Words by Sophie
We are fast approaching the festive season and it is so easy, even when not expecting a baby, to get extremely stressed and anxious. The pressure we put on ourselves to buy gifts for everyone, make the best, most decadent food, clean our houses from top to bottom (even under the sofa cushions and behind things that haven’t been moved all year) is HUGE. By the time the big day finally arrives we are totally knackered, worn out and pretty much bankrupt!
All this can be made a 1000 times worse when coupled with all the stresses and worries that come with pregnancy. Putting aside the fact that you are already pretty stretched energy wise due to growing a new human from scratch, you also have to think about planning, preparing and sorting for when your little one puts in an appearance.
Those of you who are due over the Christmas period (like me last year so I can totally relate) also have the anticipation that baby will be here sooner, rather than later and so the prep must ramp up if it is all to be done in time. I remember clearly that feeling and I am so grateful that I had my Hypnobirthing training to kick me into relax mode. Please listen to your body. Yes we nest, yes we do need to do some preparation, this is natural and a healthy instinct that we have to help prepare our perfect birth place BUT it should end there.
Treat this time like any other time of year, take steps away from the stress and pressure of the season. I am sure you have a whole team of people, be it family, friends or (if we can afford it) hired help who can help you out.
I've been reflecting now upon how I felt this time last year at 37 weeks pregnant and I have put together some tips to help you to find the time to sit down, breath and relax.
- Attend a Hypnobirthing or birth preparation course - Our antenatal courses take you through the ins and outs of your birthing body. We tell you all you need to know (and all you never knew you needed to know) about what will happen on the day of your baby’s birth so that you will feel in control and listened too. We educate, reflect on past experiences, and reframe birth so that you no longer fear birth but look forward to it with calm confidence. You will learn Hypnobirthing techniques; relaxations, breathing, affirmations and deepening that add to your body’s natural birthing toolkit and help you to have a calm and gentle birth.
- Give yourself some time each day just for YOU - This is very important, even if you have other children (and maybe even more so then). Take this time to do things that you love. Enjoy this time and make sure you have it every day. Invest this time in yourself, no matter how busy you are. Even if it is just a bath, or a yoga DVD. Do it! It will make the world of difference to your wellbeing.
- Practice your breathing - Making sure you have this time set aside to practice your breathing techniques for a few minutes each morning and night. This is wonderful for putting you in the right headspace for the day and to help you to sleep far better at night. (note to yourself: make sure you have enough sleep each night too!) You can couple this with positive affirmations or just think of happy, positive things. This practice will also ensure that you are ready and a bit more prepared when it is time to birth your baby.
- Use your husband/partner/birth companion - Get your partner to practice relaxing and breathing with you, or add massage to soothe you even further. It can be a lovely bonding experience together AND result in Dad being relaxed too! Dad, or your birthing partner, can work with you help you nest and prepare things for your birth environment, wherever you plan to birth your baby. This will ensure that you feel more prepared without wearing yourself out by doing this solo.
- Change your plans - This seems obvious but I think, and especially at this time of the year, it is so hard to say no to things. You get given a million invitations, get lumbered with cooking for the masses or even just Christmas shopping can be the stuff of nightmares. This all adds unnecessary stress as everyone can either do without your input for one year or someone else can do it! You are doing a far better and more important job at this very moment: growing your baby. Take everything else out of the equation. Get your partner to shop (or use the magic of online shopping which is vital to my sanity now), your family to cook and your friends will not mind it if you do not come to the parties. There is plenty of time for all of this after your baby is born.
- Accept help - I know I find this very hard and I think it is down to the British ‘I’m fine’ syndrome. Think about it from the other point of view for a second. If your loved one was having a hard, stressful, or busy time you would be so happy to help in any way that you could and this is how your family and friends feel too! Asking for help does not mean that you are failing or that you can’t cope. It really does take a village! Build up that tribe and support system around you now and this will help so much when your baby is here too!
- Take it slow - Finally, slow down, rest when you can, even when you feel that you can’t and have so much to do. Especially if you are in the final weeks or days of your pregnancy. In Germany, they have a word, ‘zwischen’, which translates as ‘in between’. Jana Studelska, a Midwife uses this word in the context of birth. This time of in between, before you become a new mother is so important and really undervalued. Applying this name allows the last stages of pregnancy to take on a new more positive meaning. Really this time of in between could be applied to the whole of pregnancy. Your old self is growing and changing to make way for your new layer of identity: Motherhood.
Use these daily rituals and the advice given to stay in tune to the wonders that are going on in within your body. You truly are wonderful and nature knows exactly what to do. Your body is creating new life and when the time is right for both you, and your baby, if you have been relaxed and reflective and have educated yourself then you will birth your baby calmly and gently.
If you are interested to know more about what Hypnobirthing is and how we can help you, have any other questions or want to book on one of our courses then you can find us on Facebook as Kent Hypnobirthing or you can find our contact details on our website www.kenthypnobirthing.com!