How can you stay centered and make clear-headed decisions during the intensity of labor? One thing you can do is craft a personal, powerful question that will help you know what to do even in unexpected situations. It has been said that “to live without sufficiently powerful questions is to enter the heat of battle unarmed,” so be sure to have at least one powerful question in your labor toolbox. This article will guide you through the creation of your own question and show you how to use it.
Why do I need a powerful question?
There are so many medical decisions to be made during pregnancy, in the midst of labor, and immediately after birth. Being informed is essential, but what you do with that information has as much to do with your personal story as with statistics. Emotions are high when your baby is involved. Lots of stories get triggered in your mind. The brain functions differently during labor - rational thought and verbal communication skills are suppressed. These factors can make it difficult to take part in the decision-making process. That’s why you need to come prepared with a question that cuts through your mental chatter and takes you directly to your center. Once you have a clear head about the present situation, it is easier to take action - to do what needs to be done in the moment.
What is a powerful question?
It is not a question that can be answered by someone else - you are the only authority. It cannot be answered with yes or no - yes/no questions lead to uncertainty, not action. And it is never about the future. The present is where insight and action are found. Your powerful question is one that, when you ask it, causes you to shift your attention inward, to the present moment, and toward the way of being that is most meaningful to you. Try it out for yourself.
How do I create my own powerful question?
When you have found a question that resonates with you, write it on a special paper. Share it with your partner and your doula so they can remind you of it during labor. Ask it frequently, in all kinds of situations. Ask it right now. It doesn’t just apply to yourself in childbirth, but to every day of your life. By practicing and living your questions now, you will have access to this powerful tool when you need it.
Christy is a doula and Birthing From Within childbirth mentor committed to strengthening families and communities through storytelling/storylistening, meaningful celebration, mindfulness, and reflective work.