. I figured if I can’t imagine something to visualize, then I can physically do something so often instead that it’s seared into my brain so I can call on the imagery whenever I need.

Source: Michael Lockner on Flickr

So that’s what I did. It used to take me about a minute to swim a length of the pool (yes I’m slow!). And I knew that a contraction lasts about a minute. So I used that to my advantage. As I swam I would remind myself that I could keep up this swimming for a minute and then have a rest before I’d have to go again. Over and over I did it during my pregnancy. Keep going, keep going, nearly there, you can do it, REST!

And when I went into labour, that swimming pool image popped into my head several times over the course of the night. I’m sure it had a really positive impact on my thought process that night. Every contraction was just one minute I had to get through until I could relax.

The mind really is amazing in what it can help you achieve. I’m curious to know if any of you had a particular image that helped relax you or helped you cope during labour. Did you practice visualizing it in advance or did it just come to you on the day?


  1. I didn’t have a particular one, but I’d been reading Ina May Gaskin, so I tried to do as she recommended and visualise tunnels opening up and think “down, down, down” and “wide open” and such things. I really believe the link between mind and body is far stronger than we understand, and I credit her advice with my amazingly quick second labour and delivery.
    Maud recently posted..Don’t even read this out loud in your headMy Profile

  2. I’m a bit of a visual thinker so when I was listening to the tracks the pictures came easily to me but when I was in labour, it didn’t come to me at all. I was doggedly singleminded on my breathing. I just had this feeling that if I could keep control of that everything would be okay.

    One way that visualisation really worked for me was when Baby S was breech and I listened to the breech turn track at 35 weeks. It has really vivid imagery in it and I was so emotional about the breech position, I was right there in the pictures. It physically effected me to the point where I could feel my heart bursting with emotion and I couldn’t hold back the tears. He turned during the night that night. I completely believed it worked. My husband thinks I’m nuts.
    Mind The Baby recently posted..How long is 90 seconds?My Profile

  3. I’m not very good at visualising either but Gentlebirth worked really well for me as well. I spent most of my labour time as in a bubble because I was so relaxed after listening to the tracks over and over again. It was as if I could just switch to this relaxed state of mind because it was labour time and it definitely helped with pain management.
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