We prepare our bodies and minds for birth for nine months, but what about our birthing space?
Giving birth at home gave me time to prepare my birthing space. A popular question during my pregnancy was, where are you going to give birth? I imagined in the bathtub or on all fours in the bathroom. My mom foresaw me giving birth in the bedroom- and that’s where it happened. Regardless of where you give birth, in the hospital, or at home, starting to prepare your birthing space can begin right away. Even though nothing will ever go perfectly to plan, making these items and putting energy into your birthing space will help prepare you and comfort you for when the time comes.
As soon as I decided to make the bathroom my birthing space, I began my south-facing water shrine, and I knew I had to do something about the lights. I am not a fan of fluorescent light. We switched out the mirror lights with blue LEDs for an aquatic mood. When I went into labor, it was still light outside, but we still like the blue lights.
I painted Circus Lion Malakai on the shelf. I got a fern, a common plant that grows under Redwoods, and a beautiful blue vase (which ended up not being practical.) A few candles and a vintage starfish mirror made up the rest of my south-facing alter.
To prepare my daughter, Halaya, for the birth of her brother, I had her read “Kid’s Book to Welcome a New Baby” by Barbara Collman. One of the activities was to make welcome signs for the baby, and a baby is sleeping sign. Halaya miss understood the “baby is sleeping” sign and wrote, “Malakai go to sleep!” I love the “Welcome to the World Malakai” sign she made. I smile every time I pass it. After having the baby, you have to bring him into his body. Stretch him out, move around for him. I feel like these signs are another way of welcoming him into his body by acknowledging his presence.
For my baby shower, I orchestrated prayer flags. Prayer flags are a sentence or two welcoming a baby into the world from the book Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz. Everyone reacted differently to the prayer flags and uniquely wrote their flags. It was heartwarming to hear what everyone had to contribute to Malakai’s coming, and it helped me feel supported by a network of friends and family. Later in life, Malakai will also appreciate the people who supported him in his journey into the world.
It was eight days after my estimated due date, and the whole house was getting ansie. I had all the time in the world, but feeling like you could pop any minute is distracting. There was this little art project I wanted to do for my birthing space inspired by a decoration in the window of the downtown clothing store, Belle Starr.
My mom and daughter were buzzing around me like frantic bees, so I bought different-sized ribbons and used a wreath base from two Christmases ago and had them work together on this octopus. It ended up being a bonding project that they were both proud of. At first, we hung it in the bathroom, and it looked beautiful with the blue light, but I had my husband remove it once the rushes became too intense. Now, this birthapus is hanging in the art room.
This picture was gifted to me by a mother friend friend, Mikaela. I found it entirely appropriate for my birthing space and felt I could use this mandala to meditate through my rushes. The painting was looking out for me and supported my journey into motherhood.
Last but not least the mobile I made for Malakai that I hung over the bed where I actually gave birth. This mobile took me two tries and hours of a DYI Mobile Macrame Youtube video with a tedious Christmas carol playing in the background. This mobile represents dreams and he loves looking up at it.
Even if you don’t give birth in your birthing space, preparing yourself with comfort items to help with the rushes and set a comfortable mood will allow you to ease your birthing experience. Also, having a humidifier with your favorite essential oils will calm the mind. Stimulating all the senses in positive ways can help with birth! Planning your birthings space ahead of time helps prepare your mind, so you can enjoy the ride.