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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Duprey

DIY Birth Affirmations and Cervical Mandalas | A Delaware Birth Photographer Shares Her Favorite Affirmations for an Empowered Birth




A Delaware birth center mom reads through christian hynobirthing affirmation cards in between contractions.
This mama reads through birth affirmation cards in-between contractions.


When I was preparing for my third baby, my sister had asked, "Do you have a mantra or any affirmations you plan on using?" She was newly pregnant with her first at the time and doing the deep-dive into birth research. I honestly hadn't really considered them up until she asked and hadn't used any with my first two babies. But while pushing my third baby out though, I found myself repeating "baby.... baby... baby". My mantra had been boiled down to one word-- the end goal-- my baby. With my forth baby, as I labored in a hot bath, I spelled out "Open, Soften, Release" on the glass of the shower door. With each contraction I felt my cervix opening, softening, and releasing all residual tension. This must have worked because my sister caught my baby's head minutes after entering the bathroom-- before the midwife or even my husband arrived! She poked her head into the doorway and asked, "How are you feeling?"-- my response? "Roll up your sleeves!"



A page from one of my pregnancy sketchbooks. When I was pregnant with Lenore, I read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. In that book, she shares a story of a woman who dilated to more than 10 cm using the mantra "I'm gonna get big. I'm gonna get HUGE."
A page from one of my pregnancy sketchbooks. When I was pregnant with Lenore, I read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. In that book, she shares a story of a woman who dilated to more than 10 cm using the mantra "I'm gonna get big. I'm gonna get HUGE." You can also see from the bottom image in this drawing of the mama nursing her baby, that I am already affirming my desire to have a successful breastfeeding journey with my baby. Affirmations can help us at all stages of motherhood.

What is a Birth Affirmation?


Birth Affirmations are positive, empowering statements that can be read quietly, or spoken out loud during labor. They help to shift our mindset just like "The Little Engine That Could" repeating “I think I can, I think I can” while chugging up the mountain. They help us to maintain hopeful optimism and encourage us through the birth process. This might sound a bit woo-woo, but there is actual science that backs up this practice.


In order for birth affirmations to work, you have to believe in what you are saying! Try to figure our what your fears and hang-ups are and work on them during pregnancy-- try talking to a counsellor, journaling, and listening or reading positive birth stories. Practicing the affirmations you plan on using before your go into labor is also a good idea. You can write them out, record yourself saying them, and practice with your doula, partner, or support person. The more you practice-- the more effective. Remember back to my affirmation "open, soften, release"? That is is great one to practice when you are going to the bathroom!


These beautiful, hand-drawn affirmation helped this mama to visual a peaceful Delaware birth center birth.
These beautiful, hand-drawn affirmation helped this mama to visual a peaceful birth.

Visualization


A birth affirmation can also be visual. Some people might find visualizing a flower opening its petals more helpful than saying the words “my cervix is opening like a flower”. Or the might find imagining themselves being cloaked in warm, golden light more comforting than stating that they are "surrounded by light and love". These beautiful drawings in the image above were displayed at a dear friend's birth-- they helped her to visualize a peaceful birth for her baby.


I am a visual person myself and this act of putting pen to paper (or marker, or crayon, or whatever) helped me tremendously when I was preparing for my first baby.  Swipe to see some pages from the sketchbook I kept when I was pregnant with Lenore. I found the 10cm cervical mandalas to be very helpful with getting comfortable with just how much my body would have to open to birth my baby. I love that her cervix is a literal flower!


You don’t have to be an "artist” to create visuals as a part of your labor prep and I hope you give it a try! 



examples of cervical mandala in a sketchbook kept by artist Alexandra Duprey during pregnancy.
Cervical Mandalas in a sketchbook I kept during pregnancy. I made these as part of my labor prep with my eldest daughter.


Cervical Mandalas


To make a cervical mandala.

  • Tie a piece of string to a pencil, measure 5cm from the tied end, mark the center point of your mandala and hold this spot on the string with your finger or a pin.

  • Draw a circle with the pencil (you could also probably find a 10 cm diameter container lid to trace, or something to use as a stencil).

  • Fill your mandala with imagery of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, or symbols that are meaningful to you (for one of mine, I chose to draw my baby’s head crowning).




How to use your Birth Affirmations:


You can choose to decorate your birth space with affirmations, or have a stack ready to read through in-between contractions. There are even birth-specific affirmation recordings that can be played during labor. During my last birth, as I was laboring in a hot bath, I would write my affirmations in the steam on the glass shower panel in between contractions. Regardless of what is on your birth plan, there is an affirmation for you! Affirmations can complement pain management if that is in your plan (and help you with that long drive to the hospital before you get an epidural).






DIY Affirmations


To make birth affirmations:

  • Gather your supplies-- these can be simple: craft paper, markers, watercolors, pencils, crayons, fabric, glitter glue-- whatever you have on hand will do!

  • Inspire yourself with imagery of pregnancy, birth, or symbology that is deeply meaningful to you!

  • Get comfortable, and create from the heart!

  • If you would like, you may use one (or some) or the affirmations listed below.




Birth Affirmations


  • Light of Love Surrounds me

  • I deserve a POSITIVE birth. I deserve This Birth.

  • I love my baby.

  • I am present in this moment.

  • I am brave,

  • Breathe

  • Love, Love, Love

  • Open, Soften, RElease

  • I am fierce and flexible

  • Each Surge Brings me closer to my baby

  • My Body knows how to do this

  • I am Safe

  • I can birth the baby I grew

  • My instincts can be trusted

  • I am opening, opening, opening

  • I am powerful

  • This wave will be over soon

  • Down and Out

  • I Trust My Body To Birth My Baby

  • I Can Do Anything For 60 Seconds

  • I Was Made For This

  • Women All Over The World Are Birthing With Me

  • Breathe In Trust. Breathe Out Feat.

  • My future Self is Proud of Me

  • I Quiet MY Mind And LEt My Body Give Birth

  • I let MYBody + My Baby Set the pace

  • Open, Soften, RElease

  • Birth is Miraculous However It Happens

  • We Are Making Informed DECISIONS

  • I am Strong And Capable

  • I am overflowing with OXYTOCIN

  • My mind Quiets, My Body Opens, Our Baby is Born

  • Being Afraid of the unknown is normal

  • Any Support or Intervention I choose is apart of the process

  • My baby will find the perfect position for birth

  • I am surrounded bythose who love and respect me

  • My cervix is opening like a flower

  • I deserve this birth

  • Breathe in trust. Breath out fear.

  • Breathe in Calm. Breath out discomfort

  • I replace perfection with trying my best

  • I am a Good Mother

  • I love My baby

  • MY Baby Is Coming

  • Surrender

  • I am in Control

  • I Can Do This. I am Doing this.

  • My Baby and I are a Team


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