A Mindful Pregnancy and Birth
It feels as though mindfulness is everywhere at the minute. You can’t really get away from it, can you? But the thing is, as this sceptic discovered, it makes a difference! I know it made a big difference to me and my stress levels earlier this year. Taking even a small time out to focus on your breathing can make all the difference in the world. I guess I’ve always had a bit of mindfulness in my life, as I’ve been practicing yoga since I was about 12, and mindfulness and paying close attention to your body and movement is a big part of that. But now I’m incorporating it more into my life, and thought it might be something I could use right about now. A mindful pregnancy and birth sounds like a wonderful thing to aim for.
I looked around online for ages to find something that would help me achieve this. The thing I came across time and again in the UK was hypnobirthing, but that just didn’t seem like the right fit for me. Then I found Mindful Birthing, an American book that seemed to fit the bill. There aren’t many UK reviews, but the ones on there are very good, but the US reviews are pretty amazing, with people saying that it hugely helped them to manage their stress and their pain around the birth.
Obviously, I can’t really review the book yet, because, well, I haven’t gone through anything yet so who knows if it will actually help me manage pain during my labour BUT what I can say is that just by reading it I felt calmer and a bit more in control of the birth. You can’t control everything that happens to you on the day but you can control how you react to the situations that arise, and a programme that aims to help you deal with whatever comes your way is surely a good thing!
As well as an 8 week mindfulness programme, early stages of which are very similar to the early stages of the Mindfulness course I followed earlier this year, there are lots of stories from the author about the people who have taken part in her classes – how they reacted to each stage of the course, how it helped them deal with difficult situations that arose during pregnancy, how it helped them be more open and communicative with their partners and of course, their birth stories. They all sounded a little bit on the hippy side, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get Peter to take part in the joint meditations as they did, but they also were really nice stories to read and a nice inclusion.
Does anyone know anyone who’s used these techniques during pregnancy and birth? Did they have much luck? Do they have any advice? Suggestions and help is very welcome!