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Why the Fuss About Birth and not about the baby?

Babies need to be water with love and patience.

 Why the fuss about birth and not the baby? 

By Sophie Fletcher

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” 

Eckhart Tolle

Recently I was reminded by a friend about the bigger picture.  She said birth is just a small part of the journey we experience as pregnant women. The much bigger part of the experience is what comes after – motherhood. She wondered why women are so focused on the actual birth rather than their baby and suggested that this preoccupation with birth prevents a woman from wholly preparing to be a mother, connecting with her baby on their journey.

There is no doubt that the focus has shifted from having a baby, and the baby themselves, to how the women are going to manage the birth, get the right pushchair, finish the nursery, perhaps moving house (surprisingly common!) or how long their maternity leave is going to be.   In our Mindful Mamma classes at the beginning we ask everyone to spontaneously write on a note the first word that springs to mind when you think of birth, very often baby isn’t in the mix, instead words like pain, control, blood, long and hard work float to the surface from fears harbored in the unconscious.

But the truth of it is that from conception to birth to motherhood is a life creating, life changing, daunting, challenging and absobloodylutely incredible journey. Birth is just a moment, an intense moment, of a period in your life that will bring you highs and lows, tears and laughter, fear and joy.   There is nothing more frightening than a baby making their first wobbly steps near your mother-in-law’s granite fireplace and nothing more wonderful than your baby’s chubby arms loosely clasped around your neck as they fall asleep rhythmically breathing into your ear.   But we don’t dwell on any of these before they happen, we experience those moments as they happen and enjoy them or manage them skillfully in the moment.

Imagine conception as the planting of a seed, the seed growing beneath the surface nurtured by the soil, out of sight but watched expectantly until it breaks through the surface.  The plant continues to grow but from this moment is reliant on the water and sunlight to grow and blossom.   Just as this plant needs water and sunlight your baby needs your love, care and gentle compassion to nourish their emotional well-being and growth.

Motherhood can be a wonderful thing and it can also be a mirror of birth in terms of the emotions.  There is fear, there is sometimes that sense of losing control, and there is joy, happiness, the worry of not knowing what is the right way and wrong way to do it.

Birth is just the beginning, and just like motherhood you can choose to get on and do it and do it your way, intuitively with love, strength and patience.   Your baby’s journey into this world begins at birth, just as your journey into motherhood begins and your partner’s journey into fatherhood begins.

So allow yourself to become aware in this moment of your baby, the core of your being, your connection with each other and how you are moving forward together hand in hand on a new, exciting and eventful journey that will last long after the birth.

Prior to the birth, allow yourself the time to reflect on what type of teacher you want to be, how you want your baby to learn. Being mindful of that responsibility, reflecting and welcoming that role will in turn strengthen and prepare you the birth – the moment that your journey begin and the moment that your flower nudges through the soil and begins to grow into a beautiful blossom cared for and loved by you.

 

 

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Ten Psychological Tips for Coping with a Newborn Baby

You’ve had so much advice, it’s left you reeling in confusion. Every-one else seems to know exactly what you should do, but this doesn’t really help you to feel in control of the tiredness and emotional changes taking place. Here are some psychological tips to help you through those turbulent early days.

1. Never say “I have done nothing today”. You’ve been there for your baby. You’ve been instantly interruptible (probably a new skill for you), and instantly available for soothing, comfort and nutrition. Research shows that soothing and comfort are as powerful for baby’s well being as food.
2. Never strive to be perfect, always good enough. On a bad day, say to yourself “I was good enough, and that is good enough”.
3. On a good day, capture the moment and bank it in your memory. Remember how special you are, to be a mum (don’t try this on a bad day).
4. Gather friends around you – especially ones with little babies too. Any-one else will have forgotten what it’s really like, and it’s the biggest protector against postnatal depression.
5. Never chastise yourself for needing sleep, rest, a break, a night out, a rant, or whatever you need. Find a way to get it, because it will strengthen you and help you be a good enough mum.
6. Being “mindful” is a psychological term which is used to deal with frustration and low mood. It means focusing on what this feels like, now, and moving away from thoughts of later, or tomorrow such as things that need doing. So while you are cuddling your baby, focus on the cuddle, the feel of it, the warmth, the movement as your baby breathes etc. Push away any thoughts of what needs doing and when. Just “be” with the here and now. Practice this for ten minutes each day and you will realize how powerful it is.
7. Prolactin (the mothering hormone) makes you a little more anxious, a little more irritable, and more submissive and loving. So never try to be all giving and all loving – there will have to be some irritability and anxiety thrown in. We’re back to never trying to be perfect!
8. The effects of prolactin, coupled with a striving for perfection may mean that you find it hard to let your partner do his bit with baby. However, if you want him to help you when the baby is older and if you want him to understand why you feel so drained and why the house is in a mess, then start to give him time alone with baby now. How else will he become confident and competent with his baby?
9.
If you begin to feel that you aren’t coping and that you are not okay within yourself, or if others start to tell you so, don’t hesitate to see you GP or Health Visitor, or find a counsellor. Post natal depression passes much quicker with help and support, and no one deserves to feel awful, so why not go and get the support to help yourself through it sooner rather than later.
10.
This isn’t a psychological tip for mum, but it is about baby’s psychology. While I don’t normally advise about what to buy (there isn’t really very much that baby needs), I am going to mention the Tummy Tub for your newborn baby. Here’s why http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hnonw1jZDo