For those of you who don’t know me I want you to know that even though I have a musical background… I am NOT an amazing singer. I have never been taught how to sing and I have never had to sing for an audience (thank goodness). I put myself in the category of ”normal person just wanting to sing”.
Why do I want you to know this?
Soundbirth’s tagline is “Sing Your Baby To You”…which I have noticed freaks people right out! They might think…”I can’t sing so there’s no point in me doing the Soundbirth thing”. Or “It’s alright for those people who CAN sing”. Or “There’s NO WAY I’m going to sing around my kids! They’ll all runaway!” I have heard these words come out of people’s mouths a number of times now…and I feel sad every time I hear it…
Most people these days think that to “be able to sing” means you have to be a singer on stage or on TV. And if you’re not doing that, you are NOT a “singer”.
Well stuff that! I believe you are ALL singers! Even my first boyfriend who was “tone deaf” would enjoy singing along with his Metallica albums! So he is also a “singer”! If he can do it so can you!
If you have kids or about to have a baby you really can’t afford to NOT sing. There are SO many benefits that definitely outweigh the limiting beliefs you may have about your voice.
Try singing out for yourself!
Notice what a difference singing makes to your level of happiness, to your energy levels and to your connection with your children by making the choice to sing everyday! Who cares what those around you think of your voice! Their reaction is their problem… (you may even be surprised to find out that they ENJOY hearing you sing!) This is about YOU! It is a nurturing thing to do for yourself…and it’s FREE!!! But you will only find this out if you DO IT.
Tips for those who think they can’t sing!
Sing like a bird…and you’ll feel as free as a bird!
The Crystal Singing Bowl is a sacred sound tool that is similar to the ancient Tibetan singing bowls. They are made from 99% quartz crystal and the sound they make is pure and resonant. They come in a variety of different sizes creating high and low pitched sounds. These bowls are normally used for "sound baths" (I call my sound bath's "Sound Nutrition Sessions" just to be different!) which assist people in becoming more relaxed and energised. They are now being used at home and hospital births by SoundBirth Practitioners and / or the birthing woman’s partner.
Here are some of the benefits of choosing to use a crystal singing bowl at your birth.
So get out your birth plan now and add: "I want the crystal singing bowl to be played by my partner or SoundBirth Practitioner throughout each and every contraction."
How do you sneeze?
What sounds do you make when you sneeze, yawn, stub your toe, cry, laugh, scream with anger? Do you express these sounds differently depending on who is in your presence? For example your kids, your mother-in-law, your best friend, your co-workers, a group of strangers, your lover. How do you censor these sounds? Why do you censor them? What thoughts in your head are telling you to be quiet, to hide, to be small, to squash down your life-force energy, to basically lie!
Find Your Authentic Voice
The first time I deeply realised how much I had been squashing down my True Self for most of my life was at a life transforming workshop called Realtime Speaking with Robert Rabbin in 2007. I cried and cried for the entire two days. I couldn’t believe how afraid I was to say my truth, to speak up, to be authentic in front of the seven other participants. I cried for all of the parts of myself I had disowned in fear that I would be rejected if I let others see them. I cried for all the people who have also been squashing down their aliveness for so long just to fit in, be accepted, be “loved”. I knew I had to let go and reveal myself to feel free yet I was afraid …and still am sometimes. Why? Because if I revealed my real voice, my actual thoughts and feelings, what if people stop liking me? What if they don’t accept me? What if I am laughed at? Ridiculed? I would be alone. This was the fear. But the other option of staying the same, of holding back my truth, of staying stuck was MORE painful and just not an option anymore. It was time to change and I was ready to take the plunge.
“We all have a true voice within us, a fiery fearless voice that tells us how to live fully and authentically. Finding our true voice and choosing to speak with that voice brings us to a state of grace.”
Play with Life
Since then I have been seeing life more as a playground which has given me permission to not take life so seriously and definitely not to take anyone else’s opinions of me seriously. What is more important now is how I move and express myself in each and every moment. Is what I say and do in alignment with ME or is what I say and do in alignment with my kids, my friends, my husband, mother, society? I have found that when I live from this authentic place life flows beautifully…without the dramas, the frustrations, resentments, the PAIN!
Powerful and Natural Pain Relief
How is this related to birth? Well, if you are censoring your sound in any way for any reason during those contractions you are creating tension in your body somewhere. Sound unexpressed is repression. This holding back will cause more pain.
“Sound releases pain from the body. Silence locks energy into the body” Wayne Perry
This is why toning is such a beneficial pain relief tool during labour. It is a focused and gentle way of releasing sound and therefore pain. It is also a powerful way to start expressing your true sound your true authentic Self. It is only when you are being authentic that you feel truly alive and free. Giving birth is no time to hold back anything! It is time to let go of any old beliefs that hold you back and enjoy the ride. What an awesome opportunity to birth not only your baby but your Self! Birth is a time for transformation on so many levels. Enjoy! Be Naked! Be real! Be fully alive!
Here are 3 tips to expressing your sounds FULLY during your labour:
Your baby was musical before he/she was even born…so were you! Here are some tips on how to nurture their natural musical gifts.
1. Acknowledge their natural musicality
Notice and imitate your baby and toddler’s sounds. If they babble, you babble back. If they bang a box with their hands squealing with delight, copy them. If they bop up and down to music, bop with them! If they want to spend time blowing raspberries on you belly – let them! Entering their sound world encourages them to express themselves, which naturally leads to speaking, singing and playing instruments.
Sing to your baby before they are born. Sing them to sleep after they are born. As they become more aware of things around them, like the moon, the dog, the cat, bananas, flowers and so on, sing nursery rhymes or made up songs about them. Sing for your own enjoyment in the kitchen, in the car, in the shower. Let them see YOU singing and loving it!
When you play your favourite music place your baby in your sling if you have one or carry him/her on your hip and GO FOR IT! Your baby will love the movement combined with the rhythms they can hear. Dancing is fun and energising and therefore a beautiful way to bond with your child. If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, depressed or frustrated this is the perfect time to get up and dance. You and your baby will experience directly the power of music as you transform into a more present, happier state of being.
4. Play an Instrument
Choose a simple instrument such as a drum, ukulele, Gasong Drum, native american flute. dream harp or crystal singing bowl. These are ALL easy to play and great ways to express yourself musically. If you want to go a step further learn the piano – I always recommend the Simply Music program – or another instrument you may have always wanted to play. It’s NEVER too late to learn! This will have a profound impact on your child’s musical confidence as they will see YOU expressing yourself musically. Playing music will then be “normal” in their mind. By the way, there is no need to be a concert pianist or expert drummer…all that is necessary is that you play an instrument for the sheer enjoyment of creating music!
5. Listen to Music
Listen to music in the kitchen as you cook, in the loungeroom to relax, when you are putting baby to sleep, in the car. Vary the music so your child has the experience of hearing the smorgesbord of music that has been created in this world so far – classical, rock, blues, indian, country and western, new age… Make sure it is music YOU enjoy. At the same time notice what reactions your baby has to the different music. What do they like? If they are content and happy they like it. If they start to squirm and cry try something different. The main idea is that listening to music is a part of your daily life.
When YOU enjoy singing, dancing, playing and listening to music your baby will naturally grow into a child and adult who uses music to express themselves and enrich their everyday lives.
SoundBirth is about “Singing Your Baby to You” before, during and after the birth on ALL levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
I believe that the most important part of our job as a Mother is to build and maintain an emotional connection with your child. The more connected or “attached” you are the more you are able to “read” and meet the everchanging needs of your growing child. This leads to a happy and content baby and a fulfilling mothering experience.
Dr Sears describes this connection beautifully when he writes,
Attachment means that a mother and baby are in harmony with each other. Being in harmony with your baby is one of the most fulfilling feelings a mother can ever hope to have. Watch a mother and baby who are attached (in harmony) with each other. When the baby gives a cue, such as crying or facial expressions, signifying a need, the mother, because she is open to the baby’s cues, responds.
Using music and sound during pregnancy, birth and on your parenting journey are powerful tools to use to build the bond that both you and your baby need.
Sing Your Baby to You During Pregnancy
Dr Tomatis found in his research about sound and babies in utero that they can hear their mothers voice from four and a half months before they are born. Singing combined with being aware that your baby can hear you is a beautiful way to connect during pregnancy. You can sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing in the kitchen and sing in the garden. The more you sing the better you feel and the more familiar your voice will become to your baby. Making up your own words about how you feel towards your baby or about the dreams you have after s/he is born can make the song you sing even more powerful and connecting. It may even bring tears of joy to your eyes as you sing. The song you make up may also be a great sound tool you will use to connect for many years to come.
Sing Your Baby to You During Labour
Singing or toning during labour assists to bring your baby from his/her cozy little space inside you into your loving arms. There are many benefits of toning during labour such as giving more oxygen to you and baby as you take fuller breaths; the vibration of the sound relaxes and energises you; the sound of your voice combined with the sound of the crystal bowl help you to focus and put you in the “zone”; and it helps you to express and release pain. All of these assist you in riding the waves of your contractions, staying present and strong so you can birth your baby the way your body already knows how.
Sing Your Baby to You After the Birth
You have birthed your baby. The umbilical cord is cut. Now s/he is in your arms sometimes content and other times crying and unsettled. After trying to meet all of his/her needs (feeding, changing, making them comfortable etc) I have found that the next best cure for an unsettled baby is movement and hearing the familiar sound of your voice.
Nothing is as pleasingly stimulating to your baby’s brand new ears and growing neuronal network as your own voice – no matter what your friends and relatives think of it!
So sing your “Heart Song” or another song you may have sung during pregnancy. You could also make up a chant as you pace with your baby or feed your baby. Or choose gentle music that you can sing along with. I have found that putting on the same music track every time I was trying to settle my baby and singing along too helped as the baby soon recognised the song and connected it to being settled or sleeping. I also used the same song in the car when baby was crying or trying to sleep. It has now become their special song that brings me straight back to when they were a baby.
Remember that YOUR VOICE is the most soothing, powerful, beautiful, simple and nurturing way to connect with your child no matter how young or old they are. Singing will create an invisible cord of connection between your souls that will last forever!
SING SING SING!
Nicole Lloyd B(Mus) is a mother of four girls and creator of SoundBirth. Here she shares her experiences using sound before, during and after the birth and anything else about sound or birth that she feels like writing about!