Mantras and affirmations and cake, oh my!

When I gave birth to my daughter, I was all hippie-ish about it. Because I knew that my body would function perfectly the less I interfered, I wanted a natural, intervention-free experience.

One of the books I read during my pregnancy was Ina May’s Spiritual Midwifery. It’s full of stories of women who lived on a commune in the 70s. The illustrations showed women who didn’t shave, sang to their fetuses, and had orgasms while they gave birth. I loved everything about it.

I can’t remember if it was there, or in a book called Birthing from Within, but one of the stories was about writing a birth mantra. Setting up the way your birth will go before it actually happens.

The woman in the book was terrified of a long labor so she wrote a mantra about baking a cake: “I’ll only be in labor as long as it takes to make, bake, cool, and frost a chocolate cake.”

She repeated the mantra in the days leading up to the birth of her baby. Her doula came over and actually began baking when her labor started. And as it turned out, her baby was born within an hour or so of the cake being frosted.

I’ve kept a pray rain journal for a long time where I write things I want as if they’ve already happened. Since the idea was something I was familiar with and it worked so well for the lady in the book, I set out to write my own birth mantra.

The way I rationalized what I was about to go through (every pregnant woman has her own version of this rationalization) was that it was going to be one hard day but when it was over it would be over and it’d instantly be all worth it. Of course I had no idea if this was true, but it made me feel better to believe it.

I kept thinking, “It’s just one day out of my life”, which somehow turned into, “It’s just another day at work”. Okay, so it didn’t rhyme and I didn’t get a chocolate cake out of it, but “just another day at work” seemed right to me. I was going to go in, do what needed to be done, and go home. With a really nice bonus.

For the last few months of my pregnancy I incorporated, “It’s just another day at work” into my nightly meditation. I repeated my mantra as I fell asleep, as I walked down the street, as I scrubbed the baseboards in my house right before going into labor (That nesting thing? It’s real.)

So the day at work finally came. And although I technically started having contractions around midnight, they were easy and exciting. Fun, even. I showered through them, watched infomercials through them, let my husband sleep through them. Until around 8:30am when we headed to the hospital. That’s when the “work” started. And wouldn’t you know it—my daughter was born at 5:14pm. Just about the length of the average day at work.

Maybe it was a coincidence. You may be skeptical and that’s totally fine. But I believe that my mantra programmed by body. How else does our body know what to do than by listening our mind, anyway? This is true in the most basic medical sense and I have a feeling it was true in this case.

What mantras or affirmation can you incorporate into your life? Seeing things the way you want them to end up is one of the ways we get to have a say in what our life looks like. You can prime your subconscious pump to create what you want rather than just dealing with what you get.

I’m off to write another mantra. I’m going to make this one rhyme

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