No I am not referring to swear words! Such words may indeed be uttered and respected during a child birthing experience! I am simply talking about the ‘Spoken Word’ , any word that you may say...ANY…Gulp!
Not just simply sounds caused by air passing through your larynx, words have real power and real consequences. Our words have the power to not only build confidence but also to destroy it. Words are tools, tools help us to build and create both emotionally and physically but they also have the ability to break us down and destroy confidence and hearts.
Words are the most powerful force available to humanity. Encouraging or despairing, we hold the power “…to help, to heal, to hinder, to harm, to humiliate and to humble” (Yehuda Berg)
When with a birthing woman consider your words wisely due to their very force. Discipline yourself to speak only with respect, humility and gentleness. It is true that words can be music to the ears of the beholder especially when used as encouragement and empowerment. It is our job to offer sweet ear music.
When we speak we should be mindful. Not only do our actual words matter but also how we say them. Our tone of voice has a huge impact. Be truthful, avoid exaggerations, be consistent, offer kindness and encouragement. Always be respectful, gentle and caring.
We must also learn the art of listening patiently. Listen to what is truly being said before offering your words of wisdom, reassurance or advice.
Body language forms a large part of this as does eye contact but if its support over the telephone as during a recent birth experience of mine, where I was held talking to a labouring woman for over 5 hours as she needed my voice and words to help her cope with the unexpected early birth of her baby whilst away from home! Even in this instance where I could not be seen I had to remain aware of my body language as this can actually be reflected in your spoken word. Honestly, it is very difficult to offer support when not actually with that person, beside her, holding her hand and watching her body for signs of an impending birth but it is possible. By really listening to this awesome labouring mum, listening to her choice of words and the noises she was gently making, I was able to predict that her baby was coming even though mum was adamant that she was not breathing her baby towards her! Her midwives and the doctor entered the room just in time on my insistance that they were called (premature birth at 33 weeks gestation).
Always remain aware of your voice, be honest, be clear, but be gentle and empowering. Your words can make a huge difference to the birth experience of a woman and her partner. Ultimately remember that the words you choose to speak have enormous power. Choose wisely, choose well. You hold the ability in your voice to make a difference, may this difference be both empowering and joyful.
Thank you for reading, now go forth and be mindful of the spoken word and the difference you can make…