Women are very right brain during pregnancy. We joke about our forgetful, pregnancy brain, seeing it as negative, flawed, and putting us at an intellectual disadvantage. Actually, just the opposite is true. Mother Nature has blessedly endowed us with this creative, right brain vision by releasing just the right mix of hormones and chemical messengers in our pregnant body. Our artistic, wise, and farseeing right brain aids us in getting into the proper intuitive and knowing state needed to surrender to the heart centered wisdom of our glorious female body during labor, so we can do the deep soul work of giving birth.
Once our labor begins, we are not thinking in a logical, linear fashion, but rather, we are sensing, feeling creatures. This is why the birth story told by mother and husband/partner can be vastly different, and recount details the mother missed. The father can tell us that at 1:00 this happened, and an hour later that happened, and at 4:00 she was this many centimeters dilated. The mother will say, it was so hot in the labor room it was like a desert, the noise from the nurses station across from my room was so annoying, the nurse was wearing the most horrible perfume and the smell made me feel nauseous, and if I felt my husband stroke my hair one more time, or heard him say you can do it again, I was about to really lose my temper. You may laugh, but the reality is that this body, mind, spirit awareness is exactly what mom needs to get into a state of perfect union, harmony , and rhythm with wherever her body needs to lead her in labor. If she can just get her thinking mind out of the way, and surrender to the right brain voices that lead her according to the feminine well of wisdom we all possess, she can birth in joy, power, and peace. This is why techniques like guided imagery, affirmations, birth mantras, and mindfulness mediation work so well as distraction and pain management techniques, helping us to let go of the need to control, and allowing us to simply surrender to the process of birthing and welcoming our precious baby.
In “My Stroke Of Insight”, author and neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor recounts her experience of suffering a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. During her stroke she lost all connection with her analytical, sequential, reasoning, mentally obsessing, judging, storytelling, left brain function, and logical thinking. She no longer heard the left brain voice that told her she was a disconnected, solitary, small, and weak, individual with boundaries that separated her from other entities, or the world around her. She found, to her amazement, that when the constant left brain chatter and directing stopped, she was in a state of feeling that everything was ok, in fact it was beautiful, joyful, euphoric, peaceful, and she felt large, expansive, and connected to all of life. She realized that she herself and everyone, everything around her is fluid, made of atoms and molecules vibrating in space, existing in a constant, dynamic state of activity and transition. She perceived the truth of herself as a part of the Universal flow and felt, “My soul was as big as the universe and frolicked with glee in a boundless sea…. The now offline intellectual mind of my left hemisphere no longer inhibited my innate awareness that I was the miraculous power of life. I was simply a being of light radiating life into the world.”
Looking back, after the eight years it took for her to recover from her stroke, Jill said that she felt the stroke had given her a priceless gift of “knowing that deep inner peace is just a thought/feeling away. To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of hectic life. Based upon my experience with losing my left mind, I wholeheartedly believe that the feeling of deep inner peace is neurological circuitry located in our right brain. This circuitry is constantly running and always available for us to hook into. The feeling of peace is something that happens in the present moment. It’s not something that we bring with us from the past, or project into the future. Step one to experiencing inner peace is the willingness to be present in the right here, right now.”
This expansive, connected, free flowing, creative energy is a gift that we receive in pregnancy and in labor during the birth process. It is not an impediment to our daily life, but a source of power and potential that aids us in creating and bringing forth life. The next time you are tempted to berate yourself claiming, “oh its pregnancy brain again”, stop and give thanks instead for the miraculous, right brain, creative artistry, vision, and power that is helping you journey wisely and peacefully down the wondrous path to becoming a mother. Don’t give away your power by speaking negatively and apologizing for it. Stand tall and proud and claim it, own it, and be amazed, in awe, and proud that you as a woman, are blessed with this gift.
I invite you to take part in one of my “Mindful Birth and Beyond, childbirth education Playshops” where you can revel in a room full of powerful, right brain becoming mamas, and learn more about Mindfulness Meditation and other techniques to carry you blissfully through birth and into motherhood.
I leave you with one last story from Jill Bolte Taylor that I feel speaks perfectly to the relationship we all must have to birth in peace and power. “ In a world of energy, where everything influences everything, it seems naïve for me to disregard the insights of my right mind. If I am shooting a bow and arrow, for example, I don’t just focus on the target’s bull’s-eye, but I trace the path between the arrow tip and the center of the target. I visualize the perfect amount of force exerted by my muscles as they pull back the arrow, and focus my mind on the fluidity of the process rather than the finality of the end product. I find when my perception is expanded and I imagine my experience, my accuracy is increased. If you are involved in sports, you have the power to choose how you want to perceive yourself in relation to your target or goal. You can see yourself as separate – you positioned at spot A and your target at spot Z, or you can see yourself as one with the target and in the flow with all the atoms and molecules in the space in between.”
If you are involved with life itself, you have the power to choose how you perceive yourself in relation to events and the world around you. If you are pregnant and giving birth, you have the power to choose how you perceive the quality of your labor, to feel yourself at one with the universal flow, to know yourself connected to generations of women who gave birth in power before you, to realize and celebrate yourself fully reveling in each and every precious present moment, not missing an instant of your glorious birth, surrendering to the beauty and miracle of the process, and welcoming your baby in great joy, bliss, and even ecstasy.