Pregnancy is often an eye-opening experience. So many new feelings and sensations make it an excellent time to try new comfort measures and coping methods that you may not have been interested in before now.
For instance, nausea may open your eyes to the possibility of acupuncture. Restless nights with new body discomfort may make the start of a simple yoga practice a welcome release.
As your doulas, we know your pregnancy experience is unique and special, and your birth unlike any to come before you. We also know that we carry on a tradition as wise women and respect all options for comfort through this time.
When looking in from the outside, doulas are often stereotyped as woo-woo hippy birth whisperers. While that is not a requirement of the profession, depending on your personal comfort and history with meditation and visualization, connectedness, and energy work, it may be the perfect description for us!
So today we're going to share some of the woo, and you are free to take what you need and leave the rest.
WHEN TO WORK THE WOO
Meditation is defined as, "a written or spoken discourse expressing considered thoughts on a subject." Meaning it is an exploration. It can be silent, or it can be spoken aloud. It can be short or long.
Meditation is a practice of training your mind to focus and redirect thoughts and to bring awareness to our surroundings and ourselves. It has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.
When you are pregnant, you can be inundated with new worries, new sensations, and new responsibilities. Medication for even 10 minutes a day may be a simple way to explore the transition you are in and connect with the reality that you are enough, as you are, to care and nurture the human inside you.
There are recordings readily available online to begin a home meditation practice if this is appealing to you!
Close to meditation, mindfulness is a "woo" practice of being aware of your body, and how you are connected to the world around you.
Grounding is an exercise often used and is very simple to start. Let's try it:
Where you are now, as you read this, notice your shoulders and back, and take a deep breath into your lungs. Notice how you settle back into your seat and the feel of the chair under you. Place your hands with palms up and feel the small tingles of the blood flowing out and back to your heart, over and over. Follow your body down and focus on your feet. Place them square with your shoulders, and feel the connectedness they have with the floor beneath them. Feel how sturdy they are, and imagine your feet being rooted into the floor beneath you. Take a deep breath and imagine a stream of energy entering into the top of your head, and flowing through you all the way down to your toes. Visualize your body filtering the energy and see the connectedness you have with the space around you.
That is one example of grounding. You can also physically connect your self with the ground, and root your feet to the closest patch of earth. But because in this weather!
Grounding is a valuable tool as it can take place in any location, at any time, silently, or vocally. It can be as simple as a deep breath. Or as a systematic check in with each part of your body.
Yoga has become so popular and mainstream that you may not consider this "woo" at all! But just like mindfulness, yoga is the practice of connecting your mind to your body. It also has the added benefit of movement and breath focus.
Some benefits of yoga as shared by Mindbodygreen.com:
Develop body awareness
Learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way
Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement
Increase their confidence and positive self-image
Feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group
Have an alternative to tuning out through constant attachment to electronic devices
Yoga can happen as a planned class in a studio, or in your home on your bedroom floor or family room. It progresses with you as you need it to, and perfection is not required or even encouraged. The joy of yoga is the practice and the experiences from each breath and focused movement.
Without having tried acupuncture before pregnancy, many may be hesitant to start at this time. However, under the care of a trained professional, acupuncture may help during pregnancy with:
High/low blood pressure
Migraine and other headaches
Pelvic pain (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)
Acupuncture, when a part of pregnancy care, may also help reduce swelling, and aid in aligning your baby for birth. Acupressure and acupuncture have also helped with inducing contractions or boosting a person's energy who is working through labor.
Acupuncture can happen where ever the practitioner is able to join you. Most have clinics or office hours. Some may have the ability to travel to you.
MIND BODY CONNECTION
There are of course many other “woo” practices that can be discussed, but for today, we focus on the mind and body connection. Each of the items above can help one learn the landscape of a growing pregnant body. Birth, both vaginal birth and surgical, are moments that can bring you into unknown parts of yourself. Having started a practice of mental awareness can be extremely beneficial for immediate release, and as a mind strengthening tool - of which birth and parenting will continue to give you practice using.
We invite you to explore yourself and your inner thoughts, fears, and desires through your pregnancy.
What “woo woo” practice have you started to explore that was new upon becoming pregnant?