Singing Your Baby Out

Great things happen when a woman vocalizes during childbirth.  Many times a woman will create her own birth soundtrack, whether it be humming, chanting or full out singing.  Vocalizing helps your body to relax, sending vibrations throughout your body and down to your cervix, helping the labour process along.

According to “Love to Birth“, some of the benefits of singing during labour are:

  • Gives you a focus during contractions which helps you stay positive during the birth.
  • Helps you relax in between contractions. Easing tension in the body is thought to lessen the pain of labour.
  • Naturally regulates your breathing which helps increase the supply of oxygen to you and baby.
  • Gives you strength and confidence to own the birth space.
  • Helps you, your birth team and your care provider’s tune into your labour’s rhythm and progression. Contractions are often signaled by long notes and as labour progresses, you may even hear yourself start to push before you consciously feel like pushing. This kind of awareness of your labour can help you receive appropriate support and sensitivity.
  • Is a great way of your partner and/or birth team engaging in the labour. Singing with someone else is an invaluable support tool.
  • Enables you to give from your heart and experience birth as an act of love.
  • Love to Birth is an Australian doula service that offers a workshop called “Birthsong”, where they teach moms how to utilize their voice during their birthing.

    Recently I was at a birth where the woman used music.  She had been up all night with some pretty intense contractions, felt as if she were at her breaking point, and then said, “hand me my guitar”.  With guitar in arms she played, and she sang, and she changed.  The music relaxed her body so much, that even though she was still having hard contractions, she sang right through them.  She said the singing changed the direction of her labour, created a distraction that enabled her to relax, reenergize and move forward.  It was amazing.

    Singing Black Horse and The Cherry Tree

    **photos and reference used with permission

    Below is a video of a woman who sang during her birthing experience, it is beautiful.  I am finding more and more women that use music/singing during labour.

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    Keep a piece

    While you’re pregnant it’s so easy to take everything for granted.  Your growing belling can sometimes feel like just that, a belly.  Your glowing self, although absolutely amazing, doesn’t always feel fantastic.  So what are you going to do to keep a little piece of your journey with you?  A piece of that time when you were expecting, a piece of a memory of your little bean in your tummy.  It’s such a sacred time to have your baby in your womb, how will you honor it?

    Here are a few ideas.  You could:

    1. Get prenatal photographs

     

     

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    this photo is probably way to riskay for most people, so keep in mind that if you do decide to do prenatal photos, by all means, only do what is comfortable for you!!  By no means do you need to be half nude, but let’er buck if you want to.  These photos where taken at Heaven’s Edge in Chestermere.

    – Here is a fantastic photo fully clothed.  Tanya is a local photographer here in Lethbridge, so if you need prenatal photos here in Lethbridge she is my personal pick.  You can check out more of her work here.

    2. Have a belly cast made

    3. Have an ultrasound done and keep your photo/video. 

    Here in Lethbridge an ultrasound is pretty standard around 18 weeks.  Of course you can opt out, but if you don’t, keep those photos!

    4. How about a belly painting?!  Don’t forget to take a photo

    Those are really just a few ideas on ways to honor your journey, there are plenty of others that are just not coming to mind right now.  Even keeping a jounal or blog of how you’re feeling during your pregnancy and the milestones you reach will bring you comfort in the future.  

    Life with a new baby can quickly wipe out the pregnancy memory, including those precious memories of baby kicks to the ribs.  Prenancy is an amazing journey, cherish it, and keep a piece to remember it.

    Blessingway

    This past weekend I facilitated a Blessingway for my good friend and doula client.  This may very well be the first blessingway to grace Lethbridge, but I’m not sure.  Anyone I talk to doesn’t really know what I’m talking about and they usually look at me like I just sprouted a new head, so that inspired me to post about it here.

    What is a Blessingway? 

    A Blessingway is a unique celebration that creates a sacred and safe environment where a mother-to-be (or be-again) can explore the challenges and joys that lie before her as she approaches birthing and mothering (again).  Surrounded by the most important women in her life, she gains a sense of power, confidence, and support that will help her rise to motherhood.

     Birth is a key life passage for women.  But modern culture has become preoccupied with the arrival of the baby-to-be and has lost touch with birth’s profound impact on the expectant mother.  While our most common birth preparations focus on getting women  physically ready to give birth, the blessingway ceremony helps a woman to prepare mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for the work of birthing, and it opens her to her instinctive abilities, which will guide her as she steps in to the role of a mother” – taken from Mother Rising by Yana Cortlund

    I have never been to a Blessingway nor have I facilitated one before, so the book “Mother Rising” was really handy.  It outlined several different methods to run a Blessingway.  I chose a variety of rituals including the stringing of the Birthing Necklace, which everyone in attendance (and even if they can’t make it) donated a bead to.  We went around the circle and spoke about what our bead means to us, then we strung the necklace and placed it on the mama-to-be.  She will wear the necklace from now until after she has had the baby.

        – I am stringing my bead on the necklace

    A friend of ours volunteered to make the head wreath using a variety of flowers and a lot of baby’s breath.  It was absolutely beautiful and every little flower meant something.  She crowned the mama-to-be (actually, mama-to-be-again, this is her 2nd baby) and told everyone the meaning behind the wreath. 

     

     

    A few of the other rituals included a space clearing, mehndi, weaving a web and of course feasting!  The food was fantastic.  Everyone who came brought a dish for everyone to enjoy. 

    What a great day it was, I am convinced that every expecting mama deserves a Blessingway.

    Hooping for a Healthy Pregnancy

    Shortly after my third baby was born, the kids and I were looking for a fun craft to do during the summer.  I spent some time looking around online for ideas and stumbled accross instructions for making a hula hoop.  Wow, did that look fun, and off we were to home depot buying supplies.  Now I have a box full of more glittery tape then you could imagine and great plans of making more hoops.  The kids and I spent a whole week just making hula hoops.  I realized something when we made the hoops and looked in to hooping a bit more.  I realized that adults need adult sized hoops and that is why a lot of adults can rarely hula hoop, because they’re using those old WHAM-O hula hoops that were made for children.  I couldn’t believe how EASY it was to hoop with the right sized hoop. 

    Fast forward 3 years, 1 more baby and currently in a new pregnancy.  It was summer time and I wanted to hoop, although I was not sure what the safety was because I was pregnant.  So I did a whole lot of searching online and found that there is actually A LOT of pregnant women hooping for fitness and health during their pregnancies.  I even found a hoop that is made just for pregnant women (and I bought it), it’s called the PREG-O Pregnancy Fitness Hoop.  It comes with an e-booklet on how to adjust some of the moves to accomodate a growing belly.

    There is a great article about hooping for fertility and for pregnancy health on Holistic Kid.  It’s worth a read.  If you are interested in learning more about hooping your way to a healthy pregnancy, please let me know, I would love to share my resources with you.  All of my doula clients have my PREG-O hoop available for them if they want to give it a go. 

    Relating to my last post, when I was at The Farm, we stayed with a wonderful woman who hooped!!  She had a hoop there that we could use and it was amazing.  There we were, on the Bloomfield’s deck, looking over the Farm, hooping.  it was surreal.

    **like everything else that you do while pregnant, please do your research and check with your midwife or dr. to make sure it will work for you.