I had the joy and privilege of attending a birth this week. This was the mother's second birth, which was a first for me. Working with a woman who has already birthed makes my work easier since she already has a good idea of what she wants and doesn't want, and she was so confident and relaxed after baby arrived.
This was also my first birth since participating in the Inner Guide Training led by Audrey Stephens, and the first opportunity to work with the mala I created in Anahita Kalainivala's Mala workshop.
When I signed up for the Mala workshop I knew that I wanted to create a tool to assist me in the spiritual aspects of labor and birth, but I had no idea what that would look like or how it would actually work. Anahita and I discussed the idea and, as she does for all participants, she pulled card from her Gaia Oracle deck. Then she choose mala beads that would assist me in my intentions. On the day of the workshop, we discussed the cards and the stones, and each of us charged our stones. From there we each created our own, individualized, powerful malas.
The traditional use of a mala, like a Rosary, is to repeat a mantra or prayer 108 times (one for every bead). Even before labor, this can be a beautiful and powerful tool for YOU during your pregnancy as a way to prepare for birth. Before I had a mala, when I was pregnant I took time to sit and meditate, often repeating a mantra such as "healthy mom, healthy baby, healthy birth," or "healthy pregnancy, healthy birth, healthy motherhood." Of course any positive affirmation can work. Your mantra could be as simple as the Kundalini mantra Satnam. Sat translates to "truth," Nam translates to "the name of," (together meaning I am Truth, the divine). Or So Ham, the sound of your breath moving in and out, translating similarly to Satnam as "I am That," ("That" meaning the ultimate reality, or divine).
While assisting a woman in labor, I don't typically sit and meditate with the beads (although if you want that type of assistance, I am happy to support you in whatever way you choose). Before I walk into the hospital, I sit with the mala. I center my thoughts by taking a few deep breaths, and then I state my intention for this birth, something along the lines of: "Source, mala and any other spiritual beings, please assist me and guide me as I work with this mother, her family and the hospital staff, so that I may see objectively and receive guidance on the best way for this mother to labor and birth. I release attachment to the outcomes because I know this experience will be exactly as the mother and baby have chosen." With this intention, I can more easily move to a place of understanding what I need to do or how I need to be in each moment of the labor.
As your doula I will breathe with you. I will massage you, I will be witness to your experience with encouragement and without judgement. Often, when breathing with you, I will ground you or draw Reiki through me, into you. I will suggest position changes and attitude changes, keeping you positive and strong through your journey. The mala becomes an extension of my intuition and an amplifier of my intention. And it is just one more tool in my birth toolbox.
If this type of assistance speaks to you, I am here for you. You can practice the above meditations with me during Prenatal Yoga and Mindful Pregnancy Meditation. And if you are interested in creating your very own birth mala, I will connect you with the powerful Anahita Kalainivala.