There has been a huge buzz around all things mindful for a few years now and that term isn’t going anywhere soon!
There are lots of ways you could explain mindfulness. In a nutshell, It is having an awareness of your thoughts and feelings in your body focusing on the present versus dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
As a self-confessed ‘worrier’ I found the state to be heightened in pregnancy with all the crazy hormone changes happening in my body, anxiety about birth and still working myself to the bone so was always looking for ways to help manage this.
Whether we use the word or not, mindfulness is a big part of the practice in pregnancy yoga and also what I teach in Hypnobirthing. Here are just a few of the tips I share with my clients to help them live in the now and make the most of their pregnancy experience.
- Quiet time
Spend time every day, or as often as you like to ‘check in’ with your baby. Ideally in a quiet room with just you and your bump. But hey- I used to do this on the tube so do whatever works for you! Wherever you are, Close down the eyes and focus on your breathing. Share a thought with your baby which could be as simple as ‘hello’ and send them some love. This practice can be extended if you wish to a kindness meditation or Metta Bhavana This is something I personally got a lot of in my pregnancy, particularly making peace with people who pissed me off at work which helped me to stay chilled!
- Focus on the now
It’s super easy to get caught up in the future when you are pregnant. Thinking about the birth, financial worries, returning to work, and what kind of parent you will be as well as all the ‘stuff’ you need. My god the STUFF.
There is a certain amount of practical planning that goes into pregnancy and I actively encourage you to take a good quality antenatal class to prepare you mentally for the birth, and help you make informed choices. That all goes without saying. But it’s easy to get swept away with all the planning and not actually enjoy being pregnant. Yes, there is morning sickness and backache and all the other crappy things that our hormones do to us, but for MOST of us there is a sweet spot in the middle where we feel pretty good, and don’t forget those 9 months of hangover free weekends to make the most of!
- Pregnancy yoga
A good way to bring yourself back into the here and now and getting in your tune with your body. Movement coupled with breath work is a great way to experience the now. What can you hear around you? What can you feel in your body?
Massive bonus, there are a whole other host of benefits that come with pregnancy yoga too! You can check them out on my page here
- Meditation or guided relaxation
If ever there was a time to relax more, it’s pregnancy. Your heart is pumping 50 percent more blood around the body when you are pregnant to support your uterus which means you are effectively jogging even when you sit still!
Mindfulness owes a lot to the practice of meditation. The thing is, meditation can feel quite intimidating the idea of sitting, alone with your thoughts- eeek! If that’s the case for you. Try a guided relaxation instead. There are ones designed especially for you Mamas to be in mind! Try LushTums for some inspiration.
A 20 minute guided relaxation can help you feel super chilled and is as beneficial for the nervous system as 2/3 hours of sleep.
- Prenatal bonding
There’s nothing quite like the moment when you feel your baby for the first time, The time when you know that it definitely wasn’t your lunch! As your pregnancy progresses you may well see and feel hands and feet trying to escape your body in your own Sigourney Weaver type ‘Alien’ moment.
This is your baby saying hello and you can say hello back to them. Playing games, when they tap – tap them back. When you see the foot poking out give your bump a squeeze and so on. There are other ways you can bond with your baby before the birth too. It can be as simple as talking to your bump, singing to them, playing them music anything that brings you into the present and allows you to experience pregnancy with a front row seat rather than watching from the wings
You know I LOVE books
There’s a couple that spring to mind for this particular post.
Mindful Pregnancy and Birth by Riga Forbes
Lots of exercises here to practice through your pregnancy and birth. A good all-rounder.
The Headspace Guide to a Mindful Pregnancy by Andy Puddicome
Yes it’s written by a bloke but put that to one side for a sec cos he is mindfulness expert and that’s the subject at hand here, and also a new dad! Personally, think this book is almost better to read before you get pregnant or very early tips on how to tell your partner for example so if you pick this book in the second or third trimester then some of the content might not be so relevant.
If you would like to know more about mindfulness in pregnancy or experience it first hand. Come along to a Lushtums Yoga class. There are classes springing up all over the UK.
My class is in Leyton In heart of East London so great if you are in Leyton, Walthamstow or Leytonstone and I would absolutely LOVE to have you there!