Birth Soundtrack The Power of Music in Childbirth
For the birth of my second child, David and I decided to "take the plunge" and have the baby at home. At the birth of my first child, my dad brought some music that really made a difference, so I went about the business of creating playlists on my new iPod. At the time I had no idea how much music made a difference in creating a mood and helping me through some really tough spots in childbirth labor.
After going through what seemed like a million songs, I came up with 4 playlists. The first playlist entitled "Meditation" was filled with soothing rhythms that helped me to relax....lots of jazz, love songs, and even some of those new aged meditation songs with names like "Serenity", you know the kind you get from the yoga aisle at Target.
The big day finally comes- in the middle of the night- and we get to work. The music works like a charm! I found that I was able to get in the zone much easier and faster because of the music. It also worked to alert the Birthing Team how to enter the room. For instance when I had the Meditation music playing, everyone entered the room quietly and spoke softly, whereas during the Hips Movin jam session we almost got a Soul Train line going.
The music also inspired members of the Birthing Team to get more involved. As we rounded the 7th hour of my perfect 4 hour birth I got a little discouraged. So we decided to take a break from the music for a while and we sent everyone out of the room except David and our Doula. As David and I grew weary our Doula started to sing a traditional African song that rested easy on my ears like a mother's lullaby. The sound of her voice singing gave me so much comfort it renewed my will to press on.
Recipe of the Month
African Bean Soup
Makes about 12 cups;
3 Tbsp margarine or salted butter
2 cups carrots thinly sliced
12 cups boiling water
1 cup black eye peas dry
1 cup navy beans dry
1 cup green pepper diced
3 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup salted peanuts chopped (&/or 12 oz jar of peanut butter (better with natural pb without sugar)
3 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp basil leaves crushed
1 Tbsp ground coriander
4 cloves garlic
1. Melt margarine in large stock pot.
2. Add carrots. Cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add water, black eyed peas, navy beans, green pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper (add more water, if necessary, to cover).
4. Cook, covered, until ingredients are tender, 1 1/2-2 hours.
5. Add peanuts, onion powder, garlic, basil, and coriander during last 10-15 minutes of cooking.
6. Taste to correct seasonings. Soup should be thick. Between soup and stew.
NOTES: If you want more of a peanut flavor, add peanut butter during step 5.
This dish does well in a crock pot- just add all ingredients at once, and cook on low all day (6-8 hours) or until the beans are tender. Dish goes well with couscous or Quinoa
For extra protein you can add diced chicken thighs (about 4) or diced lean sirloin during step 3.