Maybe you’ve seen the experiment where people have cut an apple in half, placed the two halves in separate jars, and spoken to each half with either all negative or all positive words for a few straight days or weeks? The apple that’s been spoken to negatively is always significantly more decayed and rotten, while the apple that’s been affirmed throughout is far less spotty or moldy, depending on how long the experiment has been carried out.
It’s either terribly interesting, or terribly frightening, or both.
I believe so much in the power of words, and more so all of the time. The things we say have the ability to break someone else down or build them up. I also believe strongly that our words are capable of altering our future circumstances, for better or for worse.
I think about this a lot in pregnancy, because I know that there is a very impressionable little person growing within earshot of everything I say (and at all times). This wouldn’t carry so much weight with me, except that I’ve witnessed the impact of my thoughts and words in birth twice now. As baby’s due date grows closer, I’m eager to make a third attempt at shaping how he or she comes into the world.
To do this, I need to be really intentional with what I say to our baby (and what I tell myself, too) between now and September. This is hard for me to express well in a blog post, but before I start sounding all crazy, I’ll try to explain.
For starters, I’ll just suggest that there’s no possible harm in speaking positivity and life over a baby in utero. There’s no risk to anyone when I work to think carefully about baby’s birth and what I hope it will look like, but as I’ve experienced, there is potential reward.
I love this fact. I feel more powerful in birth because of this fact. The possibility that I could positively impact a birth experience for both baby and myself is fascinating and exhilarating. I know that I’m not the one in control of all things by any means. I also know that it doesn’t hurt to try to nudge things in the direction I’m hoping by keeping my chin up, by mothering our baby through thoughts, words and prayer long before he or she enters the world, and by entering into the space of labor and delivery with a strong trust in my body’s innate ability to work with my baby, and vice versa.
Twice now, beautiful things have happened when I’ve spoken calm, direct, peaceful things over our children as their birthdays approached. It lends hope to think that, with some intentional effort put in before baby arrives, we could have another peaceful birthing day again.
I’ve gotten a few sideways glances whenever I share that our babies have come as I’ve invited them to, but it’s true. I try to be as keyed into my pregnancies as possible, and although it gets harder with each baby because there’s more going on at home with other siblings, I do desire to connect with and encourage our babies as they get ready to enter the world.
I think about the vast number of changes a tiny human goes through when their skin first feels that rush of cold air upon delivery and directly following. So many hands moving them around, holding them, wiping them, poking them. I think about the feeling of cloth on skin for the first time, the scratchiness of a diaper, the sensation of a hat placed on their head. What does it feel like to leave the only space you’ve ever known…warm, dark, somewhat without gravity…and to suddenly be introduced to bright lights, plastic hospital cribs, loud sounds and a separation from mama for the very first time?
We’ve all made it through, obviously, but how can the process be the most gentle for these precious little babies of ours? I desire so much for our children to make a peaceful entrance into this world.
I know that there are circumstances outside of our control, and that sometimes medical urgency necessitates a different path from a more gentle birth environment, but I sure am going to try to speak one over baby’s birthday, anyway. I love to tell our kiddos that the world is ready for them when the time is right. I love encouraging them that they will be welcomed into a safe, loving place in our family. I love talking to them through labor–my first chance as their mama to encourage them through a hard transition.
I say what I want and what I mean leading up to our babies’ births, because I know how I hope things will go, and I don’t think it can hurt in the least bit to articulate beliefs and wishes for the benefit of our babes as they’re born.
Sometimes I forget just how powerful our words and thoughts can be…how defeating the negative self talk or the focus on the impossibilities instead of the possible ones.
This week in this pregnancy has reopened the space for me to feel confident that I can speak life over our sweet baby again. With each pregnancy, I’ve gone through seasons of feeling incapable, ill-suited, discouraged and shushed over this conviction, but it always returns as things move along.
God connected us to our babies and our babies to us in so many beautiful and miraculous ways. I mean, goodness! An entire organ develops within us as we carry them, just to facilitate the life giving process that is taking place. It’s amazing and amazingly humbling, and yet, it’s clear that we were meant to function as essential players, welcoming these important young lives here on earth with as much thoughtfulness and care as we can muster.
Our words matter. They matter from before our babies our born until long after they’ve grown. I’m going to say what I want to be reality for my children because it can’t hurt, but it might help. And my words can bring life or decay–I’m sure of that. Just knowing this truth is a beautiful and weighty thing.
God created mamas with the ability to shepherd children. And I have no doubt that He gives us the intuition we gain while expecting and forever after–to love, protect and guide our babies through our thoughts, words and prayers that have the power to shape circumstances for so much good.
I’ve learned to say what I want, and by the same token, I’m always learning to think through whether or not I actually want what I say.
I want a peaceful birth for this baby.
I want to be surrounded by people who speak life and truth while I’m in labor.
I want to trust my body and to know that it is capable of delivering a healthy baby again.
I want our baby to know that he or she is safe and welcome here.
And I want to live without unnecessary fear over any part of the process.
being stretched by pregnancy all of the time, and it’s good. i really mean that.