What do labor and dance recitals have in common? You can practice for them. You may be thinking about all of the warnings of being too committed to your birth plan. And it's true that no one knows how any given birth is going to go. But practice can still be effective and useful.
I'm preparing to dance at a friend's wedding. I have a fair share of dancing experience, but this is Indian dancing. The music is different. The steps are different. I have to learn new hand positions and dance on different beats. It's all beautiful. (And humbling.) But when I practice at home I know my body is building muscle memory, associating movement with music. I also notice my mind starts thinking about my friend. Practicing is helping me prepare on a very emotional level. I find myself thinking about my friend and how happy I am that she's found such a great partner. I think about things we've done together in the past. I'm amazed at how many years have passed since we met. I'm thankful for the support she's given me through my marriage and having babies. I find myself feeling deep love and gratitude for her and our relationship.
The same thing happened when I was preparing to have my second son. I had learned how to make an effective playlist for birth. I also had access to the Sound Birthing Music TM playlists. In listening to these regularly before having my son, I noticed I processed many emotions. I felt the feelings of nervousness and uncertainty. Pride and excitement. I got them out into the open before I went into labor. I couldn't perfectly plan for the event, so I perfectly planned my music. I used the music while I ate, cleaned, slept, worked, drove...you get the picture. When my labor was completely different than I expected, I was so glad I had processed the emotions.
I still use my playlists. They take me back to that time and everything that was going on. They help me connect and keep the love and gratitude flowing.