Are you getting the pre-baby jitters?
I, Nicole, was pregnant with my first baby at a time in my life that felt very exciting. Newly married, promoted at my job, adopted a new puppy AND moved to a house in the suburbs with a big sparkly kitchen (Oh, how I love to cook).
I was so excited to become a mother, but this whole birth thing perplexed me. How exactly was this going to happen? What was really going to happen to my body? I laid awake most nights from 3am- 5am…in a state of mild panic.
There was a stack of books on my bedside table I was making myself read because I thought I needed to break myself into the “harsh” realities of birth and memorize all of the possible situations that might happen. Half of these books had titles like “feel the fear…” or “…pain in childbirth”. Not exactly exhilarating, eh?
I also took multiple childbirth education classes and series, which felt important and helpful during pregnancy…but I wasn’t totally sure.
Yet, I still couldn’t exactly “see” myself in birth.
I couldn’t connect what I was reading and learning to how it would help me in MY birth.
So I waddled into the 37th week of my pregnancy feeling kind of prepared, but not really sure if I was. It’s probably a good thing that I went into labor that week because if I’d had more time to worry-prepare, who knows what kind of stress I would have felt.
What actually happened in my birth is that I froze. Anything I had read flew out the window and I just let myself be directed by whatever the nurses or doctors told me. I felt alone and totally unprepared when it came to my birth, and I had done all the things I was told to do. Why wasn’t it enough? What did I do wrong?
My birth ended up okay. Our baby was born healthy. I had to be treated for blood pressure spike which resolved quickly. But overall, looking back, my birth felt disappointing.
Then, we headed home. I truly was not prepared for this part.
It was one of the coldest, snowiest winters recorded, our little girl was very colicky, I had no friends, acquaintances or encouragement to find support when I needed it most. I didn’t leave my house for months and went back to work after only 2 months because I could work remotely. Suffice it to say that this was the recipe for depression and postpartum anxiety, which I struggled with alone for most of the first year.
I finally got the help I needed after that extremely challenging year. And when I became pregnant with baby #2, I resolved to have a different experience…and I TOTALLY did.
Here’s what I did differently:
Turning to my yoga and meditation studies that had served me well in other times when life got tough, and I discovered a world way beyond the standard approaches to preparing for birth and postpartum recovery. They were life-changing.
My yoga practice in pregnancy #2 taught me what it really means to “BE” at my birth – and it’s not just physically being there. It was making sure my mind would be right there with my body, the whole time.
I made the connection between what all the birth classes teach you to do (“just relax” and “trust your body”) and how to actually do these things by using the principles of yoga.
And just like a dancer practices their choreography for performance for months before the show, I did the same – practiced, practiced and practiced some more so that I showed up with my very best mental game on the big day. And it WORKED. My birth was an intimate, satisfying, and dare I say ecstatic even though it didn’t follow some perfect plan.
Once postpartum, I applied wisdom from Ayurveda (the “lifestyle” science of yoga) that filled the 6-week gap of postpartum self-care, and the result was a TOTALLY positive experience where I felt strong and completely nourished despite the sleep deprivation.
And since then, Kendra and I both understand the deep need for mothers to have access to these unique birth preparation and postpartum practices, rituals and protocols that are time-tested ways of preparing and recovering from pregnancy and birth.
We’ve been able to help over 300 mothers (many of whom had never done yoga before) apply these principles through the pregnancy-to-postpartum transition, and the results are absolutely beautiful.
This is exactly why we created the four-month Devoted Mamas Pregnancy-to-Postpartum Immersion.
So you can take control, feel confident and stay centered through all the stages of pregnancy to postpartum.
And avoid getting stuck in fear and compounding anxiety as your due date approaches, and avoid allowing other people too much room to take care of you the way THEY think you should be taken care of, which might night be the way YOU need to be taken care of.
Ready to go from feeling uncertain and nervous to feeling in control and excited?