Having a baby in the modern world has changed dramatically to how it used to be a few decades ago. More and more women are in the frontline of high functioning and very demanding jobs. Living in a city like Sydney means more pressures associated with economics of running a home, career growth, a mortgage etc.
The pursuit of starting a family and to fit in pregnancy in the busyness of it all is becoming incredibly stressful for most people. Our constant demanding environments do not allow us much time to centre ourselves and attune to the wonderful experience of pregnancy. We can’t ignore the growing statistics on increase of pre-natal and post-natal anxiety & depression in first time mums and hence pushing us to consider raising babies in this busy world differently.
I commonly hear expecting mums ask me in counselling about how to experience a stress-free pregnancy?
How to look after our own well-being and that of bub in the womb when the going gets tough?
How do we work towards setting up an environment that’s more welcoming for baby, that’s in balance and harmony versus chaos and confusion?
Pregnancy is not only about creating the next generation but it’s also an opportunity for us to become more conscious of how our life is now, who we have become in the process of this journey.
In short, a whole life review and awakening of how our present life is, what are our stressors, what’s making us unhappy, dissatisfied and what our unmet needs. In other words, mindful awareness of our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, values and deeper emotional needs.
Here are a few steps you can do towards experiencing more mindfulness in pregnancy.
Journaling is a great way to practicing mindfulness. You can start journaling by creating a ritual of some quiet time every day for 20-30 minutes at end of the day and reflect on how you have felt through the day.
Pen down experiences that brought more joy, gratitude and what caused more stress and worry. Journaling allows you to acknowledge what you are feeling through the day. This also means you are allowing more presence with your feelings and your inner self.
The next step is becoming more inquisitive about what parts of the day did you need to slow down, show more acceptance or simply let go. Write down steps you need to take for a more mindful calmer day tomorrow.
Acceptance with mindfulness breathing:
A slow breathing exercise of 10-15 minutes will allow more attunement with your body and your baby. Sit in a comfortable position with your hands on your belly.
Slow Deep Breathing allows you to be more present with changes in your body, growing belly, baby’s movements and sensations. All important in connecting with your baby whilst accepting your body as it supports the pregnancy over 9 months.
Self Reflection exercise:
Another helpful exercise you can do with journaling is self reflection on values.
Following are some questions to explore. Involve your partner in reflecting on the same questions too.
- Think about what environment you want to raise your baby?
- What values you wish to live by as a parent and as a family?
- If that’s not happening now, what would need to change?
- What decisions would you need to make now in your life to experience more time for mindful living?
Freedom of choice:
Daily journaling, mindful breathing and self care rituals will also give you more information about what decisions you need to make to move more towards mindful living.
- Is it a decision to cut back on workload?
- Ask for more support around the home?
- Go for a relaxed walk everyday
- Practice meditation
- Spend more time with your partner
- Do you need to go maternity leave earlier if you are dealing with a very difficult pregnancy?
Even in pregnancy you don’t have to do it all and you have the choice to create inner harmony and peace of mind even though the outside world can appear to ask for more. So let’s evolve with the course of Mother Nature and allow your inner self to grow and raise your consciousness towards joyful living.