How are you feeling? And I repeat back to you
A prenatal visit begins with "How are you feeling?" No, that's not true, a prenatal visit begins with sitting comfortably face to face.
Then, "How are you feeling?" I ask. A pregnant woman answers "Good.... tired." Then, with a sigh, "The baby moves like crazy and then I can't sleep and then I have to get up to pee". I respond by repeating back "You're uncomfortable and not sleeping well....". "Yes, I'm tired of this pregnancy. It's getting old". "Oh dear, you are feeling impatient" I am just repeating back and not putting words in her mouth, but we have moved from the simple, often insoluble physical challenges of pregnancy, to the attitude, state of mind sorts of things about which we really have more control.
Later she says "And now my mom has decided that she's coming for the birth." "How do you feel about that?" "Well of course I love my mom and she really wants to be here but I thought it was just going to be me and Chris". "Your mom wants to be here but you visualize the birth differently," I repeat. "Yes, but it's really important to her to be here, I think. She's really excited about it" She is focusing on her mother's feelings not her own, so I will bring her back to her own. "Yes, but what do YOU think about her plan to be here?"
Repeating what my client says to me is a simple tool that creates connection. And the connection that I mean is not between me and my client, it is between the client and her own feelings. When she feels something and says it, she feels it more and then when I says it back to her, she feels it even more. And the more she feels it, the more she gets it, the more she learns and finds solutions.
My clients know the magic tool that I have on my window sill. It's a spiral-bound flip-book called "The Pocket Midwife" It is a book of perfect affirmations for pregnant women. At the end of the visit they flip it open at random and magically the message is perfect for that moment. A woman who is past her due date and fed up will get "I am patient and composed" A woman who is anxious about the birth process will flip to "My body knows exactly what to do" A woman who is feeling overwhelmed may turn to "I ask for and receive what I need" The woman reads the message out loud. There is power in speaking things out loud. There is power in repetition. The pregnant woman leaves the prenatal visit strengthened and empowered, a feeling that will be expanded upon as she experiences labor, birth, breastfeeding and mothering.