In life, I think a lot of us can say that it's easier to get through something difficult if you have support. The type of support varies person to person, much like our love languages; we all need and feel supported in different ways. Some ways are more meaningful than others. When I get to know a client, I am very much learning from them, outright and by deduction, how they want to be loved. When we discuss their birth preferences or birth plan, I find that this can be hard for some of my clients to pinpoint, so I wanted to share some of the things that really motivated me during birth. My birth partners were my husband and my doula LaToya. Undoubtedly, her support and guidance, and the teamwork between she and my husband is a huge reason why I am a doula today. I knew my faith was very important to me, and that in my roughest and happiest of times, I'll want to talk to God. So, I told my doula and my husband, I needed to hear "Bismillah", which in English, translated from Arabic, is "In the name of God", because everything happens only by His will, so we begin in His name. Birth stories were very motivating and exciting for me to read while I was pregnant because they would get me amped for labor. These weren't your typical scary, labor sucks stories. I only allowed myself to read ones that didn't seek to scare or worry me, only educate. They made me feel very confident in my ability to birth my baby. My favorite birth story was the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as it is told in the Islamic tradition. Her story is one of trust in God Almighty, perseverance through difficulty and a love that only comes out of motherhood. I like to tell clients to think of the ambience of their room. Do you like dim lights? Music? What will focus you, what feelings do you want to feel? Take those ideas and bring it to the labor room. So, for me, I wanted to have Surah Maryam (Chapter Mary) playing in the back, recited by my fave reciter in a very emotional recording. Part of the mood is also what we eat and drink and we doulas are huge advocates of eating during labor. I ate a ton of dates during pregnancy, at home during early labor, and at the birth center. In the Islamic tradition, eating dates is a common practice, and very specifically, was done by Mary, the mother of Jesus. Eating those dates not only were a source of nutrition for me and my birth team (because my dear husband snacked on them as well), but also made me feel a spiritual boost of motivation through the connection with Maryam, May God be pleased with her. Some people feel inspired visually, and because of this, may find drawing on a visualization in their minds, with their eyes closed, very centering. Others may find it helpful to have actual things to look at, such as phrases that resonate with you. A very common thing I see are quotes and photos hung up around the room. Do you like any scents? Maybe you're not the candles and massage type. Perhaps what makes you feel empowered isn't soothing music, but something with some bass. Consider all of this. Supporting life in the womb is a very spiritual journey for some and I think we shouldn't be afraid to treat the entire process as such. We only see benefits when laboring people feel loved, safe, and supported as they desire. I hope this was helpful!
Photo by Abdullah Arif on Unsplash