Affirmations and Appreciation

By Barbara Hanrahan – Nursing sister, midwife, childbirth educator

We live in a busy world facing many demands on our time. So often we forget to tell the most precious people we love and appreciate them. Imagine what can happen if we consciously develop an attitude of affirmation and appreciation, telling people they are important, have done something nice ……

Write some affirmations for labour. Mom, take half a dozen index cards and thick pens – write one positive message per card, to yourself for motivation during labour. For example “My body is strong”. These cards can be put up on the wall near you when in labour. Thus you get flash bulb messages of affirmation that you identify with during labour.

Dad, get one card and a pen and write about 10 affirming messages that you might say to your labouring partner.

Now, as a couple, start using an attitude of affirmation and appreciation with your partner for the rest of your pregnancy. Thus affirmations become part of your daily vocabulary and get easier and easier to call to mind with practice. Counter acting a lot of negativity that breeds in the hectic world around us.

As your relationship with your partner changes and your lives change, particularly as children are added to the family, it is possible to feel disconnected and invisible to each other. A focus on expressing appreciation to your partner can be a valuable tool for rebuilding and strengthening the couple relationship.

Try some of these techniques for sharing appreciation :

  1. Five minute writing : what I appreciate about my partner. Set a timer for five minutes. Pour out all the appreciation you haven’t had time to share. Give your list to your partner to have and to hold.
  2. Appreciation post-its : have pens and post it notes scattered around your house. Every time you think of something you appreciate about your partner or about life in general – write it on a note. Stick it up somewhere that you’ll both see and be reminded about it.
  3. Appreciation interview : interview your partner to find out how he most likes to be appreciated. Physical touch? Written notes? Verbal praise? Quiet time together? Gifts? Then some time that day give your partner an appreciation using that “language” to communicate it.
  4. Weekly letter : Once a week set aside time to snuggle over a coffee and an edible treat. During the week, make a list of everything you have to celebrate from your week – accomplishments, happy moments you shared, health of the baby or children, clean kitchen counters, anything that gave you satisfaction or joy. During the weekly snuggle time – read your lists to each other. Keep these lists for a quick pick me up when you feel down or defeated.
  5. Exchanging affirmations. Sit facing each other. One partner goes first, completing the sentence “Something I appreciate about you is ….” The receiver lets this sink in and then says “thank you”. The receiver should not interrupt, laugh or dismiss anything that pushes away the gift of appreciation. Just take it in and receive it as an expression of their love. Switch roles and repeat.
  6. Sentence starters : If you have a hard time thinking of what to say, here are some ideas to get you started :
  • One unique quality you have that I appreciate is …..
  • Something you did today that made my life easier….
  • I appreciate the way you create beauty in our lives by…..
  • I appreciate the way you have helped me grow by……
  • One positive aspect of my life today is ……
  • One thing you do that I appreciate, but often take for granted is….
  • I feel loved when you …..
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