Mindful Mama

I Sucked at Being Pregnant

I have an app on my phone that calculates the odds of my flight going down. I just plug in the airline, the make of the plane, the departure and destination airport, and voila - my fate appears on the screen. Once the four pieces of information have been inputted, it produces some glorious statistic such as, “There is a 1 in 3,983,422 chance of the flight going down.” I wish I could say that the $1.99 I forked over for this app has eliminated all anxiety about flying, but unfortunately, the presentation of numbers is too rational. And anxiety is not. What will forever fuel my palm-sweating, eyes squeezed closed, heart racing, coming to terms with my own death, fear of flying is the obvious fact that I am not in control. I suggested to a doctor that I take flight lessons instead of Xanax and she sympathetically assured me that one of those options was cheaper and less time-consuming, and wrote out a prescription. Fine. I will never become a pilot and will never get to be in control of my own flight (destiny). Instead, I will use my app to calm me down, knowing full well it will be the Xanax that will take care of my nerves.

It may not come as a surprise then, that someone who enjoys control and dislikes the unknown, will struggle with some aspects of pregnancy. Cut to the scene of me eight weeks pregnant, my wide eyes red and puffy from an afternoon of crying, demanding that three of my closest friends – who all had children - explain themselves to me. “WHY DIDN’T YOU COMPLAIN MORE?! THIS IS TERRIBLE! WHY DOESN’T ANYONE TALK ABOUT HOW AWFUL THIS IS?!” At that point in my pregnancy, I was experiencing - what I felt to be - an extremely hostile takeover of my body. The nausea was terrible and only moderately subsided when I was shoveling some kind of nutritionless food into my face. I felt sick all the time. Whoever coined this state of vomitus-being as simply “morning sickness” was a fool and I hated them for calling it something so inaccurate. I was exhausted. I couldn’t stop crying. And unlike any other time in my life, I felt like I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that I was experiencing the first of many infinite sacrifices of motherhood. My body was being transformed and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, nor would I want to. Forty weeks felt like forty years. I was mad as hell that I wasn’t prepared for the state I was in. The only logical place to channel that anger was directly at my friends for not preparing me. Obviously.

I will never forget their sympathetic nods and words of encouragement. One of them in particular – who had three children and was probably the quietest during my tirade –started texting me daily to check in. She became my pregnancy coach and frankly, my lifeline. I could vent and she would listen, support, encourage, and gently remind me of the beauty of creating life.

Eventually things started to improve, but I still struggled to find joy in being pregnant. What compounded the bleakness was the fact that I very much felt that I should find joy. We had been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years, and it finally happened. My rational side – the same side that understands that operating an automobile is a bajillion times more dangerous than flying – would very loudly scold my lack of joy. I am not going to list all of the circumstances and scenarios that I would think about willing myself to feel happiness for actually getting to be pregnant. We know them. I would tick through the list and plead with my heart to find joy.

After I triumphantly passed into the second trimester, I went to my first prenatal yoga class at Blooma. I vividly remember standing tall and placing one hand on my lower abdomen, over the tiny zygote furiously growing inside me, and my other hand over my heart. It was quiet. It was calm. The nausea had momentarily subsided and the room was full of glorious Blooma supportive energy (that if I hadn’t experienced myself I’d tell you to tone it the eff down, hippy). A lump in my throat formed. As I breathed in and out and closed my eyes, tears streamed down my cheeks. I just wanted to lay down and do some ugly crying because my heart was suddenly painfully full of joy. I stopped fixating on the hostile takeover that was happening to my body. In that moment, I surrendered. I started channeling thoughts to the little plum. “You can do this. Keep growing. I’ll keep you safe.” And even as I said it, I hoped that I could.

Now, let’s be honest. I may have left the class zenned out on “she believed she could so she did” Blooma love, but by the time I got home, I was probably cursing a litany of things that were uncomfortable and frustrating. And believe me, that did not stop until the day I evicted our sweet, precious bundle of joy from my body. But I definitely realized: first, it was okay that I wasn’t a naturally joyful pregnant woman; and second, it was crucial to take time and space to focus on what was happening and surrender to it. Whenever I did, the joy would come.

Being pregnant and becoming a mom is an ass-kicking in humility, and for someone who prides herself on being able to create some semblance of control with a shitty app for $1.99, I trust that this ass-kicking will keep reminding me that some of life’s best experiences are not mine to control. Oh and here’s the plus side of having a kid and flying: there is no time to contemplate death when there’s a tiny human requiring all of your attention for however many hours the giant tube shoots through the sky. What a fantastic distraction.

Written by Blooma Mama Ann

Honoring the Significance of Pregnancy & Birth: The Fourth Trimester

Carrying a baby, birthing a baby, and mothering a baby is one of the biggest life experiences.  This transformational journey continues once baby joins a family earthside.  Each mother deserves time and space to heal from the effort of birth, honoring her own unique circumstances and needs.  Planning ahead for the fourth trimester can impact your entire postpartum experience.  Studies have shown that care, nourishment, and guidance during this time can result in long term health benefits to mother, baby, and the entire family.  

No matter what type of birth you experienced, your body went through a significant transformation.  This time is about you mamas and your body needs rest.  In Chinese culture, “Zou yuezi is a sacred 40 day period following birth that is a time to shower the new mother with nourishment and self care through therapeutic baths and deep oil massages.  In Western culture you may not be able to set aside a full 40 days and we understand that, but try making your first two weeks postpartum a sacred time, bonding with baby and resting.  

“Mothers cannot give from a depleted source.  Every mother needs emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual validation, nourishment, and support.  When a mother is respected and well cared for, she, and her whole family, will benefit.” - A motherwoman principle

In our childbirth education classes at Blooma we encourage students to abide by the 5-5-5 rule the best they can.  New mothers should plan to spend at least 5 days in the bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days near the bed.  Do you remember birthing your placenta?  There is a wound that size that needs to heal.  Low activity and rest can promote healing of the perineal tissues, allow birther’s organs to reposition themselves, and reduce the length of postpartum bleeding.  Have your partner or others bring you anything and everything you may need.  Request warm nourishing foods from your support team.  According to research, warm, soft foods such as bone broth, soups, or a good combination of carbs, protein and fats can help aid in digestion and provide the needed energy to nourish you and your babies body.  

 

 

After speaking with several postpartum mothers about their postpartum experience, responses were very individual and unique.  More than once, however, mamas noted they wished they would have asked more for what they need.  You are the gatekeeper of your space.  You may decide to decline visitors until you and your partner have enjoyed alone time to connect, get a handle on breastfeeding, and rest.  It’s important to keep in mind that following birth you will experience physical and emotional changes, many of which happen within the first 2- 6 weeks.  This can be a sensitive time.  If you don’t feel comfortable being naked, crying, or sleeping in front of certain family or friends here are a couple ways to decline visitors until you are ready.

*Avoid posting on social media outlets unless you are ready for people to start reaching out.  

*Ignore your phone.  Honestly, this is one of the times in your life it’s totally acceptable to be severely tardy in your replies to text, emails, and voicemails.

*Leave a nice sign on the doorstep saying thank you for celebrating in the arrival of our little one, we are not quite ready for visitors but will let you know when we are.

You may be a mama who is dreading all the alone time and know you will crave connection with others.  Make a list before baby arrives that includes family and friends who have flexibility in the daytime or evening to stop by and keep you company. A postpartum doula can be an amazing lifeline and worth every penny.  Postpartum doulas have specialized training for childbirth recovery, emotional well-being, and breastfeeding.  Postpartum doulas can help during the day or night.  If you would like a list of local postpartum doulas please reach out to a Blooma staff member and we will hook you up!

Regardless of what kind of postpartum choices you envision will best suite you and your family, have a list of people nearby you can call on to help you feel nourished, held, and supported.

Attention family and friends of a new parent: Consider asking, “How can I help you?”  or think “What can I do to make your life easier?”  Instead of bringing a baby gift, bring a meal.  Something that can be put in the freezer is a gift that will be received with gratitude.  Offer to help with laundry, care for baby so mother can take a healing bath or nap, or bring the older children to school.   We’ve included a great list of helpful “gift” ideas for new moms below:

Origins herbal heating pack for muscle tightness in the shoulders/back, etc or make your own rice pack

Padsicles (see Educator Jamie’s recipe here!)

Healing Herb Soaks (we sell a variety at Blooma St. Paul & Minneapolis)

Gift cards for Massage

Set up a meal train or drop off a meal on the front steps  

Robe (mamas keep this by your door and put it on before someone arrives to give the hint they shouldn’t stay long)

Build Your Nest: A Postpartum Planning Workbook

The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother

 

Written by Amy Kelley, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Prenatal Yoga & Kids Yoga Instructor and mama-to-be.  You can find me on Instagram as @amykelleydoula or visit my website at www.amynkelley.com

Starting Young: 5 Reasons Why Kids Should Be Doing Yoga

I was an active kid. I grew up playing a lot of sports that I adored, but what has stuck with me the most, are the vivid memories I have of my dad taking me to his favorite yoga class, led by a local Swami. I didn't really know what yoga was, but I loved how easy it came to me, how quiet the practice was, and how calm I felt after savasana, or in my kid brain, "glorified nap time." There was a general ease and peace that I didn't have words for at the time, but after years of teaching and studying yoga, I have a much better understanding of what was happening in that room. I was gaining lifelong tools that promoted confidence, self-care, self-inquiry, and a general sense of inner peace.

I often see students come to their mat for the first-time, later in life, due to a suggestion from a medical professional, usually for an injury. It is never too late to pick up your yoga mat, but I often find myself wondering how incredible it would be to be able to share yoga with kids, as a way to instill healthy breathing, movement, and thought patterns for a life of happiness and balance.

 

Here are the 5 reasons I think all kids should be doing yoga.

  1. 1. Healthy Breath. Children naturally breathe using their diaphragms. Unfortunately, the stress of adult life shifts us into unhealthy shallow chest breath. Teaching kids the importance of maintaining healthy breath patterns can have a lasting lifelong effect of less stress, healthier bodies, and more alert minds. There is a saying that goes, "Where the mind goes, energy flows." When we are breathing with ease, our bodies naturally relax.

 

  1. 2. Healthy Body. A body in motion stays in motion. Teaching kids at a young age how important the balance of movement, flexibility, and strength are can have a lasting impact on their lives. One of the things I love most about yoga is that you see people of all ages and backgrounds practicing. This is a sustainable practice that is gentle on the joints and can be adapted for the rest of one's life.

 

  1. 3. Connection and Community. One of the original tenets of yoga is "ahimsa," which means "do no harm to yourself or others." Yoga is a nonviolent practice, that gives a child inner resources and tools to lessen stress, but also encourages connecting with others in a positive, nonviolent way. The word "yoga" means "union" and the practice encourages us to see ourselves in others and seek ways to make the world a better place.

 

  1. 4. Self-care. Understanding the importance of taking care of oneself at a young age is crucial for a balanced life. One of my former students takes it upon herself to go to her room when she gets stressed out and meditates until her breath normalizes. She's 12 and already has tools to deal with the stressors in her life. When a child has tools to handle his or her daily stressors or frustrations, empowerment and confidence build.

 

  1. 5. Inner Resources. Childhood, especially adolescence, can be a time of shifting identities, with a lot of influence from peers. Yoga has taught me so much about myself and has instilled a sense of inner confidence. As a child, yoga gave me the time and space to explore who I am, what I like, where my limitations are, etc. Because of the reflective nature of yoga, kids have the opportunity to turn inward and learn about themselves, creating more confident, self-assured adults in the long run.

Join Meghan Foley for our "Becoming a Yogi" Series beginning January 7th. It is a great way for kids ages 9-12 to explore yoga and its benefits. Learn more here.

Meghan Foley is a 500 hour Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga, with extensive training in Yoga Therapy, Yin Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Power Yoga. She loves sharing yoga with kids, particularly teenagers, because she believes this to be a crucial time in children's lives that can be impacted positively with yoga tools.

What Is a Health Coach?

The short answer is that as a health coach, I am here to empower you to make changes and meet your health and wellness goals.

I’m Margaret, I’m a health coach and a new mom. Through my journey into motherhood I have experienced how transformative this time is. Our bodies, minds, and hearts are in constant transition through this journey of becoming a mother.  This time of change and transition is HARD. It can be easy to allow your needs as a mom, woman, and human to take a back seat.  However, self-care is paramount for women, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. Self-care allows us to truly know and be in tune with who we are and what we need.  It allows us to approach life from a space that is more balanced, and in turn provide the best care for our families.  This is why I’m so passionate about helping moms during this transformational period.   

A health coach is on your side to offer guidance, support, and accountability on your journey of personal growth and development.  A coach will not tell you what to do or how to meet your goals, but rather will work with you to find solutions that are right for you in your life.  

During a coaching program we will look at your life holistically, touching on areas of diet, exercise, relationships, career, and spirituality – to name a few.  These sessions are tailored just for you and are all about what YOU need.  Some examples of specific topics that could be addressed include:

  • - Diet & nutrition
  • - Exercise and movement routines, including to return to activity postpartum
  • - Stress Management
  • - Self-Care
  • - Fears surrounding life changes (such as pregnancy, labor and birth, and transitioning to parenthood)
  • - Body image and body changes
  • - Work/Life Balance
  •   And More

Programs can be 100% customized to meet your needs.  I offer FREE introductory sessions.  This is a 45-minute session dedicated to getting to know you and learning about your individual goals.  After we determine what your specific needs are we will create a program just for you.  

If you have further questions feel free to contact me at coach@margaretachu.com,  or you may schedule an introductory session through Blooma’s Wellness page.

Written by Margaret Achu - Certified Health Coach, Occupational Therapist, Mama