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by Libby Zandbergen, BWI ACED certification student

Your Are the Placebo, by Dr. Joe Dispenza, is a thought-provoking book that explores the transformative power of the human mind in affecting physical and mental states. While the book doesn’t specifically focus on childbirth, its principles can be incredibly beneficial for empowering mothers and influencing positive birthing experiences, especially concerning self-empowerment, mental conditioning, and the power of belief to influence outcomes.

The Power of Beliefs and the Placebo Effect

One of the most inspiring aspects of Dr. Dispenza’s book is its detailed look at how our subconscious minds have the power to influence our physical reality. He provides compelling evidence and real-life examples to illustrate this phenomenon. For instance, one of the case studies involved individuals who underwent fake knee surgeries but believed they had received a real procedure. Surprisingly, they showed significant improvement, just like those who had undergone actual surgeries. This shows the power of the placebo effect—how a simple change in belief can lead to tangible changes in one’s physical condition.

Changing Subconscious Beliefs about Birth is Key 

In the realm of birth education and doula work, understanding the mind’s impact on physical states is highly valuable. The book focuses heavily on activating the subconscious mind and changing thought patterns to bring about physiological changes. These insights open doors to a holistic approach to childbirth, an experience often laden with societal fears about pain, danger, and life-threatening risks.

In my role as a doula and childbirth educator, I can use these insights to help mothers tap into their subconscious to alter their perceptions about childbirth. Imagine transitioning from a mindset that views childbirth as a dangerous, painful ordeal to one that sees it as a natural, empowering process that the female body is perfectly designed for. This shift in mindset could lead to lower stress levels, affect hormone balances, and possibly even influence the dilation of the cervix, making the entire birthing process smoother and more aligned with the natural capabilities of the woman’s body.

Meditation is Powerful to Prepare New Mothers for Birth 

Dr. Dispenza emphasizes the transformative power of meditation in reaching the subconscious mind. As a birth educator and doula, I can create meditation sessions that focus on visualizing positive birthing experiences, replacing fear-based beliefs with affirmations of strength, capability, and natural physiological processes. Guided meditations can serve as a tool for mothers to practice reframing their mindset about childbirth in a safe, controlled environment, effectively preparing them mentally and emotionally for the experience ahead. Through regular practice, these meditations can help to cultivate a sense of empowerment and can potentially have physiological benefits, such as reduced stress levels and a more relaxed state, which are conducive for a smoother, more natural birthing process.

I would recommend You Are the Placebo to anyone who is interested in changing their life! While this book may not be for every birthing family due to its dense material, the underlying principles it discusses can be practically applied to create a more empowering and positive birth experience for the mothers I serve.

Libby lives in the South Island of New Zealand outside of Christchurch. She is currently a student in the BWI ACED certification program. (Here is a video of her sharing about her experience.) She chose to certify with BirthWorks due to its unique “human values approach to birth that encourages personal growth through integration of the mind, body and spirit” which speaks to her heart. She believes birth is a process of transformation and with every birth comes an opportunity to evolve as a person. She wants to “help women have more trust and faith in their body knowledge that already knows how to give birth”. After reading through the certification process, she said, “I’m glad I chose BirthWorks, as all the topics and assignments will equip me with a rich depth of knowledge and skills. I love that BirthWorks offers an evidenced-based approach that is also spiritual, as I want to learn how to serve and empower women in a holistic, emotionally sensitive sense.” She had a home birth with her son, Taika, in Governors Bay, NZ on 2 July 2021 and writes, “It was a truly euphoric experience!”