Mothering with Your Right Brain

I am thankful to Danette Watson and Stephanie Corkhill Hyles authors of “Awaken Your Birth Power” for the following information sent in their Jan 2010 Newsletter

Less Information, More Intuition

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there for new mothers and pregnant women? Do you feel that birth and mothering are so complicated that you’re better off just letting your medical caregiver make decisions?

If so, you’re not alone. Women in Western cultures have more information available than ever before, but is this always a good thing? In an article entitled How Too Much Information May Cause Problems for Breastfeeding New Mothers by Kendall-Tackett and Mohrbacher (Interaction, December 2009), the authors conclude that because most of the information available is left-brained, it can cause problems for new mothers because breastfeeding is a right-brained activity. They illustrate the difference in the two sides of the brain by asking you to “think of left-brained instructions as head knowledge. Right-brained learning yields heart or body knowledge.” They go on to say that highly instructionalized, left-brained approaches can have these disadvantages:

1. doesn’t allow mother and baby to take advantage of their natural responses
2. discourages mothers and babies from using their hardwiring
3. can encourage mothers to tune out their natural responses or violate their instincts
4. can create a crisis where none existed before
5. leaves mothers feeling incompetent “because it feels as if there are ten thousand things they need to remember”

Giving birth is also a right-brained activity so all of the above disadvantages that apply to breastfeeding also apply to labor and birth. I encourage women to draw on right and left brained ways of knowing as you prepare for your birth but remember that birth is primarily a right-brained, subconscious process. So it is useful to spend more time on right-brained ways of learning and knowing.
Use imagery and emotion and encourage you to relax and tap into your innate knowing.

So for a quick start, in preparing for birth or breastfeeding with your right-brain, put away all the books and relax, breathe, trust.

You do have natural birthing and mothering instincts. You do have everything you need within you.

Characteristics of Your Left-Brain:
Logical
Analytical
Rational
Objective
Likes to figure things out
Associated with the “yang” of Chinese philosophy
masculine, aggressive
conscious, reasoning

Left-Brain Activities may include:

* Reading books
* Writing a birth plan
* Making a list of things to do

Characteristics of Your Right Brain:
Intuitive
Free thinking
Imaginative
Holistic
Relational
Subjective
Time-free
“Yin” of Chinese philosophy
feminine, yielding
subconscious, emotive

Right-brain activities may include:

* meditation
* visualisation
* yoga breathing
* drawing
* journaling
* being aware of and following your gut instincts
* listening to your body (yoga is great for this)
* have fun/play!

“As women in labor move and act according to their instincts, they are in fact behaving extremely rationally, and thus generally have faster and easier deliveries than women who do not.” Dr. Michel Odent, Birth Reborn

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