Pregnancy & Birth

Birth Art Therapy Project: Magazine Scrap Birth Affirmations Collages

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This post is part of a blog series, 31 Days of Preparing for VBAC: my story of purposeful pregnancy, beautiful trial of labor after cesarean, and the healing repeat cesarean birth of my second child. To view all of the posts in this series, check out the landing page. To receive all posts in the series by email, subscribe here.

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Using Our Birthing From Within Keepsake Journal really opened up my mind to the idea of birth art therapy. I consider writing and music to be my primary art forms, and haven’t ever much been a fan of more traditional “art” – because I simply don’t find myself to be that good at it. Besides some messy painting, I prefer to use words to express myself than to draw or paint.

Early on in the first trimester, I remembered a project idea that I had used when Russ was deployed. I would search through old magazines for words that I liked, cut them out, then arrange them on scrapbooking paper to write him love “letters.” It helped to pass time and I always liked the look of it.

So when I got some baby magazines at my first prenatal appointment, it triggered that memory and I started cutting out words one evening.

Any word that spoke to me about birth, labor, baby, or encouragement, I would cut out. Over the next few months, I compiled them into three separate word collages.

Birth Art Therapy Birth Affirmations Collages

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1. It kept me encouraged and motivated.

I will speak to this in much more detail as the series progresses, but there were many days I was overwhelmed with discouragement, if not full-on depression, during my pregnancy. Doubts were strong. Failures knocked me down. Focusing positive energy into a project like this kept me thinking positively in spite of it all AND helped me feel like I was REALLY doing something to prepare for VBAC.

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2. It helped me visualize labor and birth – and what I wanted them to look like.

From reminding myself to walk and stay active during labor to visualizing opening my body to make way for baby and how I wanted to interact with my husband during labor, I was able to find words to describe those experiences. The act of putting them down on paper helped solidify those visualizations in my mind.

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3. It helped me feel empowered.

Finding empowering words reminded me that I could have more control over this experience and that this was MY baby, MY body, and MY birth experience.

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4. It kept me surrounded with positive mindfulness.

I am a firm believer in the practice of mindfulness – paying attention to our thoughts and emotions. When we think positively or on positive things, it can change our emotions and ultimately what we believe about ourselves and our circumstances. Meditating or focusing on positive words, affirmations, and visualizations was very important to me throughout the pregnancy and helped me feel much more confident when going into birth.

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5. It connected me to my baby.

I ended up dividing the words I found into words that made me think more about labor and birth and those that made me actually think about the end result – this BABY. I made a collage just for those words, surrounding a shot from our 19 week ultrasound. I was also lucky enough to find Little Brother’s name in a magazine, so included that in the collage (not pictured):

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***Important note! Ultrasound pictures melt when they are laminated!***

While I did this specific collage later on in the second trimester, the very first collage I finished at about 12 weeks. This project helped me feel much more connected to Little Brother, especially when I wasn’t yet feeling him or barely even seeing him.

When I was getting settled into my hospital room in early labor, we hung these up on the walls in the labor room, and one by the toilet in the bathroom.

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Supplies Needed:

  • Magazines: old or new, it doesn’t matter what kind or the content – you will be surprised at the words you find! I got a stack at Goodwill for a few dollars.
  • Scissors
  • A glue stick
  • Laminating supplies (optional)
  • Time
One last tip:

Every time I worked on this project – whether it be flipping pages in the magazines and cutting out words or actually compiling the collages – I was listening to my VBAC playlist.

I had some really neat moments when the words that I had found in the magazines fell right in line with what I was listening to at the time…

Such as when I was listening to Mandisa’s Stronger and found the word “STRONGER”:

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Or this one, finding the words “Your future is yet to be written…” while listening to Glorious Unfolding by Stephen Curtis Chapman:

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{Both of these songs were also featured in my birth video…it all came full circle!} 

This is just one small (perhaps rather time-consuming) project that can be done during pregnancy to prepare for your VBAC, especially on those nights when you feel restless and like you NEED to be doing SOMETHING besides watching more TV but can’t really bring yourself to read another book about birth.

If you do make a collage like this, I would LOVE to see it! Make sure to share with me on social media if you do!

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