Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness is a quality that everyone already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it.
When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.
Make listening to music, dancing, and singing a regular part of your pregnancy. It helps tune both mom and baby’s bodies. Music has been shown to reduce anxiety, heart rate, and respiratory rate. It also decreases stress hormone levels, boosts natural opiates, relaxes birthing women, and has beneficial effects on the physiology and behavior of the newborn, including contributing positively to weight gain in both normal-weight and premature babies.
Take advantage of your emotional porousness. Use birth affirmations regularly during your entire pregnancy to help you program your body and mind for optimal birth. You may be surprised at your mind body connection.
Put affirmations all around your environment—your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, Bible, journal, and your phone/tablet lock screens—to remind you of your birthing power. Say them out loud or in your head regularly. Write them down repeatedly. Let the power of your emotions and thoughts do its magic with your body. Stay positive!
Studies have shown mindfulness training addresses fear, anxieties, and comfort level during childbirth can improve women’s childbirth experiences and reduce their depression symptoms during pregnancy and the early postpartum period.
One author of a study, Larissa G. Duncan, says, “A mindfulness approach offers the possibility of decreasing the need for these medications and can reach women who may not know they are at risk for perinatal depression or can’t access mental health services,” Duncan says.
Nancy Bardacke, another author of the study, believes, “The encouraging results of this small study point to the possibility that mindfulness skills can transform the way expectant parents prepare for this profound life change. In addition to supporting moms and babies, we may also be benefiting fathers, who are themselves experiencing the birth of their child and becoming parents. While more research is clearly needed, the larger public health implications of this work are motivating.”
Stay positive even when life seems to have fallen apart *ahem COVID*. Practice your mindful connection, visualize your perfect birth and lets make it happen.