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The new year is here – and gladly – contrary to what we see in the news – the energy on earth and for its inhabitants is brighter, lighter, more loving.
I see it in the work that I do, but I also see it in the world around us – for example, in the types of commercials on TV and radio and even on the front page of The New York Times. My profession as a birth doula allows me a unique peek at the gestalt of the current times, and often at what is coming and how it is changing. And the tenor of our time IS shifting. Hallelujah.
I use a unique set of techniques and processes called DreamBirth®. It uses a specific form of Imagery and dreaming as the foundational window into the birthing process, from pre-conception to parenting and bonding. I have seen the responses and messages in imagery change over time — in the babies, in the women, in their partners, and among the doctors, midwives and nurses who attend their births.
I started using the imagery as part of my tool set in 2003. Twenty years later I see a dramatic change towards the positive not only in how the imagery is viewed, but even more noticeable, in the different types of messages given by elements in the imagery.
Although many of the DreamBirth exercises help physically with the birthing experience — to get the baby in the right position, decrease tearing, and help with pain relief — DreamBirth’s other qualities demonstrate the movement and momentum towards more optimism, compassion, and love. This is not wishful thinking; this is empirical. In other words, we can count on it.
DreamBirth Imagery is a subset of Saphire® Imagery, an approach to manifestation through creating a dialogue in images between the subconscious and the conscious minds. Saphire Imagery — and DreamBirth Imagery — include short visualizations that catapult you into your knowing and dreaming mind. Many of the exercises are written so that you can ‘hear’ or ‘see’ what your wisest self wants to reveal to you. In the case of DreamBirth, through the more open state that the imagery exercise instantly creates, mothers can actually communicate with their babies-to-be in the womb. They can even ‘talk’ with those that have left through miscarriage or any other loss. Through these imagery exercises the women create perhaps the most profound and informative bond possible in life.
When I first started using DreamBirth in my doula practice, the messages from the babies were scant: “Mommy, I love you,” was the most common and longest message. Although some of the women could see their children smile and wave at them, partners would often not even entertain “visiting the womb” to visit the baby-to-be. At first the doctors and nurses ignored the imagery, and if they did note it, they debunked it or perhaps simply tolerated the use of it. The doctors believed something else was allowing the women to stay calm, not the imagery.
Their views have changed.
Around 2012, curiosity surfaced. Nurses started to listen and ask what we were doing. Now the medical community is respectfully witnessing. They do see a difference. They get images not given to the mother – for example, they can see what games they will play when the child is older. But a decade later, partners now willingly dive in to use images to “talk” to their children in the womb. Many fathers now tell me how the baby looks exactly like they saw them in their imagery One father, upon learning an exercise to bring out the best in the birthing professionals, asked me if he could use that exercise at work to bring out the best of everyone in his office. Music to my ears.
The messages from the babies have become longer and more explicit. ‘Daddy, be nicer to mommy.” “Tell my sister I love her”. “Don’t worry, I’m happy.” With time I learned how to elicit longer answers – but I was not alone: the energy of the times greatly helped me.
To do this, I often begin by creating a garden (in imagery) where they can rest and be safe, I ask the mother or father to learn from the baby if there is anything the baby wants that isn’t in the garden. The babes-to-be ask for many things! Soft blankets, more flowers, dogs, bunnies, their grandfather, their siblings — the list is endless.
I now pay attention to what the babies say they want in the garden, or what they say they want to do when they come. One child asked for pebbles! Eleven years later that mother sent me photographs of her son’s endless pebble collections and arrangements. It seems that this family cannot travel anywhere without bringing baggies for the youngster to collect new specimens. Very recently a boy in the womb told his mother he was going to paint. This same child also told the mother to be patient with the father – that he was coming around.
The flowers and trees in the imaginary gardens now tell my clients, and students who are training in DreamBirth very similar messages – to be less critical of themselves, to allow themselves to play and be happy, and that all will be well. Most messages point to a more benevolent and happy way of being.
Of course, if this is a true movement, we should be able to see it in the real world. We do, if we look.
It seems as if events from the outside mimic what I have been seeing. I am struck by how the majority of commercials on TV employ either humor or heartwarming messages. Gone are the messages that “you will be a nobody, a loser if you don’t buy our product,” or, ‘You will be better than others if you drive this car.”
A major automaker’s commercials literally brand themselves as being for love and safety. There is a commercial now advertising a bourbon that has the tag line, “People are good for you,” with the image of many people in a restaurant bar singing and having a good time together – exuding togetherness and openness to the woman entering the bar. Although not a commercial, I would put Simone Biles putting her health and safety over winning at any cost as part of the movement towards more respect and honoring – of oneself and others.
The most widely shared videos are those of baby animals or those with heart-warming or inspiring messages. Even the animal programs my husband watches are changing from images of the animals fighting with each other to images of how they love one another, have life partners and mourn each other. The day after Christmas, the New York Times had a front-page article titled, “Cats Filled This Chilean Prison. Then the Inmates Fell in Love”. The prison officials realized that the cats were not only good for the rat problem, but that they were good for the inmates. As one inmate put it, “A cat makes you worry about it, feed it, take care of it, give it special attention. When we were outside and free, we never did this. We discovered it here.”
Shifts in consciousness feel like they take centuries but can actually happen in moments. This is what the perspective as a birthing doula has made so simple and clear to me: we are approaching birthing in a new way. While much of the mechanics are that same as ever, we bring a deeper and more playful sense of love, curiosity, respect, and excitement to birthing. We see around us a new enthusiasm, sweetness, and generosity that felt lost in the slog of daily news. But DreamBirth reminds us to be who we are and shows us we are not alone, by far, in inhabiting a new, positive energy. Let’s enjoy this New Year bursting with life!
Interested in learning more about the practice of DreamBirth and the strength and guidance it bestows throughout the birthing process? Claudia is teaching Easing into Pregnancy & Birth starting March 2.