Creating a baby is such a natural thing, yet it can change your world so irrevocably and unexpectedly that it’s no wonder women struggle after the intensity of birthing to feel centred, balanced and “themselves” again.
Not only is a new human created, but a new mother is created as well.
As much as you read and research and reconnoitre with other women and mothers, no one and nothing can prepare you entirely for the reality of your life after the birth of your child (especially if it’s your first). Hormonal fluctuations and sometimes immense body changes coupled with the additional demands on your energy can lead to what I think of as post-pregnancy poopiness.
You’ve landed in Baby Land and as miraculous as it is, your identity is now wrapped up in this other creature that relies on you body, mind and soul.
How can you regain your own land?
It seems counter-intuitive to “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting the child next to you,” to use airplane emergency lingo, and so often in life the first things we let go of are the very things that can support us if we could only see clear to make room for them.
Breathing is one.
Unless you’ve learned conscious breathing practices, the breath can easily remain unconscious, shallow and even somewhat panic-inducing. It’s not terribly complicated and doesn’t require equipment, but breathing does require time and attention, both of which may be short and unfocused if you’re now operating on broken sleep cycles and shifting moods and body states.
So, simply start with what you have and where you are. There is only now.
When you have a moment of relative quiet – perhaps your child is asleep or breast-feeding – start by noticing your breath.
Make yourself as comfortable as you can (you might fall asleep and that’s ok!).
Are you able to breathe through your nose? If not, modify until your nose clears.
Notice the sound of your breath.
Is the in-breath as long as the out-breath?
If your mind is busy or tired, try counting the breath so you have a sense of the length and balance between inhale and exhale. As your breath begins to feel more balanced, allow it to grow longer. Take more time with it, without forcing it in or out of the body.
You might find you can narrow the throat slightly so the breath has a smaller channel to move through and it begins to sound like the ocean far away. If that doesn’t happen, don’t worry!
Work with how and where your breath is for you, without struggle.
Now notice where your inhale expands your body from the inside out.
- Can you feel it in your belly?
- Your back?
- Within your rib cage–front, sides and back?
- In your upper chest by your neck?
If you have a free hand see if you can feel the in-breath expanding your torso. Use your hand(s) and ears to create a bridge between your mind and your body.
In this simple way you can inhabit your body with your breath, and so bring yourself into the fullness and richness of the present moment, with all its colors, textures and flavours. You’ll be amazed at how powerful this technique can be at helping to shift post-pregnancy poopiness.
Melissa Billington runs MYOGA for Mums in Wellington (Pre and post natal practices for body, breath, mind and spirit. No experience necessary) at the following times:
- Saturday 10:30am-12pm
- Tuesday 9:30am-11am (starting 11 Jan 2011)
- $20/$16 concession
Powa Centre, 1 Marion St, level 1, Te Aro, Wellington, 04 894 3207