Envisioning the Child Already Born
Paula Modersohn-Becker, Reclining Mother and Child,1906
As had happened in my first pregnancy, my second pregnancy went well past its due date. As those who have gone past their due dates know, the added time can be a period of increased anxiety for the pregnant woman. Often, women are advised that they cannot go past 42 weeks and so an invisible time clock ticks in their ears each day after 40 weeks have passed. In the last two weeks of my recent pregnancy, this added time also gave me extra moments to think about the birth of my first child, including some of the more difficult moments of his birth. At times, I found myself worrying as I awaited labor. But then I had a wonderful conversation with my doula (Stacy Hattori) a few days before labor kicked in. She suggested that I not think of my first child’s birth in terms of the entire labor, but instead focus on my memory of the moment when he was born. That was a wonderful moment of my life. He was a very big and healthy baby, and I was energetic and revitalized even though my labor had been long. The memory of holding my son in my arms and nursing him for the first time after labor was vivid, and my doula told me to visualize that same moment of my unborn child being born. Great relief overcame me as I realized that my second child would soon be born and I would hold her in my arms just as I had held my son after his birth.
Images of mothers and their newborn babies remind the pregnant woman that her baby will soon be with her, on the outside. Envisioning the child born and labor over can give strength and peace to the pregnant woman as she approaches labor and birth.
The above image is an oil painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907), a German artist who maintained a strong interest in themes of mother and child during her life and work as an artist.