I’m in a hospital birthing room. The excitement fills us all, the baby is almost here! MANY healthcare practitioners arrive. Most of whom my clients, their family members, and I have never met before. Some of these new faces are leaning in, yelling “PUSH!”. Adrenaline floods us all, how could it not? The baby is almost here!

This is when I tell myself, that little baby is feeling all of this.
“Breath Malissa, call on your center.” When I do the magic happens. Suddenly the whole room calms down a bit, the birthing person is allowed to rest in between contractions, and the little baby is given a nice calm and cozy environment to enter into.

Awesome right? But man is it hard to stay centered!

Mindfulness and meditation help me prepare for these out-of-body moments as an attending labor doula. Did you know that your energy can control and center a room? Try it!

Breathing exercises with Malissa

As a doula, my job is to see that my client’s values and wishes for their birth are honored. I’ve been attending labors since 2014, so it is a bit easier for me to stay calm. I’ve seen it all! That said, I still have a daily yoga and meditation practice to keep my nervous system ready for the moments ahead.

Here are a few ways to prepare for those unfamiliar situations that may arise in labor:

  1. Make those unfamiliar moments familiar! Watch YouTube videos of mammals giving birth.
  2. Meditate for 5-20 minutes once or twice a day. Apps like Calm and Headspace are really helpful to help you meet your goals!
  3. Practice the 444 breath pattern every day leading up to birth. Here’s how it’s done: Inhale for four, hold for four, exhale for four, hold the exhale for four. Do this 5-10 times and see how effective it is!
  4. People can be so silly. If you feel yourself getting anxious or upset around someone, it is ok to walk away or leave. See my upcoming blog for nice exit strategies for birthing persons with badass boundaries <3

Learning to stay centered in high-stress situations, especially if you’re someone like me who has a standing history with anxiety, think of it as a practice and not a problem to be fixed. Trust me, it will feel hard and silly at first, all this new stuff. In the end, you’ll be so grateful you showed up for yourself. You deserve the world friend, that and more <3