I never imagined the first blog I wrote for Mama’s tlc would be about birthing during a pandemic. But, the aim of the blog is to share relevant and up-to-date information, as well as discussing hypnobirthing essentials – so here we are.
Let’s be honest, you’re probably experiencing a rollercoaster of feelings right now; vulnerable, worried, unsure, scared, nervous, panicked, anxious, angry? Being pregnant, in the middle of a global health crisis was not what you imagined. So, let’s get it out – cry, shout, swear and scream; cut yourself some slack, these feelings are normal and totally acceptable. It’s likely that you may continue to feel any one of these feelings as time goes on. But, often these thoughts can come from feeling out of control. Here are some positive steps you can use to take control of what you can and let go of what you can’t, so you can feel more calm, confident and excited about meeting your beautiful baby soon:
1. Be mindful of your information sources – Thanks, but no thanks
When pregnant (and afterwards too), everyone and their Aunt has an opinion, piece of advice, or story to share with you. Rarely are these comments positive, asked for or helpful – particularly at the moment when information is changing daily. I highly doubt that those willing to comment have spoken to your midwife, are aware of your hospital trust’s policies or have read the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists or World Health Organisation maternity guidelines. So, repeat after me ‘thanks, but no thanks’. This is your stock phrase from now on. You know they mean well, but you’re staying up to date via your midwife and trusted sources. (@MidwivesRCM @RCObsGyn @WHO)
2. Review your preferences – Remember birth is always unpredictable
Even if we weren’t in a pandemic, you need to be prepared for unpredictability. Birth is amazing, but it doesn’t always go to plan, there are so many variables. The simplest way to overcome this is to be open minded and consider your preferences in a number of birth situations – whether a vaginal, caesarean, home, birth centre, or hospital birth. By thinking about each situation and how you would like to birth under those circumstances allows you to have some control over how things might go in each scenario.
3. Attend an online hypnobirthing antenatal course – Find your night-feed tribe
Bugger – your antenatal classes have been cancelled in the lockdown. Ok, but you’re reading this, so you must be online? Stop scrolling for a bit and do some research – find an online course that will allow you to connect with other parents-to-be and expert teachers, have a look and see if there’s a local hypnobirthing teacher who has moved their classed online – I’ve heard the Mama’s tlc hypnobirthing course is pretty good. It’s still possible to learn, get prepared and share the wonderful journey through pregnancy and who-knows you might end up with some parental leave pals at the end of it too – welcome to your 3am WhatsApp tribe.
4. Prepare a homely-feeling birth place wherever you are – There’s no place like home
Ok, so you might not end up where you had imagined, but you can help yourself to feel calm, comfortable and relaxed by making the space right for you. Take a speaker or headphones for listening to that calming playlist you’ve prepped with your birth partner, take a snuggly pillow or blanket, take some essential oils that help you relax, some twinkling battery-operated tealights to set a calming mood or pack your favourite bear, a family photo or some positive affirmations. This is your birth, this is your birth space, make it good for you.
5. Enjoy the time alone with baby – Showering is optional
Right now, Granny, Grandad, Auntie, Uncle, your best-mate, and Mabel down-the-road can’t visit. This is heart-breaking, absolutely gutting. But, you can do two things; 1) make use of technology – facetime, WhatsApp, HouseParty, send photo postcards via one of those magic apps – stay connected however you can and 2) embrace the time alone. Many new parents are inundated with visitors after they come home with baby (or even before), this can be overwhelming and exhausting. Take this opportunity to rest, stay in bed, chill on the sofa, don’t worry about the dishes piling up, or needing a cupboard full of tea and biscuits. Focus on bonding with your new arrival.
Finally, remember to breathe, whatever comes your way, you are safe, you are loved and you are an amazing Mama – you got this. Long, deep breath in, slow, calm deep breath out.
Mama’s tlc hypnobirthing courses run for 4 weeks online via Zoom – sign up now.