Edie's Birth

Hi Sophie..

Baby Edie Lillian Carr was born at home on Wednesday at 5.50pm, weighing 8lbs 2oz.

We've had a very eventful few days but Edie is doing great and I'm feeling really good. I did have to go to hospital not long after the birth for tearing and a bit of blood loss but was only in for about 12 hours. Our refresher session with you was perfectly timed and we've just been reflecting on it all.. Thank you for everything!!

Our little girl was born just a few days after we had our refresher session with Sophie. We had decided on a home birth a few weeks before we saw Sophie and her help and support was invaluable. Sophie tailored our session to suit our needs and she made us feel confident, calm and empowered by our choice.

My husband had a few reservations and concerns about home birthing and with Sophie's knowledge and experience she was able to put his mind at rest. I had a pretty difficult recovery from the birth or our first daughter and Sophie addressed my fears around that, which allowed me to focus positively on the birth of my next baby.

I had a very straight forward home birth and was able to use the hypnobirthing techniques the whole way through. The only unplanned thing was my 3 year old daughter being present for the arrival of her baby sister, which was really special. I wish every pregnant woman could have their own Sophie.

Xx

Edie Carr x

Edie Carr x

Sophie Burch
Mindfulness Exercise for Childbirth

Here’s a simple mindfulness exercise that I wrote for my clients:

This exercise is designed to increase awareness of breathing, triggering the para-sympathetic nervous system (inner calm), enabling a labouring mother to endure the physical sensations of labour and cope better with challenges or changes as or when they occur.

For Birth



To start, bring your attention to your breath and see if you can observe the breath despite any other distracting sensations in your body. Focus on the passage the breath takes as it enters your nose, travelling through to your lungs, and then the path through from your chest, your throat and your mouth as you exhale. On the next inhale, notice if the air feels cool or fresh as you breath in and how your ribcage expands, then follow it’s warm passage when leaving your body and your diaphragm drops down into your belly. 



Take a few more conscious breaths, focusing on the natural rhythm your body sets as you trigger your natural calm and oxygenate every cell and muscle in your body, allowing you to relax a little more.  Breathing In, pausing a moment and breathing out. Noticing the pauses between each inhalation and exhalation. A brief moment of stillness between each breath, bringing your attention to each moment. Being present in your breath. Not trying to change how you breathe, not judging how you breathe, but being pleasantly aware of each breath and the calming, relaxation it gives your mind and your body. A focus in this moment, of life-giving, soothing breath.  Allowing yourself to remain focused on the breath and knowing that by doing this, you are in control. You are calming, softening and relaxing into every moment. Every sensation your body brings is softened into because of your breath and how you are consciously choosing to be mindful of your breath. 



Give yourself permission to direct your attention back to your breath if your mind wanders or you find yourself fixating on any distracting sensations. With kindness and self compassion you  are able to choose to return to your breathing again and again as many times as you need. Counting each breath. Bringing your mind and body into balance simply by choosing to notice how you breathe.  Where you breathe. And what you feel when you breathe. See if you can direct the breath into any physical sensations you feel. Using your breath as a calming anchor. Stilling you, rooting and grounding you gently into the moment.  Moment by moment. Slowing your mind down, almost going into it frame by frame. Knowing that by breathing this way you are filling your body with the oxygen it needs to calm, soften and nourish you and your baby. Naturally letting go of any tension and distancing from any thoughts you may notice. They are just thoughts. Observing, instead of absorbing. Stepping back. Watching. Waiting until it all fades away. Then choosing to focus on the breath again. Embracing every sensation. Not trying to fight it or change it in any way.  Accepting that your body is functioning the only way it knows how and that’s okay. Grateful for your body and accepting this process as normal, in this moment. Scan your body and see if you can notice other sensations. Normal sensations such as how your shoulders feel and let them loosen if you notice any tension. Your jaw. Your neck. Your arms and your hands. 



Allowing a little smile as you acknowledge how it feels to just be in the moment. Not in  the past. Not in the future. Simply here. Right now. Calm. Body softening. Mind still. 



Now open your eyes and be aware of your surroundings. Pressing “Pause” on the world around you as you take time to notice all that you can see; all the colours, the textures, the shapes. Take your time.  Softening into the experience. With no judgement, Bring your focus onto one thing in particular and really look at it, as if you’re seeing it for the first time. What does it really look like? Hard? Soft? Shiny? Curved? Straight? Allow your focus to soften into what you see. Close your eyes again if you feel the desire to.



Now sense what you can hear.  Where are those sounds coming from? Are there varying tones within the sound? Louder? Softer? Higher? Lower?   Is it familiar to you? Accepting it all in this moment, as it is. Breathe it in. Notice where you are in every sensory detail… saying to yourself “May I be safe, May I be Calm, May I be balanced, May I be still”



Thank you for taking the time to do this exercise and well done for taking time for yourself.  Continue to use this technique as many times as you need throughout your childbirth and at any other time you need to find your inner calm, balance and peace.



You are Enough
You will always be enough

You will always be enough

How often do we hear this phrase said to us?  Weekly? Daily? Or not very often? Maybe never?  How about saying it to yourself? How often do you allow yourself to reflect on this, giving yourself the reassurance of knowing that you really are enough?  Society rules that we constantly strive to be a “better version” or “our best version” of ourselves, and this is brain-washed into us all from the moment we go to school, but what happened to just being content with who, what, where and how we are? If we are always striving to accomplish and achieve, then that carrot will forever be dangling and we may never understand or feel that we are enough.


So if we think about how little we say this to ourselves (unless you are a rare breed who cottoned-on to it years ago), then it’s worth wondering how we manage when we are at our most vulnerable; in pregnancy, birth and our 4th Trimester or parenting for instance.


Finding out we are pregnant brings about a wide range of emotions and is a unique experience for everyone.  We go from feeling immense elation to intense fear and all the rest in between. If the pregnancy is something you’ve been desiring, then you will have gone some way in your mind to “preparing” for the process of pregnancy and hopefully with a healthy baby at the end of it.  But even then, you may have doubts that it’s the “right time”, or if you have a career, if you’re doing the “right thing” by taking a step out of the rat race for your maternity (or even if you will have to end your career if it isn’t suitable to “motherdom”). .. So already, even if baby was planned, the doubts can and often do creep in, and naturally, that underlying feeling of “not being good enough” sits heavy under the surface of our daily grind.


If pregnancy was not planned, then it can lead us to making decisions before we are mentally prepared to do so and that usually leads us down the path of guilt, failure and shame. Emotions that every parent battles with, but may have the advantage of being more resilient than someone who inherently didn’t want that baby “right now”.


In pregnancy, a common running theme is that people feel they can’t be honest with themselves about the changes they may need to put into place with regards to their lifestyle choices.  Being realistic, if someone is in denial about how much a baby is going to affect their lives then invariably it will lead to a harsher awakening once babe is in arms, than if someone had taken the time to prepare mentally and emotionally for a baby to land in their lives.


If I had a £1 for every couple I’ve taught antenatal classes to over the years who decide to move house in pregnancy (one of the most stressful things to do when we are “supposed” to be keepin the cortisol levels to a minimum), because it’s not “good enough” to bring a new baby/child up in, I’d be a very wealthy woman!


During birth, many women believe they have to “perform” well, or “get it right”, and if they “fail” in their expectations of themselves (or perhaps that those close to them have made made them feel), then it’s very normal for them to feel like they are not good enough, or can’t/couldn’t give birth.  They lose faith and trust in themselves and their abilities to give birth which can lead to lack of faith in themselves as parents too. So what if we educated couples in pregnancy to let go of expectations and just be themselves? That they are enough, and most definitely “good enough” to give birth in any way or situation. Imagine how many women would cherish those moments more, content in themselves for doing their best, instead of berating themselves for not being enough.


In parenting, there is a universe of advice with well-meaning literature and “experts” all proffering the “best ways” to do pretty much everything.  However, the comparison monkey soon comes out when we see others managing marvellously when we are struggling to get it right. If we took a moment to not look externally for solutions, but within, trusting in our intuition and instincts when it comes to caring for our babies and children, then we would most certainly know that we are “good enough”, especially for our little ones, even if not for the rest of the world…


So my advice to everyone I meet, especially my clients, and also to myself is this:  “What would you say to your friend during this time?” No matter what circumstances they are finding themselves in?  Would you say, “Oh yes, I agree with you, you could be doing better!”, or would you smile, and kindly say “How about just being you for now. You are enough”.


There’s a latin saying that I was introduced to at school that says “Esto Quod Es”; which means “Be What You Are”. It’s a mantra that I live my daily. I hope it helps you in some way to find your inner worth too.


Sophie Burch is The Mamma Coach, on a mission to help pregnant couples and parents to have their best experiences no matter what, why, where or how.  As well as teaching Hypnobirthing Weekend Courses by the sea, she has a new online birth and baby preparation programme that integrates Relationship Coaching with Hypnobirthing, Mindful Birthing, Wellbeing and Self Care Coaching; a completely integral, therapeutic approach to Preparing for Birth and Baby. She also offers private therapy sessions for people struggling with anxieties, stress, low mood, depression and phobias, online and in East Kent.  Sophie has experienced birth 3 times, 3 different ways and has suffered with postnatal ptsd, post natal depression and postnatal anxiety, which is why she now does what she does and is passionate at helping and supporting anyone having a tough time.


Qualified in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy, Hypnobirthing, Mindful Hypnobirthing, Baby Massage, Aromatherapy, Pregnancy and Holistic Massage, Reiki and Anatomy & Physiology, Sophie lives on the Kent Coast with her Husband, 4 Boys (including Twins), their Cocker Spaniel, Hamster and 2 fish! She loves nature, beach walks, music and laughter.

www.themammacoach.com

IG: @themammacoach

FB: @themammacoach



Kim, David and Viviennes' Birth Story

Kim & David Birth Vivienne

I was so thrilled to receive Kim and David’s story and just had to share! This is testament to what I teach. Anything goes, and as long as you stay calm and focused, you can carry on no matter what. Practice is key here - and commitment!

BELIEF + MOTIVATION = TRANSFORMATION

I had initially wanted a home birth but after seeing the lovely midwife led unit I opted for this for my first birth, ideally in the pool.

My contractions started at home during the night so I headed downstairs, set the lights to dim and lit my candle while listening to my birth playlist and bouncing on my ball. The advice which Sophie gave me during the hypnobirthing course came flooding back to me, I knew I could handle my surges and was calm and in control. After a day at home I went into hospital and was pleased to find out I was 4cm dilated, the moment the midwife told me she could feel the top of my little girls head overwhelmed me with tears and happiness!

After 5 hours my temperature was high and I was transferred to the labour ward, something which I dreaded at the beginning of my pregnancy but I felt so in control that it didn’t phase me at all. I was still at 4cm after another 4 hours so I opted to have some help, another 6 hours I was at 7cm and my baby had her head facing up which was making it difficult for her to be birthed vaginally so I discussed the options with my partner and the midwives and I decided an emergency c section was best for me and my baby - again this was something which freaked me out when I first fell pregnant but by using hypnobirthing techniques I was fully in control and excited to meet my baby.

I can’t recommend the course enough it helped me a great deal.

My Twin Birth Story (Trigger Warning)
32 weeks (a week before they arrived)

32 weeks (a week before they arrived)

On paper, their birth went to plan, an early arranged C-Section at 33weeks. Then straight into NICU (pre-warned) until they were well enough to go home. But what happened along the way was very hard for me and my family. Firstly, the reason for their early entry into this world was that we had TTTS - Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. From 18 weeks to 29 weeks when it had miraculously corrected itself (my body formed another blood vessel that counter-balanced the blood flow). But I was still informed that even though we were “out of the woods” that it could come back anytime, especially during birth and could be fatal for the babies. I had to make a decision, and with no support or understanding, I went along with the suggestions made to me and we booked in for a Section. The one thing i did do was refuse they came out until 33 weeks (it was being suggested before 30 weeks)!

I prepared for their birth using hypnosis and hypnobirthing techniques which really helped with my mental state and physically staying calm and balanced for my babies wellbeing. I’m sure it helped to lower both my and their cortisol levels too; so vital as the pregnancy had been very anxious.

What happened after their birth was something I couldn’t prepare for and that was the physical pain in my heart when I eventually got to see them and they were on opposite sides of the NICU with the wires, feeding tubes, etc. I was desperate to hold them and have skin to skin, but no-one allowed this until the following day and I had to work out how as soon as I was able to stand and pick one up. My C-Section wound was large and they’d forgotten to give me morphine but the power of the mind over the body and the desire to be with and hold my babies was stronger than the pain).

Nobody explained about the feeding tubes and why they had to have them. The tape used to make their skin so sore and they’d often cry because of the tubes coming loose or out completely and the nurse would have to put them back in each time which was painful for them. I was so upset by this convincing myself it would have an affect of them for life. Infact, one of them has a larger nostril than the other - slightly malformed, and i’m sure it was because of the tubes.

I’d do my best at feeding times to latch them both on at the same time, whilst feeding them via a syringe attached to the feeding tubes. This was a skill I had to learn pretty quickly and my husband would help by making sure the babies didn’t end up rolling off the cushions onto the floor. The chairs were not comfortable and we would bring in extra pillows and blankets to make it a more snuggly environment. It’s hard to get milk flow going in such a harsh, sterile, unloving environment and I now know that of course, my oxytocin levels must have been pretty low. At least the skin to skin that i’d fight for would make a difference. The picture showing them at my breast was the first time we’d managed to get them together to feed and they reached out to touch each other and looked at each other. It was a magical and emotional moment.

Reaching out to each other while breastfeeding for the first time

Reaching out to each other while breastfeeding for the first time

However, nothing could prepare me for the pain that came next. After 24 hours we were told I had to go home because they needed my bed. After a twin C-Section this is unusual, but after a twin premie section with them still in the NICU, was just cruel. I could only just walk at the time and thinking back now, I’m astounded this was allowed to happen. The pain of having to leave them and drive the 40 minutes home was unbearable. It felt primal and I howled like a wounded animal. I’d never experienced agony in my heart like it and have never since. It felt like I was losing them. My heart bleeds for anyone who has lost a baby, and I can begin to understand how it must feel. That pain will stay with me forever. My poor husband couldn’t console me and I couldn’t be a mother to my 2 other children, which must have worried and upset them all dreadfully. The 40 minutes drive felt like 4 hours. Each night I had to leave (and be mum to my other 2 boys), and each morning we would drop them at school and race into the hospital. I used to express through the night at 2-3 hour intervals to stay in the cycle. I was terrified my milk would dry up and as it was the stress meant it was so hard to keep it up. I’d keep a muslin that smelt of them and a photo of them by the bed to help keep the milk flowing, but the tears would flow too. The anguish was so hard to bear. It used to leave me having nightmares that they had passed away in the night without me there.

Each night, leaving the hospital to go home to my boys and husband felt alien, yet it was all that i’d known before. The pregnancy with TTTS had meant that my focus during those 3 months had been on keeping my babies alive, and now it felt the same, and was so hard to even consider the rest of my family. It breaks my heart to think of my boys, then 4 and just 7 (a week before), and how hard it must have been to go through it all with me.

My routine was to get to the hospital as quickly as we could after dropping the boys at school, rushing into NICU with breath held until we knew they were ok. I’d feed them straight away and would often be told not to pick my babies up or leave them to sleep, which would result in a lioness roar from me (I know about Oxytocin and all it’s good for). Not once was I offered help or assistance. Certainly no offer of emotional or mental health support. We were shown the parents breakout room and the expressing room and left to our own devices, often feeling like we were in the way if we hung around our babies for too long. To be honest, the parents room was solace from the noise of the NICU and the events occurring there were scary and often more heartbreaking.

Back together again

Back together again

Once they had brought the twins incubators next to each other, at least it was easier to manage, and then when they were put into SCBU, the day’s were long and hard with all of us doing what we could do ensure our babies thrived enough to be “allowed home”. My husband had to go back to work after 2 weeks, so I was relying on relatives who came to stay a short while (they’re not the kind to want to stay for long), and friends to ferry me and the kids to and from hospital and school. It was tough and I felt like I was constantly having to ask, beg and borrow, which added to my emotional load. The guilt I felt being at home and sleeping in my bed at night while my babies were in hospital in that environment being cared for my strangers when they cried was phenomenally painful too. I felt like I had failed them and the feelings that my body had failed them in pregnancy where exacerbated by this.

We finally got into the “parent room” where I stayed on my own with the twins for 4 nights and days desperately trying to get them into the “safe” zone - they were jaundiced and one was losing weight. This was so upsetting and I basically exhausted myself caring for them on my own (hubby was at work and then looking after the boys at night), which meant no sleep. The worry that they would have to spend longer in NICU under the lights and noise was overwhelming. Nevertheless, after 2.5 weeks, I got them home. (Some parents had been caring for their babies in SCBU for 100+ days, we were lucky).

Finally leaving hospital

Finally leaving hospital

Leaving hospital felt terrifying but amazing. Free to be the mother to them i’d craved to be and arriving home with them was incredible. Seeing my boys come home and cuddle them for the first time (but i remember being very harshly protective of them too), and being a family unit of 6 in our own home was all i’d desired. It didn’t last like that for long. I’ll begin my breastfeeding and reflux story in another post…

My point in telling you about my twin birth is to highlight the urgent need for more help for parents with babies in NICU and SCBU. If there had been a sympathetic word or two, demonstrations on how to care for babies with all the wires and tubes, proper explanations of what’s going on and more efforts to understand what we’d been going through it would have helped a little. Then, sessions with a psychotherapist starting while I was there and ongoing for months afterwards would have prevented the PND that commenced. I remember having to wait for ages for the doctors to do their rounds and then not discussing with us the outcomes for a while, so perhaps this can be dealt with in a more humane fashion too.

The shock of having a baby in NICU and the sadness and desperation of having a baby in SCBU really needs to be dealt with by an empathetic, sympathetic, kind and caring member of staff, specifically appointed to do just that. I appreciate that staff are often doing the best they can in circumstances and an environment that doesn’t lend itself to all of the above suggestions, however, having someone specifically for that role would mean that parents would hopefully be prevented from developing other mental health issues further down the line and would feel cared for and understood at the time.

Home at last

Home at last

Sophie Burch
Hear the Lioness Roar

I am like a lioness. I am a Mother.
I am proud and I stand by my belief that Mother Nature designed me this way.

Tune into your Inner Lioness

Tune into your Inner Lioness

We all have it in us. It’s natures way. Why? To protect our young and ensure they are safe from predators, getting themselves into sticky situations, or just reign them in when they’ve over-stepped the line. Not only do we have a beautiful, deep, inner roar, but we have instincts second to none, that sniff out danger and raise our adrenaline levels so that we will fight to protect ourselves and our babies. We are no different to animals in this way.

So why be afraid of letting that inner roar out?

There is so much information on how to be or not to be the parent that supports our children and doesn’t screw them up for life. Of course none of us set out to be or want to be the one who affected our children’s behaviour to their detriment. Our desire is for our little darlings to grow up as kind, balanced, go-getters, showing compassion and empathy to everyone they meet, whilst succeeding in everything they lay their little eyes on. Yes? No?

Reining them in.

Reining them in.

However, the reality is that pressures are on us from every direction in our modern day society and to cut a long story short, that leaves us frazzled the majority of the time; resulting in our often quick-to-react automatic responses being harsh and leaving us and our kids weeping and guilty at our actions and reactions. The majority of the advice out there says, this is not the best behaviour or example to set our kids, and we instantly feel like we are failing.

What i’m getting at is there are two types of ROAR. One is as above; the pushed to the limit automatic reaction. The “Oh shit, I shouldn’t have said that” reaction. The other is the “Protector Parent” reaction. The one where you have had enough but are protecting them from themselves, or god forbid, falling into the road or off the banister, or out of the window! Then a ROAR is very much needed and it’s ok in my book to really let them know about it so that they won’t (or you hope they won’t) do it again!

There are many reasons why kids getting used to a good ROAR or two are a good thing:

Firstly, out in the world beyond your protecting arms, they won’t cope with seeing anyone shouting or worse, at them. Therefore, it’s helping with the following:

We are the protectors.

We are the protectors.

Resilience. We need to toughen them up (not too much mind), but on an emotional and physical level.

Respect. In the world we live in today, respect is still a vital life-skill to have. Not in the old-fashioned way, which was basically by instilling FEAR. But by demonstrating that authority has it’s place and is again, there to protect and guide our little cubs.

Core Values - to help to teach them what’s right and wrong. If we smile and say “yes” or just “don’t do that darling” to everything, then it’s not teaching our young cubs much about what’s right and wrong. Good and Bad. There’s a time and a place for a smile and a yes, and a time for a good old ROAR too.

Now don’t get me wrong. Yelling abuse at your cubs is NOT OK. Shouting at them using hurtful words is NOT OK. This has been proven to be damaging and of course, upsetting for them (and you). But a ROAR is not a yell. It’s a loud vocal/verbal noise that gets attention enough for them to stop and pay attention. It could also be a “Hey!”, “Listen!”, “Stop!”, “Enough!”, or “Back off!”.

I just like to do an actual ROAR. It gets the attention and does the trick, that’s for sure. It’s also quite funny really. So it doesn’t get the same fearful reaction that yelling at them does. Yelling often results in you saying things you don’t mean and that hurts. A ROAR stops that in it’s tracks.

Remember the 5:1 Ratio - More positive to negative makes for the right balance

Remember the 5:1 Ratio - More positive to negative makes for the right balance

According to Dr John Gottman, a world renowned relationship therapist, the balance needs to be at least 5:1 in terms of positive/negative interactions too. So if you do end up yelling or are a naturally “raisey-voice-kinda-person”, it’s worth making sure you do all the cuddles, kisses and apologising if you do have a tense moment. It’s important to tell your cubs you were sorry for raising your voice. Show them love and they will respect that and learn that we are not all perfect and that if they yell, as long as they mirror your actions, the cycle should continue.

The ROAR begins in pregnancy. Once we know we are pregnant and often instinctively before we find out, we are fiercely protective of our bodies. From traveling somewhere to how we take care of ourselves, that built in lioness is ready to pounce at any opportunity necessary to ward off danger and protect.

Obviously, if you find yourself being triggered by your cubs a little too much, then there are great ways to help train yourself to remain as calm as possible. For instance, practicing non-reactivity on a regular basis when, perhaps their noise levels are reaching breaking-point, is a life-saver (believe me, with 4 boy cubs of my own, i’m all too familiar with my triggers being switched by their noise levels!). So, next time they’re running riot around you and you feel your shoulders tense, why not take a few, deep belly breathes and tune into the noise instead of wanting it to stop. Listen to the noise with intent. Hear the varying pitch of their voices and as you notice them more, exhale fully and notice how you are feeling. Get down to their level and saying nothing, just continue to breathe deeply, then using a technique called noting, say out loud how you are feeling, continue to tune into the sounds around you and your deep breaths. Perhaps you could say, “I notice that this noise is making me feel tense and annoyed”. Repeat this several times and see what happens. Hopefully, the energy around you will calm, as will you and those cheeky cubs of yours!

Other ways of being protective: with the food we eat and what we feed our children. The Lioness in us goes deep into our subconscious and adapts our instincts and intuition on a primal level in our brains. Allowing us to have faster reactions and fine-tune our perceptions. Quite amazing really!

So before you give yourself a hard time for ROARING at your little cubs, or indeed anyone that brushes past your bump if you’re pregnant, be thankful we have an inner Lioness and give yourself a break. It’s natures way after-all!

Mindfulness for Mums

Mindfulness for Mums - Early Parenting

You may be reading this still pregnant, wondering (if this is your first baby) how you will think and feel as a new mother. If this is your second, third, fourth or fifth baby, you may still be questioning your abilities to cope with life as a mother to another child and how you will still find time for your other children. You may have just had your baby, and finding this blog because you are looking for ways to cope as a new mother. You may be looking for a way to simply live with greater ease as a new mother; learning and transforming one moment at a time.

You may have heard or experienced horror stories about lack of sleep bringing about fatigue like you've never felt before. Or babies cries being unbearable, or feeding becoming a big issue that leaves you sore and feeling at a loss to know what to do? You may be aware of the need to heal both mentally and physically after giving birth. This is true in some cases, and not for others. Indeed this continues into parenting. There will inevitably always be something to challenge you. But you CAN help yourself.... read on to find out how..

That soft kiss and tender love

That soft kiss and tender love

So what is Mindfulness for a start? And why are so many people turning to it for a more balanced and less anxious life?

"Mindfulness is a practice... it is a way of being rather than merely a way of being present and a good idea. It is thousands of years old and is about attention and awareness in the present moment... this practice has been shown to influence on one's health, wellbeing and happiness. It is about a gradual cultivation that unfolds and deepens over time. It's a gesture of kindness and self compassion really." Jon- Kabat- Zinn

Mindfulness practice does not take a long time. It is simply a method of mental training; It is about seeing the world, and your thoughts and feelings with greater clarity so that you can take wiser action to change the things that need to be changed or accept the things you can do nothing about.

Important to note! Being a Mindful Parent is not about being a Perfect Parent! You don't have to have any specific training or experience, but you do need motivation to practice.

Every parent and every baby is unique and not one method or parenting style suits all. Being a mindful parent involves little more than your baby being your teacher; learning from their cues and signals moment by moment. It's about creating ways to take time for your self care too, and giving yourself time to recognise and understand your stress triggers so that you can cope better when you feel anxious and worried. It's about using your breath to focus, your eyes to see and your ears to listen to what baby is telling you, even when they are crying incessantly and your instinct is to run or freeze. It pays dividends to just stop and accept that sometimes you don't know what it's about, you can't control it and you may not have the capacity or ability to fix it. So showing love and compassion in those moments (to yourself and your baby), is the most mindfully aware and practical thing to do!

A moment of loving kindness in nature

A moment of loving kindness in nature

Here are my Ten top tips to help you become a more Mindful Mamma!

  1. Breathe and Focus - Take 3 deep breaths from your belly. Notice how your body feels when you do so.

  2. Walking and being in nature, as often as you can but at least once a day, (even in the rain)!

  3. Talking/language - what are you saying out loud and to yourself? Is it kind? If not, stop it. Reframe it - reverse it/flip it!

  4. Environment - What can you see? See colours & textures. How does it make you feel?

  5. Touch - Your babies skin, hugs, soft fabrics, animals, water.

  6. Connect - to baby and your partner. Hugs, smiles, laughter, tenderness. Be in your bubble. It's about you and no-one else right now.

  7. Detach/Disconnect - from the outside world or social media if it makes you compare or become anxious. Also family members who make you feel this way too!

  8. Nourish - be kind to your body. Eat food that you intuitively want, not what you feel you have to. Be aware of what you are nourishing yourself with. Is it fuelling you or making you feel worse?

  9. Acceptance - Find that "OKAY-NESS". (see more on this below).

  10. Compromise - this does not mean giving up or giving in! It means finding your middle-ground and where you can accept life as it is. What good will it do to fight it? How will using your energy fighting it make you feel about yourself and others? What can you do to find compromise?

What is this "okay-ness"?

Becoming a mother often involves the letting go of the old you and welcoming the new you. You may not be able to do things the way you used to and that in itself can be frustrating. In these instances, be kind to yourself. The sooner you can accept that in your life, the easier it will be to enjoy actually being a mother. For many years, women have taken pride in the fact that they can multi-task, however it's now been proven that whilst this may be true, we can't actually give each task our full attention and best efforts. So being mindful of this helps us to slow down, and take one task at a time.

For example, be mindful of brushing your teeth, or washing the dishes, or chopping the vegetables. Be mindful of how your bedsheets feel, of the sound of your baby as they sleep. Be mindful of eating lunch even if you have to grab something as you're feeding baby. Be mindful of feeding baby; bottle or breast, you can still be mindful of that. Take part in the action. Giving each task a beginning and an end can also help, so that each task feels new and has a completion before you begin a new one. If your mind wanders off, (as it will), just bring it back to the task in hand. If you do this for yourself, consciously deciding to be present with each task, and motivated to be mindful, it will help to tame your mind and may begin to feel really rather pleasant! It may even help slow down that chattering worry monkey in your mind. You may also notice that by practising each task with intent, you are not concerned about what happened in the past, and what may or may not happen in the future. Even if you do not get to complete every task, all that matters is that you are going with the flow and trusting in your instincts and intuition. (More on those in another blog!).

Another point to note is that when a mind is tired and feeling overwhelmed, we often wish for the situation to be different, or to "be somewhere else". We dream of being back to our past selves, of days when life was simpler or places where we felt free-er and lighter of pressure. This is very normal. However, this is not doing us any favours is it? Sometimes, it may be useful to creatively visualise a safe, happy place. That is a commonly used tool to escape a moment of fear or pain. However, it's unrealistic to imagine we can apply this all the time. So, what's the best thing to do in these moments? When we recognise these thoughts, we can be accepting of them and return to the present task in hand. To struggle with that will often end up in a spiral of misery and self pity. Tension builds and we begin to resent our life situation. No-one wants that and yet, it happens all too often. So next time you find yourself in this vicious cycle, what do you need to do? Yes! Use your senses to focus, breathe, be in the moment, be present and accept that you may not be able to do anything about it for now. Give yourself time to recover. Then solutions may come to you more naturally.

Being aware is being mindful. You do not have to be sitting still and quietly like a buddha to be mindfully aware. Having time for your self care may seem like a long lost piece of your past or a long time away into the future, but it doesn't have to be this way. This time is with you wherever you go and whatever you do. What get's in the way of this is the desire to be somewhere else.

So what happens when those thoughts go to the "dark side"?

Most likely in times of ultimate stress, exhaustion and overwhelm, when we feel out of control. Those thoughts come at us like a cat on a mouse and generally shock the hell out of us. What do we do about THOSE thoughts? Believe me, we have all been there.

Firstly, as scary as they are, they are just thoughts. You have not acted on them. Yes, they may make you feel dreadful and guilty, but you are not a bad person for having them and as long as you don't actually act them out, so far what are they? JUST THOUGHTS. It is the energy we give them that causes the problems. So if we just recognise them for what they are, and perhaps say "this is just a thought", perhaps reframing it with a further affirmation, of "its my mind playing tricks on me because i'm tired, I am not my thoughts". Then, let it OUT. Talk to someone or write it down and rip it up. If they keep coming, go and see a therapist.

You will not be judged for having a thought.

So how do you become more of a Mindful Mamma?

  1. Let go of expectation and apply all of the above top tips...

  2. Learn to go with the flow.

  3. Be more present in every task that you do.

  4. Be accepting of situations you have no control over.

  5. Be kind, loving, compassionate, truthful and do your best not to compare yourself with others.

I'm a mum of 4 boys, a pregnancy, birth and baby coach and co-creator of a Mindfulness for Mums online Pack. I've used Mindfulness over the past 12 years to help get through times of worry, anxiety and depression and have taught my sons a few techniques to help them too! I hope this has helped a little.

If you are not feeling yourself over a prolongued period of time and are unsettled by your thoughts and feelings. Please speak to someone and get advice from your care provider or a professional. It's better to speak out than not at all.

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