Years ago I remember hearing about something called mindfulness. I had no clue what it was or why it was considered important. But, after learning more I can definitely see how mindfulness can be helpful. Even more so now since we are in the middle of a Pandemic. Many of us are struggling with increased anxiety, depression, and a host of other things because we just aren't sure of what the next second, minute, or hour will bring since this virus started. I'm also sure that expectant mothers are even more so concerned. ( I know I am) Especially since I'm due soon.
What is mindfulness? Simply put, it's being aware and being as present in the moment as possible. Many of us spend so much time thinking about the past and/or worried about the future. (I'm guilty of this) Some of us also want to control every aspect of what's going on and this isn't a healthy habit. Why should we consider practicing mindfulness?
For starters, it can help reduce stress. We all encounter stress in some form or another. It's normal and to be expected. Practicing activities like meditation, breathing, and even walking can help you stay calm and stay present which can help you better deal with stress. This can also lead to a more positive pregnancy and birth experience. Another reason why practicing mindfulness can be helpful is it can help bring on more positive feelings. I know many people think that the only way to practice mindfulness is to meditate. Meditation is helpful however it's not the only way to stay present and be mindful. Just by tuning in to what and how you feel, you're doing what it takes to be mindful.
If you can, pay attention to your feelings and write them down. I'm huge on journaling. I journal everyday, sometimes more than once. Just so I can "check in" with myself. Some of us get used to old patterns and thoughts (not so good ones) that we just expect to feel a certain way all the time. Try checking in with yourself to see if you actually notice any new feelings. It's also important to remember that everything is temporary. Just as we have moments that make us angry, sad, or disappointed, know that you will have moments of happiness, joy, and excitement. You have the choice to stay or ruminate with feelings that cause pain, fear, or distress or you can feel those feelings (for whatever amount of time you've allowed yourself to do so) and do things that help you move forward. Such as being mindful, which includes meditating, journaling, breathing, even when taking a shower.
I've noticed that during shower time, I'm way more in tune with myself. My mind is actually clear and I am in the moment. One thing that turned me off in the beginning of my mindfulness practice was the fact that the "experts" made it seem that the only way to be mindful was to sit in a quiet space for 30 minutes or longer criss cross apple sauce in complete silence. As a mom of three that just wasn't realistic for me. But as time went on I learned that it doesn't have to be that way at all. You can fit mindfulness into your daily schedule any way you can. Do what works for you as long as you try to tune in. Even for five minutes and grow as you go.
An example for pregnant moms, when you feel your baby move, if you can stop. Think about how you feel in that moment. Excited, grateful, surprised? New moms, when you're feeding your baby (whether you are breastfeeding or not), take a moment. Look into your baby's eyes and make contact. Try not to multitask, like watch TV, check in and make a connection. How do you feel? Doing these things helps you remain aware, you're being present and that's important. It's easy to get distracted, it's easy to put things of less importance ahead of more important things. My toddler told me the other day to put my phone down and play with her. I laughed but then I got quiet and really thought about it.
She needed me to be present and needed me to spend quality time with her. So we did just that.
Take a moment to think about what mindfulness can do for you? How could you benefit from it? Please comment and share. Until next time. Sending you peace, love, and light.
Certified Health Coach (Pregnancy and Postpartum Support)