As birth doulas, Rainbow and I are frequently hailing the power of birth affirmations – positive mantras to repeat prior to and during labor to help a woman feel powerful and in control. I recently had someone mention that since her birth affirmations helped so much, she is going to start using them every day. But rather than mantras based around birth and how to feel positive in relation to that, these are everyday affirmations around parenting and being a good person.
This is an amazing idea! Parents, especially mothers, are under such scrutiny today and it’s easy to assume the worst about ourselves. We constantly hear contradictory messages on how to be a good parent and all the ways that we are subtly failing at the task. Shaming and focus on negativity does not work on helping people achieve. I saw it clearly in my days as a teacher and I can see it now when working with new parents. Let’s stay positive and the results could be amazing!
Some parenting affirmations to try out:
A few days after my son was born, my husband and I needed to buy something from the drug store. I don’t remember what it was, I only remember that at first we assumed my husband would get it but then decided that he should watch the baby and I would walk the few blocks to the store. It was a beautiful August day. I let the warm sun soak into my skin and marveled at how nice it felt to do something so ordinary. Bringing home our son felt like all the pieces of our life were thrown into a bag, shaken up, and then scattered onto the ground. I felt completely changed and had no idea when normalcy would return. That walk felt amazing.
When I got to the store, I found what we needed and impulsively picked up a king-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups pack while I waited in line. (It took a few days for me to remember it was in my bag and finally get to eat it.) When it was my turn at the register, the cashier and I exchanged pleasantries and remarked at how beautiful the day was. She lamented the fact that she had to work. “By the time I get off work, it’s supposed to change to rain,” she sighed. I felt a bubble of desire to explain what I had been doing before my trip to the store – the baby at home who was either crying, sucking desperately from my sore nipples, or sleeping on my chest – but it seemed too surreal to mention in the fluorescent-lit store. How could I explain the combination of joy and exhaustion to this young clerk? Could she possibly understand what it’s like to have another being depend solely on you for survival? Were there even words in the English language to express how hard it was for me to be just a few blocks away from my new son even though I desperately craved a break?
I ended up saying nothing – just smiled and nodded at her wish to be outside. When I got home, I learned that baby boy had slept all of 5 minutes after I left and screamed the rest of the time I was gone. This started the struggle I have continued to have with leaving him with not-Mom. And I still don’t know how to explain to people without children what it’s like to suddenly be a parent and carry so much weight.
All families are different and responsibilities settle themselves in various ways depending on the individuals. However, the majority of the time, there is one individual who becomes the “default parent” and it is usually the mom.
The day my son was born, I tried to determine the emotion I felt. I knew people often referred to that day as being “the happiest day of their life.” But that didn’t seem right. To me, it was like an eclipse occurred. I was no longer the center of my universe but now this new person shared the space with me. And while my life has settled down for the most part and I can go for a walk by myself without feeling torn, I still cannot do anything without first considering how the act will impact my son. My heart and soul have grown to include another being.
How do we tackle huge obstacles? Do we just jump in head first and try to accomplish it all at once or is it easier to take small steps, spreading it out over time? As someone who has trained for many endurance events, I know the latter is the best policy! No one should run a marathon without training for it, just as making gradual payments for a doula can make the process much easier to accomplish.
At New Day Doula, we know having a baby today ain’t cheap! Not only do you have many, many prenatal doctor’s appointments and a birth to pay for, but there are all those teeny-tiny clothes, car seats, strollers, cribs, and miscellaneous-extras-that-babies-just-have-to-have to add on! With all this to worry about, it’s no wonder expecting families are a little overwhelmed with the prospect of paying for a doula.
We want to make this easier for you! Having a doula can greatly improve a woman’s overall satisfaction with her labor and delivery. Even ACOG (the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) is promoting the use of a doula! We want you to be able to hire us so that we can help you have the best birth possible. To help you do that, we’ve created an adjustable payment plan. This plan breaks down payments into easier chunks, which you pay every 5 weeks. The one here starts at 20 weeks, but it can be adjusted to start however far along you are.
Small steps can make a daunting prospect seem much more attainable! We are more than happy to help you in this task as well as your birth goals! Just let us know you’d like to consider a payment plan when you schedule your consultation.
New Day Doula
Rainbow and Mary share thoughts on pregnancy, birth, and the parenting journey.