When I was newly pregnant I found myself worrying all the time. Worrying about baby's development, worrying about what mysterious thing could happen to me during pregnancy and worrying about the birth. I had no idea what I worry I could be, but I sure found out. Between the knowledge I had coming into pregnancy and birth as a prenatal teacher, combined with reading and internet searches, I found worry could be an easy constant companion in my pregnancy. I also found very quickly that I needed a practice to help me navigate that. Below is a practice I used during my pregnancy to help with anxiety and worry (the great thing? we keep having those feelings as parents to so you can continue to use this practice postpartum).
In the last week, my little one's night time sleep schedule took a dive. She started waking up 3-4 times a night instead of her normal 1-2. After just a few days I was feeling strung out and like I was doing something wrong. I had read the articles and skimmed the books. At this age, a baby should be sleeping through the night. A baby should be able to soothe themselves to sleep...I felt like I was failing. And I would find myself at night getting frustrated with her, but more often than not, frustrated with myself.
After some internet research, looking for support I happened on an article that suggested that this could all be normal. Some babies don't sleep through the night just yet. And was she teething? Yes. Had we just started solid foods not to long ago? Yes. These things could also be impacting her sleep and I hadn't really thought about it. I just thought I was failing as a mom. Sound familiar?
I like to play music in my studio taught Prenatal Yoga classes and often after class a mama will come up and ask about the music I was playing. Many folks are seeking a playlist that feels authentic to them for their labor, and there are times where yoga music can feel particularly appropriate.
Some of the music I've included below is very soothing and calming, other music has a beat and is more uptempo. I've included favorite songs and a few of my favorite albums. The nice thing about yoga music is that, in general, there are few lyrics which can be helpful for many people during labor. A lot of folks report finding lyrics to be distracting. As you're putting together your labor playlist I encourage you to check some of these songs and albums out, and please comment with your favorites to share with other mamas.
Happy international breast-feeding week everyone! As someone who recently started breast-feeding for the first time, I feel like things got off to kind of a rocky start. Did you have this experience? I felt prepared for childbirth, prepared for a baby but not so prepared for this thing my body and baby were naturally supposed to be able to figure out.
While everyone goes through their own individual struggles I do feel like there are a few things I can offer that I personally found helpful. There are some things that I really wish that I had on hand before in order to make my breast-feeding journey easier (so if you're pregnant now, its not too early to get these items! Trust me, don't wait till its too late!). Here's a list of things every new mama should have if they plan on breast-feeding:
I feel like there are some amazing warriors out there right now doing work around reclaiming the postpartum body, however, the majority of what you see in social media and in our broader culture is all around how quickly we can get back to our “pre-baby body.”
Language and imagery like this does a real harm to postpartum mamas. The postpartum journey for so many people is full of challenges and difficulties having nothing to do with losing weight or maintaining a particular body image. New mamas are struggling with lack of sleep, challenges with nursing and feeding, and for many of us trying to figure out how to take care of a tiny human for the very first time. It's overwhelming
I found myself on my acupuncturist’s table for the first time today in nearly 3 months. My beautiful 4 month old daughter was passed out on the floor while I got a treatment and as soon as I hit the table, I found myself taking a deep breath and thinking “what took me so long.” As a yoga teacher, and advocate to all my mamas of self care postpartum, here I was ignoring my number one rule, “taking care of you is also taking care of baby.” My body needed this time to relax, to unplug and also to heal. I had been neglecting my needs, which was surprising to me, given that I am constantly inviting others to be tuned into their own.
How did I get here?
Have you ever noticed how so much of our time during pregnancy is spent preparing for child birth and very little of it is spent preparing for EVERYTHING that comes after? We spend hours upon hours to prepare us for child birth, which in comparison to the postpartum period and new parenthood is really a blip on the radar, and yet its often us and the internet at 2am trying to fumble our way through the first few months of new parenthood.
The internet became my go to resource for so much information postpartum, and in those frantic searches for answers I realized how unprepared I felt. And I am guessing I wasn't alone in that.
In my previous post, I talked about how breath can help reduce the stress and anxiety that we experience after baby arrives. In this post, I will talk a little bit further about the underlying energy of anxiety. I will also offer a more specific practice that can help to address stress relief and also anxiety.
Anxiety in the body not only causes the mind to feel scattered but can also lead to issues with sleep and tension in the body, particularly around the neck, shoulders and jaw. For these physical symptoms, I have specific yoga videos that will help you release neck and shoulder tension, but creating a sense of calm and relaxation can be just as important as stretching the body with practices like yoga. And addressing anxiety can help to you also address some of these common issues for postpartum mamas.
Breath is an amazing tool, one that we utilize constantly in our pregnancy yoga practice. Breath not only helps us stay connected to the movement of our bodies, but it also helps us to connect to our potential to relax and release tension in the physical body.
These breath practices can also help to support a softening of the nervous system. When we are stressed or anxious our nervous system is on overdrive, often referred to as fight or flight. When stress hormones in the body rise, the nervous system kicks in and causes a certain changes to take place in response. This fight or flight reaction can make sleep much more difficult, can cause physical body tension and can cause issues around digestion and elimination
Ayurveda is called the sister science of yoga. For health and well-being we often combine the practices of yoga and Ayurveda together. Yoga offers practices for the physical body in terms of movement and breath and Ayurveda offers prescriptions around diet and life habits that we can change to help bring greater overall health to the system.
Ayurvedic practices offer particular support around sleep issues. We often think of the time postpartum as a time where sleep is at a premium because of the regular feeding needs and waking of the baby, but many prenatal students often complain about sleeplessness as well. Here are some easy ways that you can use the practice of Ayurveda to help address your issues with sleep no matter when they arise in your journey of parenthood:
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.