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Learning to embrace motherhood using Sophrology

The minute baby is here, life will never me the same again. Like ever.

It may sound weird but I’ve only grasped the meaning of this last week. About time… I’m 32 weeks pregnant! Our ‘new life’ is basically around the corner…

Although, I’ve known this the minute we made the decision to try for a baby, I dont think I’d actually processed the information on a deeper level. I hadn’t ‘consciously’ realised it if that makes sense… I’m now exploring the depth of this major life change and reflecting on it with full awareness.

So far, I have only had myself to worry about. I always done whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. I have never been responsible for the life of another human being.

I was never huge party animal or drinker so I won’t miss the nights out and hangover recovery days. However, I love travelling to places close by and far away. I love going to comedy shows and musicals. I love going out to restaurants and cafes. I love exploring the world.

Embracing motherhoodI don’t think there will be a clear cut between our old life and our new life but there’ll definitely be some changes. All the things I love to do whenever I want to do them will have to be spaced out in time once Babou’s here.

I look around and see how my friends have handled the arrival of their first baby and I find it fascinating to see how differently they have adjusted. Some have ‘stopped’ living, their child becoming the absolute center of their world and ruling their routine. Others take their baby everywhere, doing almost as much as they used to before baby arrived.

I don’t know what we’ll be like. I don’t think you ever know until baby is here. We’re quite a relaxed and flexible couple and I really hope we’ll be the ‘middle of the road’ kind of parents. We won’t go clubbing with our newborn but we won’t stay stuck indoors for the first 3 months of his life either…

It’s not just the things we used to do that will change, it’s a whole new world of responsibilities I haven’t thought of yet… all the parenting decisions to come ranging from discipline, sleep training to school and education choices and so on… I don’t think I’ve propelled myself much further beyond the birth and realised what we’re getting ourselves into in the long run.

As you can tell, this ‘grown up’ thing we’re doing, bringing a child into the world, has been shaking my world these past few days. To the point, that I have felt the need to address it during my Sophrology sessions with my colleague Brigitte Rinner .

So that’s what we did today in my second session. We set the intention to mentally prepare myself for motherhood through visualisations set after the birth of my baby. My third session will focus on the birth itself and the use of relaxation, breathing and visualisations techniques to remain calm and positive during labour and reduce pain.

You don’t actually need to lie down or sit down to achieve a deep state of relaxation. During labour, I plan to change posture regularly, walk, kneel and so on and it very important that I manage to relax my body in whichever position I am in. With that in mind, we started the session standing up, scanning the body from head to toe and releasing the tension on each out-breath.

As usual, my head and face felt very heavy and busy but the more I breathed out, the clearer and lighter they became.

Once I’d made more space in my body, I sat down and used my breath to stimulate and activate the vital sensations in my body. I strengthened the good functioning of my organs and cells in my body, particularly my reproductive system. This exercise always makes me realise how beautiful the body is, all the hard work it is doing to maintain my state of health and wellbeing and grow a precious life inside me.

I spent some time focusing on the uterus, vagina and perineum, all the organs involved in pregnancy and birthing. Again, a feeling of gratitude flowed through me as I realised how adaptable they are, how well engineered the whole process is. The uterus is a big muscle that gradually stretches throughout pregnancy and then works its **s off during labour, contracting and releasing to bring baby into the world. What about the cervix? Well, it thins and softens to ease baby out… This stuff the body does is mind-blowing!

Through this visualisation, I prepared my organs for the beautiful natural work it’ll have to perform in a few weeks. I am building trust in my body’s wisdom.

After a precious moment of communication with baby, sending him lots of love and energy (to which he reacted pretty strongly, kicking me left, right and center), Brigitte asked me to visualise myself in the future.

Life as a new mum

I started by seeing myself about 4 months after birth, in September. I’d not imagined myself that far into the future and I thought I was going to struggle with it. In fact, I didn’t, lots of images came up at once. I saw myself having a stroll with the buggy in the park. I saw Babou and his dad watching the Rugby world cup together whilst I went out for a swim. I saw myself in a coffee shop with the girls I’ve met through my meet-ups, all with our babies. I was surprised to see Matt, Babou and I all settled nicely into a routine and in a calm environment. We looked serene and relaxed and confident in our parenting skills. It put a smile on my face and reassured me that we are capable of doing this. My heart filled with love for both of them and gratitude for life.

I rewound the tape and then visualised myself a couple of days after birth, back in our home. The house wasn’t perfectly clean or organised but it didn’t seem to matter. I didn’t look stressed out about it and I gave myself the permission to simply be for a few days. We settled in our home with our new baby. We introduced him to his new environment, his bed and toys to make him feel safe and comfortable. I could see myself sat down with Babou breastfeeding him, Matthew changing his nappies, us taking turns to sing to him and soothe him… I suddenly realised that I wasn’t going to be on my own in this. We will be a tight team of three, Matthew, Babou and I and whatever challenge or difficulty we will face, we will work together to overcome them. That felt deeply soothing and reassuring.

Images of family and friends visiting us then crept up. If I am honest, it is something I have been dreading for a few months. I worry about being told what to do, being judged, having to run around to make sure everyone is fine even though I’ll still be in bits from birthing my baby… I think it is a natural feeling to have as a new mum, this instinct of protection and nesting. I have been building the ‘friends and family visits’ into a pretty big thing in my head. The images that appeared in my mind pleasantly surprised me… I saw myself interacting calmly with everyone and communicating our needs warmly and clearly resulting in a pleasant experience for everyone (probably the influence of my use of non-violent communication lately!). I wasn’t afraid of asking for help and rest and everyone seemed understanding and respectful.

I came back to the room feeling calm, serene and confident about our ability to be parent to our child.

I don’t feel as sad and unprepared about leaving our ‘old life’ behind. I am excited about what’s to come.

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