As I enter my 38th week of pregnancy, I have settled nicely into my maternity leave. Having so much free time to focus on my baby and myself is a wonderful feeling. I am able to rest when I need to, read, sing, play music, and work through gentle exercises, all with the aim of preparing for my upcoming labour, and the birth of our baby. Having very recently moved house, it’s lovely to potter around in our new garden, decorate our baby’s bedroom, and visualise ourselves as a family of three in our new home.
A key part of my preparations have focused on music, and my listening choices for during my labour. As discussed in Musings on the Prenatal Bonding Power of Music, the feelings that music can stir up, and the associations we make when listening, are very powerful. It is my intention to use music as a distractions, as a calming tool, and as an energising force, as and when I need to. Therefore, I have created several playlists that are relevant and suitable to me, that I hope will induce the desired feelings in me, at various stages. I have listed the tracks below to exemplify this, but suggest using music that means something to you in the same way!
I intend to listen to this playlist while resting during the latent stage of labour, and when in the birthing pool. This is music that makes me feel calm and at ease. I can quickly relax to this, and go within, allowing my body to contract without tension.
During pregnancy, I listen to this playlist whilst practising yoga. I breathe long and deep breaths, working slowly and mindfully through the movements. I also use this playlist to help me sleep when I am struggling to switch off. These last few weeks have been pretty uncomfortable, both with the heat and my increasing belly! This music helps to lull me to sleep.
- Watermark – Enya
- When We Were Young – Adele
- ‘Canzonetta sull’aria’ from The Marriage of Figaro – Mozart
- Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis (I walked down the aisle to this last year!)
- What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong (Mine and Luke’s first dance)
- When I Fall in Love – Nat King Cole
- She’s Always A Woman – Billy Joel
- The First Time Ever I Saw Her Face – Roberta Flack
- How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding
- Crazy Love – Van Morrison
- ‘O Mio Bavvino Caro’ from Gianni Schicchi – Puccini
- ‘Viene la serra’ from La Boheme – Puccini
- Can’t Help Falling in Love – Meghan Trainor
- ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ from Sunset Boulevard – Andrew Lloyd Webber (we saw Glenn Close performing this with the ENO when I was 20 weeks pregnant
- Daphnis Et Chloe, Suite No.2 – Ravel
- Introduction from Edward Scissorhands – Danny Elfman
- Fantasy in F Minor, D.940 – Schubert
- ‘La Ritirata’ from La Boheme – Puccini
- Somewhere Out There (piano arrangement) – John Bayless
This is all music that makes me feel great! For me, it is invigorating, motivating, and full of amazing memories. It is the ultimate distraction, as I find my mind drifting off to other places, as I remember brilliant things. I intend to listen to this whenever I feel that I can’t continue, whenever things get too difficult or too painful. It may also be a good playlist for the pushing stage of labour, when I need a final boost of energy!
At the moment, I listen to this when out walking, especially after listening to The Calm Birth School affirmations. I find that these affirmations are more securely absorbed when followed by a boost of energy and positivity. I am left feeling that I can take on the world, and I hope that this energy can be sustained when I have my baby!
- Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
- I’ll Walk Beside You – Josef Locke (This beautiful song was performed as Luke and I signed our wedding register)
- That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick (Also sung as we signed the register, by one of our oldest mutual friends)
- You Are the Sunshine of my Life – Stevie Wonder (Performed by my brother-in-law at the end of our wedding ceremony)
- Mr Bojangles – Robbie Williams
- Me and My Shadow – Robbie Williams
- L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole
- What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
- Hey Jude – The Beatles
- New York, New York – Frank Sinatra (Our final dance on our wedding day)
- Viva Las Vegas – Elvia Presley (A reminder of a fantastic honeymoon!)
- I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross (Quite apt I thought!)
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross (A song often quoted to me by my mum)
- Reach Out and Touch – Diana Ross (The finale to the Diana Ross concert we saw in Vegas)
- Ain’t No Man (Take me back to my 18th birthday party!)
- Cry To Me – Solomon Burke (Who doesn’t love a bit of Dirty Dancing?!)
- Stand By Me – Otis Redding
- All About You – Mcfly
- I’m Gonna Make You Love Me – Diana Ross and the Supremes
- Behind Closed Doors – Diana Ross (Lovely memories from family holidays as a child)
- ‘Circle of Life’ from The Lion King
- Happy Birthday – Kygo
As important to me as the music I listen to throughout my labour, is the music I will listen to in the time immediately following the birth. My baby has listened to music throughout its entire life in the womb, and so it makes sense to play him/her music they will already be familiar with, while we have skin-to-skin and get to know each other. There is already a list of music that I am playing to my baby daily, with the intention of it acting as a soother after the baby is born.
- The Five Pennies – Danny Kaye (A lullaby sung to me by my own mum)
- Lullaby in Ragtime – Danny Kaye (Also sung to me by my mum)
- Guten Abend, Gut Nacht – Brahms
- Silent Noon – Vaughan Williams
- ‘O Soave Faniulla’ from La Boheme
- I’ll Walk Beside You – Dennis O’Neill
- 2nd Movement of 5th Piano Concerto – Beethoven
- ‘The Swan’ from Carnival of the Animals – Saint-Saens
- ‘Lullaby’ from The Firebird Suite – Stravinsky
As well as music, I have also spent a lot of time listening to the MP3s by The Calm Birth School. This fantastic group of recordings have helped me to prepare and look forward to my upcoming birth, with excitement instead of fear. There are 5 in the set, and I have listened to them all at the following times:
- Affirmations – Daily – when out walking, cooking the dinner, driving….anytime at all really! These have formed the mantras of my pregnancy, with strengthening and confidence-boosting phrases. I intend to listen to these whenever I need a boost during labour
- Meditation Mixdown – Daily – when going to sleep. This is a very calming track, which talks you through the relaxation of each part of your body – I am often asleep before it’s even finished!
- Fear Release – Whenever I feel anxious. This deals with worries and anxieties by allowing you to name them and then get rid of them. It is very empowering.
- Powerball – Once a week – when resting. This identifies all of your strong qualities, and lets them grow, taking precedence over your weaknesses. It leaves me feeling very powerful and capable
- Birth rehearsal – Once a week – in the bath! As the title suggests, this is a practise run for your actual labour. An excellent way to feel relaxed and prepared, without the feeling of panic. I intend to listen to this at various points in my labour, to connect with my baby, and remember why I am here.
As ever, my use of music is very personal. As this is my first baby, its use here is quite experimental. I do not know for sure that it will have the desired effect on me or my baby. However, I do believe that it is a very powerful tool, and it wouldn’t feel right to go through such a life-changing event without it!
Originally posted 2016-12-09 16:02:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter