Yes, you should start preparing for labor the moment you ask yourself that question. So why the urgency? Well, you have a lot to prepare for, birthing a human and being a mother is serious business. Do all women go through a process of “preparation”? No. Are those who reframe from preparation doomed to fail? No. Does it make your journey a whole lot easier? But of course.
The biggest complaints I hear from mothers about their journey through pregnancy, and definitely through labor and birth, is lack of control. They feel they no longer have control over their own bodies. Is this true? Well, to some instinct…uh, yeah.
“How’s the parasite?”
During my first years of nursing, and as a non-mom, I used a lot of terminology that I now feel hinders us today. One of my biggest phrases to a pregnant coworker or friend was, “So how’s the little parasite?” Well, now I feel horrible that I called the beautiful life growing in a woman a parasite. However, let’s look at the definition:
~Parasite: an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.
Well…now you see why we used the term. For many mothers, this is very tough to accept. We make to do list, have tight schedules, deadlines, etc. We live life on a time crunch and it’s tough when someone comes and screws with the plan. We have such a fast paced society and its tough for most of us to slow down, have patience, and to be ok with the unknown.
Alright, so I’ve given this much thought. Let’s not focus on the term parasite, but instead, host. That’s right. That’s what you are. A hostess. Think about.
What do you do to prepare for guest?
You go out of your way to ensure that your guests have a pleasant experience. Part of that comes with making sure they have good food, drink, and a comfortable place to rest. Most of us desire for our guest to feel like they are at home, meaning comfortable. Well, your baby is the guest and you are the host.
“So, what can I do to prepare now?”
During pregnancy you watch what you eat and drink…keep your body “clean”. But what about your mind. What about the toxic stress hormones that develop in your bloodstream when you are overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, and overly busy? These are the things most mothers forget to throw out. Establishing a lifestyle, habits, and rituals that help you to reduce these toxic stress hormones from entering your body not only benefit you in the long run, but studies have shown that they have the potential of causing great harm for your unborn child’s future when measures aren’t taken to reduce them.
I’ve already mentioned that mothers tend to watch what they eat and drink. So yes, a good hostess usually ensures that there are all kinds of yummy treats. Nutrition is such a huge part of mothering during pregnancy. And no, not just to keep your weight under control. But, nutrition can even have apart in what kind of labor and delivery you have. It takes energy, muscle, flexibility, and moisture to birth a baby. Nutrition plays a role in it all.
You do it for your guest, right. Actually, you probably do it more for yourself. I remember working with a few nurses who would only wear makeup when they were on their 3rd-5th shift in a row. When asked why, their “lip gloss was popping” and their eye shadow was “on point” they would share that the makeup made them feel more awake and energized. I have to agree. Being dressed up changes everything from your posture to your mindset.
Develop a habit of beautifying yourself now, whether you are expecting or not. Notice how you feel when you have taken the time to put yourself together. Develop a beauty routine you can do even when you are tired. Once you are pregnant, it maybe the one thing that makes you feel like yourself. It may be the thing that helps you to change your mindset and keep yourself feeling a little less frustrated with the changes you are going through and the lack of control you have over being super tired and/or uncomfortable.
Change your words, change your mindset.
Do all women struggle with releasing themselves over to the process of developing new life? No. But like I continue to preach, mindset is everything. You can hear acceptance in their speech.
“I can’t lay on my right side”
“I can’t eat that anymore”
“It hurts so bad right here”.
They naturally change their words to:
“He likes me to lay on the left”
“She doesn’t like meat”
“He keeps digging his little head right on the left side of my pelvic bone”.
Developing a different verbiage may be a start to changing your mindset.
“I’m a giver, I’m giving myself over to grow new life”
“I’m a hostess, ensuring this little one is comfortable and has everything he needs”.
There are several other factors important to preparing for labor and birth. But these are the first steps that any woman can start now, even prior to becoming pregnant. Mentality is everything. Many women these days struggle with anxiety prior to pregnancy. Add on all that comes with growing and birthing a new life leaves them even more stressed throughout their journey and mentally unprepared. Pregnancy is a time granted to mothers to practice skills the majority of our culture lack, relaxation and patience. We have been blessed with a carved out time to fine tune and develop these virtues that we will greatly utilize throughout our years of mothering. Start preparing now.