You absolutely can! And being reminded that your labour comes in short, consistent waves of roughly 1 minute can help you keep your head in the game and reduce anxiety.
I'm quite picky with birth affirmations but this one always resonated strongly with me and I've used it with lots of mamas I've supported over the years. It's a great, practical answer to the age old question:
How will I cope with labour?
1 minute at the time, and then there’s a pause, a nice break from the intensity of your surges. Your body is capable of coping with this, your body is designed for this, and you have all the tools you need to make it through each minute. You can focus on your breath, use your birth breathing or any other visualisations you find helpful. Your support team knows how to help and they are right by your side. Your baby is a little closer to being born.
It’s 1 minute, roughly 10-14 breaths and you got this!
I guess that's why my pragmatic brain loves this phrase...it's more practical than most birth affirmations. And it's a fact: You can do anything for 1 minute, mama.
But what if contractions last longer than 1 minute?
Sometimes labour contractions can last longer, up to 75-90 seconds. It's not very common but it does happen and it may throw you off your game at first. But I promise you mama, you can absolutely handle it.
Longer contractions are not a cause for concern if your labour is spontaneous (i.e. not an induction and your body is running the show without extra hormones being given to you). Often, longer surges are followed by longer pauses because your body is very clever and it compensates for the extra work its doing with each contraction.
I've recently had a mama tell me this birth affirmation felt like a lie during her first birth when her contractions were longer than 60 seconds. She actually found this upsetting and removed that particular card from the affirmations she used for her second birth. I never thought about it that way and her story really opened my eyes to this scenario...
If your contractions last longer than 1 minute, here's what you need to remember:
You can do anything for 90 seconds too!
Is it nice? Probably not. But can you take an extra 5 breaths, stay on top of those sensations a little longer and keep your mind in the game? 100% yes!!!
It's all about the pause
So much of coping with labour is about what you do in that pause. Shaking off that tension and intensity. Melting in that sweet break you get between waves. Let it all go, relax, ground yourself. Use this time to recover and reset.
90 sec contractions means you're getting more work done with each surge
You're being super efficient, mama and your body and baby know exactly what they need to do. Trust them, trust yourself and lean on your trusted team for all the help you may need.
What are your favourite/least favourite birth affirmations? Leave yours in the comments and let me know your story of how those words helped you or why you hated them.