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Guided Imagery Exercise for Labor and Delivery

Karen Kilson, Certified Doula |26, January 2001


Close your eyes. Let your body relax and become heavy. As you listen, take long, gentle cleansing breaths until soft natural breathing takes over.

You are standing on a silent road at the edge of an empty beach. There are no people in sight and you are alone. With your eyes closed, you raise your head toward the sun, high in the blue sky, and feel its warmth on your face. The sun's rays erase all of your worries, your tension, your distraction. There is only you and the beach before you...

You slowly move forward to the edge of the sand. You remove your shoes and are now barefoot. As you step into the sand, feel it on your feet. It is soft and loose, and warm and dry. It feels comforting to your skin, and you sink as you step.

You stand still for a moment, to experience your surroundings. The day is fair and bright. There is a light , warm breeze that moves in little swirls around your body. It moves through your hair and your clothes and allows you to feel free and unrestrained.

You can smell the seashore and you hear seagulls a short distance away. Feel the sun's rays on your head and on your back, between your shoulders.

Listen to the gentle waves as they move along the edge of the sand. Watch them roll in and out, in rhythm with your breathing. You move closer to the waves' edge. Feel the sand under your feet as it becomes firmer and cooler. Your feet no longer sink into the sand, but leave little moist puddles as you step. The cool wetness seeps between your toes.

You move to the edge of the water and it washes over your feet. The water is a perfect temperature for your body. You step slowly deeper. The level rises to your knees, and then to your waist. Be aware of the waves caressing your body, and let them move you.

You gently lay forward into the water and realize that you can breathe and see as naturally as if you are on land. Float, and let the rhythm of the ocean rock you, as you gaze under the surface. See the light of the sun as it breaks through the water and reflects on the ocean's bottom. You are totally relaxed and moving with the water's motion. You are safe. You are supported effortlessly and you stay in this place as long as you desire. You are at peace.

I'm a 49 year-old mother of three children in their twenties. I'm proud to be a Certified Doula with Doulas of North America, and practice in a hospital-based doula program at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut. Joining this profession was one of the best things I've ever done in my life, and my husband has been extremely supportive. I also enjoy anecdotal writing and have managed to combine my passions into creating my own informational website, and one for the hospital as well. In the past year, two of my articles have been published in a quarterly publication for the profession, called the International Doula.

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