Meditation on Maternal Assertiveness – By Virginia Bernal

By | April 20, 2013

Meditation on Maternal Assertiveness Upon the Birth of Her Baby To be read repeatedly in preparation for the birth.

Research-based writing, by Virginia Bernal, IBCLC


This life within me is my child

My body nurtures him, (you can replace with “her”.)

Protects him,

Keeps him warm.

At the time of birth I will still be the best provider

Of warmth,



I will firmly request that my baby be placed on my chest,

To nest here skin to skin,

Here to set his breathing rhythm,

So my baby can best transition to life outside the womb.

In my baby’s first hour I will remember, I am the best provider

Of warmth, Protection, Nutrition.

If a nurse wants to put the baby in a warmer,

I will say,

I will keep my baby warm

Next to my skin, covered with warm blankets.

My chest will respond to baby by getting

Warmer or cooler as baby needs.

My baby’s temperature will be more stable

Being undisturbed, skin to skin with me, his mom.

If a nurse wants to take baby away to weigh and give protective medications,

I will say,

Those procedures can wait an hour or two.

Now my baby needs the protection my body gives:

Protection against the stress of separation,

Protective exposure of his immune system to all my friendly germs,

Protection that will last many years because we grow

Strong bonds of love at this our first acquaintance.

If a nurse wants to feed my baby with a bottle,

I will say,

My body provides the best first food for my baby.

By allowing my baby to rest on my chest till ready to feed,

His blood sugar will be more stable,

My first milk, colostrum, will be more available

Once he starts his first attempts to suckle at my breast.

If a nurse says she must take the baby away because it is hospital policy,

I will remember,

The hospital custom of separating mothers and babies

Is fairly new—of about a hundred years,

And despite good intentions, there is harm in doing so.

But the need of physical closeness,

Of no separation,

Has been the health-giving practice of eons of time.

If a doctor says I am too tired or sleepy due to medications I received,

I will say,

My body has labored so much, it needs

To be rewarded by feeling my baby’s weight upon my chest.

My baby and my tired body do good things for each other.

We need each other to transition to our new life.

If I am too groggy, let my partner watch over us,

Be our protector, his vital role as we grow a family.

If my family members want to hold baby in the first hours after birth,

I will say,

There will be plenty of time for you to enjoy baby.

This first hour is important for baby and me.

We need to be together for baby’s warmth, protection and nurture,

And to grow our love.

If I were to need to birth by way of cesarean surgery,

I will ask,

To have my baby as soon as possible, in the recovery room.

If my baby were to be born with serious problems,

Such as trouble with breathing,

Or severe prematurity,

Then I will resign myself to a delay, till my baby is ready for skin to skin care.

But I will not forget that whatever my baby’s condition,

Vigorous and healthy (the most likely case),

Or needing intensive care (an unlikely event),

I will not forget that my baby is mine,

And providing for his needs will be my priority, my pleasure, and my right.

In my baby’s first hours and days I will be the best provider

Of warmth,



The best provider of Love.

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