Conscious Parenting Starts Before Baby Is Born - Guest Blogger

Jeremy Dyen is our next guest blogger that answered the call for what Conscious Families and Conscious Parenting meant to them. Jeremy is a musician, husband and father. He and his wife are advocates of imagery, hypnosis and affirmations to get rid of fears and tension in regards to childbirth, and they have a free hypnosis MP3 download, as well as birth-tips videos, at Fear Free Birth. He blogs at Stay at Home Papa. I absolutely adore his blog, as it is chock full of great parenting advice and information, as well as being witty enough to capture even my husband's attention.

I hope you enjoy reading about how Conscious Parenting Starts Before Baby is Born:

Although it’s never too late to start parenting consciously, I strongly believe conscious parenting begins before your baby is born. Parents’ birth plan and a mother’s nutritional choices and overall health during pregnancy all lay the foundation for the kinds of choices you’re likely to make as a parent.

Our Switch From Hospital To Home Birth

The choices my wife and I made during her pregnancy took us on a journey. Actually, we did quite a 180. We originally opted for a hospital birth, inclusive of a planned epidural and whatever other “necessary” interventions would make the birth “safer.” But as we read more, talked with close friends about home birthing, and took a suggestion from our doula to consider homebirth, we realized that a homebirth was not only doable, but desirable.

We decided a bit late in the game (in my wife’s third trimester) to switch to a homebirth, and it was the best decision we could have made. I feel strongly that the choice we made laid the foundation for the kind of parenting we strive for. Having a homebirth allowed our daughter to enter the world in a comfortable and loving home. My wife birthed free of drugs or unnecessary interventions. I think that specifically laid the ground work for keeping plastic, chemicals, and artificial or processed foods out of our daughter’s life as much as possible. I think birthing at home promoted that immediate mama-daughter bond, since our daughter was in our arms immediately after my wife birthed her. I also think having a homebirth gave us a sense of community with many like-minded, conscious parents, perhaps because our midwife has created such a fantastic community.

Epidurals Detach Mom From Body And Baby

There’s a really important difference between a drug-free birth, and one with an epidural. The use of narcotics creates detachment. Using narcotics often makes you feel separate from your body, rather than connected to it. I mean, that is really the point of the drug, to detach you from the “pain.” Without the use of drugs, you remain fully connected to your body, and your baby. How does this connection affect your baby?

There are reports that suggest that babies are slower to feed when their mother used an epidural. Epidurals also disturb eye-to-eye contact right after birth. Eye-to-eye contact is important for bonding, since it triggers the release of oxytocin in the mother’s body, which encourages the baby to latch, to snuggle and to bond in general. I strongly believe that getting that natural high from oxytocin was the healthiest thing for my wife and daughter, not just during and immediately after birth, but for their long-term bond.

Perception of Childbirth Determines Outcome

One thing that we discovered during my wife’s pregnancy, was how much her mindset and mental state affected the choices she made, and I believe, the outcome of the birth itself. Remember, we were originally all about birthing in the hospital. She thought she was high risk because of her age (which was totally untrue). She generally had the mindset, perhaps because she worked in a hospital, that she would be safer there. She also had it set in her mind that birth would be the most painful thing, which is why she originally planned on using drugs during labor. From what I gather, expecting lots of pain, and being afraid of it, is quite common.

Hypnosis and Affirmations Work

The cool thing is that we discovered the power of hypnosis, guided imagery and other sorts of positive affirmations. Different things work for different people. But the general idea that you can deeply relax, get rid of fears, by consciously influencing your subconscious, is a powerful and real concept. It could be meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis, yoga or some other meditative exercise. For us, hypnosis and affirmations worked great--so well, that we even created a free hypnosis download to share with people (visit here to sign up and receive it).

How Hypnosis and Relaxation Has Helped Me As A New Father

As a birth partner, I also found the hypnosis recordings really relaxing, and a real confidence booster. Using them during my wife’s pregnancy also made me realize that I can find peace and relaxation in times of stress after the birth. In those early months, anytime our daughter was crying, and fairly inconsolable, I found that when I was completely calm, she she would calm. When I got stressed, she would get more upset. So, I found that some deep breathing, or using imagery, was really helpful to relax me, and thus, relax her. Now, at nap time, if I can get into a deep state of calm, almost asleep, that she will fall asleep easily and without fuss.

Another cool thing that I did during my wife’s pregnancy, was to write down several affirmations. Some of them had to do with personal goals in music or business. Several of them focused on the outcome of the birth, my wife’s and daughter’s health, and our growing family. I would write down different things like, “our baby will be healthy,” or “our family is growing in so many positive ways.” I would focus on the different things I wrote down, and really try to picture them, and experience them. It may sound corny, but I really think it worked. I don’t mean that it was like some kind of magic, and if I just picture something it will come true. I do mean that the energy you put out will bring back similar energy.

Mindset Shifts For Life Changes

My wife and I are firm believers in this. Whether we used hypnosis, or imagery or affirmations, the most important thing is that focusing consciously on what we wanted did two things:
  1. It focused our attention on our goals and caused us to act on those intentions (like choosing a homebirth, or choosing to educate as much as we could on the subject).
  2. It sent messages to the universe that we aim to have what we want.
I continue to revisit these “tools” that help shape my life, and my family’s lives. I am thankful that my wife and I discovered these things during her pregnancy. They really made her birth easier, and I feel like they help us make the best parenting choices we can. They help us draw from within, to rely on our intuition, rather than rely solely on outside influences to shape us as parents. 

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