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It was a particularly hard contraction. The most difficult one that I had experienced so far. I was starting to feel scared and out of control. Just as I felt another tightening of my abdomen, I heard my birth partner's voice say, "relax your forehead, calm your mind, let this wave wash over you." Her words had an amazingly focused effect for me. As long as she was speaking in her clam voice with reminders of relaxation and words of encouragement, the contractions felt more manageable. I was going to do this, I was going to have this baby.
My experience with connecting my birth partner's voice and words to a state of peace and relaxation was an anchor.
An anchor is a term we use to describe linking a specific physical or verbal cue, with a specific state. An anchor is helpful for a women in labor to give her comfort and a feeling of control among all the dramatic changes happening in her body.
Anchors are the most powerful when practiced regularly during pregnancy, along with a set intention attached to the anchor. For example, I want to reach a deeply relaxed state as I labor, so when I practice relaxation techniques, I hold and rub a stone between my fingers. Now every time I hold that stone, my body is conditioned to slip more easily into a super relaxed state.
Kinds of anchors:
Along with anchors, rituals are another way of coping with contractions.
Rituals are another important aspect of achieving a specific outcome for labor. Rituals are the instinctual and intuitive ways that you body copes with moving through each contraction. Rituals are the the repeated use of personally meaningful rhythmic activities with every contraction.
Kinds of rituals:
When these rituals are rhythmic for a laboring women, you are coping well through your labor. It is hard to plan a ritual, but try different things out until something sticks. You will instinctively know what to do and it might change as your labor progresses.
What are some anchors you are practicing with? Or rituals that you had during a previous labor?
Watch this video to learn more stories and examples of how anchors and rituals help during labor.
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Education is KEY to setting yourself up for your best possible birth. Knowing your options and how to advocate for yourself makes a huge difference.
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