Have you ever visualized a “happy place?” This imagined scenario could be a beach, a mountain, a forest — or any other scenic area you prefer. You picture how calm, relaxed, and tranquil you feel. These emotions allow you to be at peace when you have to deal with a stressful situation. In birth, it’s a beneficial technique for parents. A natural practice like visualization during birth will help you manage discomfort, fear, and more as you have your baby. Here’s a look at how visualization works.
What Exactly is Visualization?
In many ways, you’ll find connections between visualization and meditation. The latter practice has existed for thousands of years. As you meditate, your goals are to concentrate on specific objects or activities to remain focused and clear-minded.1 It’s common to channel your breath to stay grounded. The same idea applies when you visualize but you employ guided imagery.
These “scenes” are happy, positive moments that you envision. Like an object or activity used for meditation, your brain latches onto each picture you conjure. Its conscious state takes a back seat to its subconscious presence. In other words, you become detached from reality’s distractions. This experience allows you to enter a disconnected mental space to achieve an aspiration.
This experience allows you to focus fully. A task that once seemed overwhelming suddenly feels more manageable because your concentration lies elsewhere. Many people use visualization to put plans into motion. They’ll work toward that goal if they can visualize a new car. The process happens in another way for the birth, but the intent remains the same: a positive outcome.
How Does Visualization Work?
There are numerous reasons to try visualization. Its purpose boils down to how you want to reach a specific intention. For example, you could wish to have a career as a chef. As you visualize, you’d picture every positive aspect associated with your future job. This effort trains your subconscious to push you toward those situations. Your next step would be to determine how to make those objectives happen.
A visualization for birth works slightly differently. You want a joyful and safe delivery for you and your child. This tactic can’t guarantee a specific outcome, so it’s more about managing pain and other negative feelings caused by birth. Therefore, your “happy place” exists as an escape. It’s especially useful for natural childbirth, but everyone will benefit when they visualize.
It’s important to note that visualization doesn’t fully take you away from reality. You still answer to touch and sound, but your attention stays on your visualization. An effort like this helps you separate your emotions from your physical experience so that you feel better. In birth, it’s a momentary practice that allows you to cope. Your mind won’t process your pain, but you’ll experience your birth all the same.
The Benefits of Visualization for Birth
Visualization allows you to transcend reality somewhat. In childbirth, it’s challenging to cope with such an intense situation. There’s pain, but you may also feel overwhelmed and scared if you’ve never gone through birth before. Some various conflicting thoughts and feelings present themselves. As a result, you can set aside those emotions through a visualization to help you deal.
Visualization as a Therapy
It’s smart to look at visualization as a therapy. It often helps patients avoid potentially traumatic factors like epidurals and C-sections.2 That’s because your mind shifts to focus on a comfortable scenario rather than incessant anxiety or fright. A partner’s support works similarly. In general, it’s not easy to have a baby. That experience becomes much more difficult if you’re alone. Therapy can help.
Visualization as a Plan
Did you know sports players can improve performance and outcomes when they visualize success?3 You can apply that same idea to childbirth. If you take time to see how well you’ll handle yourself, likely, you’ll experience those results. This awareness prepares your subconscious to react appropriately. An athlete may be able to win an important event if they picture themselves with a trophy.
This technique works for every step throughout the birth. For instance, you could envision a soft rainfall to help you overcome contractions. That sensation replaces your reaction to those painful abdominal cramps with peace. There are endless ways to apply visualization to birth. You can expect a better handle on your experience if you work visualization into your approach.
Visualization Techniques to Use
It’s up to you to decide how and what you want to visualize. That said, you may choose to start with meditation so that you can learn how to focus correctly. It’ll seem more difficult when you visualize if you can’t concentrate. A wandering mind doesn’t help. Take 15 minutes every day to practice calculated breaths. You can also select a phrase or mantra to help you narrow your attention.
It’s wise to plan your visualization before your baby’s due date. This way, you’ll have each part memorized and ready to access.4 If you have a partner, you can work together so that they’re able to help you fall into your subconscious if needed. A person who can guide you into your “happy place” will be valuable. But you may prefer to have a recording carry you through your visualization. Both methods work.
Three Visualization Tactics for Birth
There are different visualizations you can try. A few ideas include:
- A unique personal memory that you want to relive.
- The way your body works throughout birth.
- A perfect atmosphere or situation.
The first example allows you to incorporate a personal experience into your visualization. This memory can be any positive memory that you’d like to relive. A popular approach has you relay sights and sounds to your partner to “go back” to that time. The second example lets you envision your baby’s journey. The third example may be best if you want to escape your reality altogether.
In any case, you can find many ways to practice visualization. It’s often helpful to take a class to explore your choices further. A midwife or doula can be a beneficial resource for visualization. They’ll also be able to talk about potential birth scenarios with you. These steps will ensure you have an ideal birth experience. It may seem intimidating to give birth, but you have countless tools to help.
Visualization Can Help You Manage Intense Situations Like Birth
It’s no secret that labor isn’t easy. That’s true for new moms and experienced moms alike. Fortunately, you have resources to make your experience simpler. You want to look back on your birth with positive memories. A tactic such as visualization will help you cope with difficult thoughts and feelings you may endure while your body goes through such a change.
As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy this process as you welcome your baby into the world. You shouldn’t expect visualization during birth to create a perfect scenario. That said, it’s a useful method for those who want to naturally relieve pain and other negative emotions. Use visualization as a means for a happy and special birth.