Sometimes it feels like all we do is look to the future and new ways to communicate. Email. Text. Skype. Who knows what is next?
It’s important amidst all this shiny new technology, however, not to forget to listen to ourselves and our bodies—especially when it comes to such a significant life event as pregnancy and childbirth. One way to do this is through imagery.
The oldest language in the world according to Dr. Catherine Shainberg, a psychologist and imagery teacher who created DreamBirth™, it is pre-verbal and allows for communication through pictures.
For many of us today in our fast-paced society talking to our bodies through images may sound quaint or even a little kooky. But wait. Not so fast…
Who hasn’t heard of the Olympic athlete visualizing a perfect performance before a competition and then nailing it? While that might be one of the more common uses there are others as well. What about using mental pictures to help lower blood pressure? Or employing imagery during childbirth to encourage a smooth labor?
Examples are all around us. It’s just that many people don’t take the time to stop and listen.
DreamBirth™ has come out of just such a place. Using imagery exercises designed for pregnancy and childbirth and facilitated by a certified DreamBirth™ practitioner, it allows women to dream while waking and use images to speak directly to and of the body.
One of these facilitators is Claudia Raiken, a doula, DreamBirth™ practitioner and childbirth educator at The Birth Studio who has assisted in over 200 births. As much as she is awed by DreamBirth™’s power, however, she does understand the skepticism associated with it.
“When pregnant women come to me, many of them don’t know about DreamBirth™,” says Ms. Raiken. “They are not coming to me because they are attracted to it. They are coming to me because I’m a helper in childbirth. I get a big gamut of people who think this might be crazy.”
They try it—and like it.
Ms. Raiken has used DreamBirth™ with women whose babies are in a breach position or have umbilical cords wrapped around them, coaching them to communicate with their unborn children through images of how to move in utero to alleviate the issues.
She also uses it to help women work through apprehension about the process. “Fear is one of the biggest components that can come in the way of an easy childbirth because the hormones of fear cancel out the hormones of birth,” she says.
Using imagery can also help reduce pain during labor, encourage flexibility and strength in body tissues and accelerate the post-partum healing process.
The good news is exercises can be done any time. Walking down the street, in bed, during meditation. It doesn’t matter. Nor are they long or time consuming. The results, however, can be amazing.
To learn more, Ms. Raiken can be contacted by phone at 917-561-4954 or email at ClaudiaRaiken@nyc.rr.com.
By Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.