Article from www.gentlebirth.com, 26/3/20
Are you feeling extra stressed with all of the frightening headlines about the Corona virus? You’re not alone. I know it looks a bit odd seeing hypnobirthing + Covid-19 words in a sentence and don’t worry this isn’t another article that’ll leave you feeling even more stressed about what’s happening.
First of all – take a moment to appreciate the fact that your daily hypnobirthing and mindfulness practice supports your immune system. Ongoing stress weakens our immune system so in an indirect way your hypnobirthing practice is really really good for you and your unborn baby right now (postpartum too!) so keep it up!
What else can you do in the coming weeks to reduce unnecessary stress?
WTF (in GentleBirth ‘speak’ it stands for Where’s The Focus)
A very powerful ‘golden rule’ we use is to ask yourself when you’re scrolling through social media, chatting to a friend or watching something in TV is “is what I’m about to watch, read, discuss going to make me more excited or more anxious about my baby’s birth” And this doesn’t mean you start to policing every thought that you have but notice how your gut feels – has that video you just watched on YouTube left you feeling inspired and excited or full of dread? The power to feel better is always in your hands.
Control the Controllables
Some parents I’ve spoken to this week have said they feel really anxious because things are feeling out of control (thanks to a lot of scary media headlines no doubt). Yes things can feel overwhelming right now but there’s still some things that you DO have control over to limit your chances of getting the virus (frequent hand washing and avoiding large public gatherings). Use your hypnobirthing practice as a stress inoculation. Increase your practice to every day instead of a couple of times a week. Having regular activities that help you stack the odds in your favor of staying well will reduce your anxiety too. Partners are stressed too so if you’re using the GentleBirth app remind your partner to use the partner sessions too.
If you’re having a particularly stressful day use handwashing as an island of mindfulness in a chaotic ocean to briefly destress . Just like taking a mindful shower you’ll use all of your senses to stay present. Notice the smell of the soap, how it lathers in your hands, pay attention to the temperature of the water (your mind will run off a few times, just notice it and gently guide your attention back to the sink without any judgment). Listen to the sound of flowing water. Notice the sensation of your hands gliding over each other and take a moment to appreciate having access to clean running water, soap and your health. (Adapts easy enough for hand sanitizer too).
What’s Not Wrong
Your brain is always on the lookout for threats – that’s what’s helped the human race survive. But that survival skill keeps us on high alert and if you’ve experienced any kind of trauma in the past your brain is even more hypervigilant – even when there is no actual threat. So if you find your brain running off on autopilot catastrophizing Covid-19 take a few breaths and ask yourself – “in this moment – what’s not wrong” I think you’ll find there’s quite a lot that’s going well right now.
Watch your Diet
Of course you know that eating healthy nutritious food in pregnancy is good for you and your baby but watch your mental diet too. No doubt you’re being very intentional about what you put in your body – be just as intentional about what you let in ‘upstairs’.
Hope this was helpful to you!
Tracy (Gentle Birth)
In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic Gentle Birth has created a free hypnobirthing Mp3 and additional affirmations to support pregnant people around the world. You can access these downloadable resources by clicking here: