A gentle transition to motherhood

Find Your Breath

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

“Motherhood takes your breath away . . .”

With soft eyes I study every detail of each finger and toe. I echo, awestruck, my baby’s tiny coo.  My fingertips soak up the softness that sweet skin, and I hold my breath to hold this moment.

“Motherhood takes your breath away . . .”

I whisper, “Nobody breathe, the baby’s finally asleep!” I gulp down the pain caused by an awkward nipple latch. I empathize with my baby’s cries, and my breathing aligns to her ragged rhythm.

Savoring the awestruck gasp of mother joy is one thing – it’s euphoric and I recommend it! Getting caught in the cycle that is breathlessness is another thing altogether, and it’s a pattern I’ve fallen into all too often.

Why is this a problem? When we alter our breathing in response to mental tension—say a moment of fearful wondering about baby’s unusual cry or cough—we create tension in the body. This tension then signals the nervous system to alarm the mind. Thus begins a cascade of physical and emotional responses that push us out of the here and now, and compound our elevated state. Before even asking out loud, “Is this normal,” the breath is already shallow, the thoughts have begun to spin the story of the worst-case scenario, the mouth becomes dry, and the heart is racing.

All this is to say, when we lose our breath, we lose our minds a little bit in the process.

Pre-kids, I took an introductory yoga class – the teacher was a caricature of a wellness guru – she flaunted her eccentricities and took herself beyond seriously. In the middle of class she drew a long loud breath and made the arch announcement:  “There have been a number of scientific studies done that prooove that BREEEATHING can actually lennggthen your life!” She could not fathom why we laughed so hard at her pearl of wisdom.

So now, all these years later, maybe the joke’s on me, as I suggest that you breathe.

Want to try it? First relax your jaw (which by the way sends a message to your nervous system that you’re not actually in a fight or flight situation, and along the way gives you a little pulse of endorphins – nice, right?). Now, through your nose draw a FULL breath into your lungs – fill them right up. And then let that air out slowly and fully, also through your nose.

Try it again – find your breath, fill those lungs, this time with your eyes closed.

Now, as your breath settles into it’s more natural rhythm, just be mindful of whatever it is that you’re actually feeling – and maybe you’ll notice right away that things already seem a more of a piece, connected.

A few deep breaths may not give you the Aha! solution to your baby’s mystery cry or substitute for a decent nap, but if you practice you will find it is a powerful tool to possess. Breathing is – literally – getting in synch with your body, which gives your mind a chance to be present in the moment, which in turns gives your resources a chance to swing into action.  And all of us mothers need our resources present, oxygenated, and ready.

Don’t let motherhood take your breath away . . .  Breath is positive. Breath is easy. Take your time. Breathe deep into your lungs. Find your breath.

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Simply breathing is the foundation for powerful relaxation techniques introduced in HypnoMothering. To learn the full array of tools designed specifically create more calm in your life as a mother, contact a HypnoMothering instructor near you, or email us at HypnoMothering.

Kira Dorrian and Tracy Adams are Seattle-based Clinical Hypnotherapists and HypnoBirthing® Practitioners, each a mom of twins. Together they have created HypnoMothering™, a class designed to help prepare women for a gentle transition into motherhood, and a safe space for new mothers to be seen, heard, and supported.

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