I see you there Mama, with a little smile on your lips, an inward chuckle, perhaps even an eye roll. “Who does this crazy lady think she is? Telling me that some relaxation time will solve all of my problems? And above that, when on earth does she think I’ve got time to relax…?”
The me of 5 years ago, a full time working mum whose life resembled that of a hamsters wheel. “Just keep going, keep pushing through,” I told myself, “dont EVER stop and certainly dont slow down just incase you fall off.”
When it came round to my 3rd bout of Tonsilitis in 6 months, I went to the doctors telling her, “Look its not tonsillitis I just have a funny feeling it’s not like last time!!”. She took one look and diagnosed acute tonsillitis with the possibility of it developing into strep throat if I didn’t treat it. Her next question being what do I do? “Well I’m a single mum, I work full time.” She asked if I get time to myself at which point laughed and said no, thats not really a possibility. Actually I had A LOT of support from family and friends but taking time out to do NOTHING was not an option.
Fast forward 5 years and here I am telling women that relaxation is a necessity NOT a luxury…
So why is this? Well firstly I now have 2 children, my own business, a husband whose business sustains us and secures our future and a vested interest in my health. I have massively learnt that I cannot afford to get tonsillitis 3 times in 6 months because frankly if I cannot take care of myself how will I look after my kids. Again we have family support but still- who likes to use that support just to cover you when you’re poorly?? But mainly my interest in relaxation came into full force when I realised the importance and value it had in birthing my 2nd child calmly and positively. Something I never thought possible.
Doing a Hypnobirthing course is what essentially taught me that in order for it to work, in order to re-program our brains we HAVE to be able to switch off, zone out, and be able to get ourselves into a relaxed state. And THIS is unfortunately, a skill. Since training to become a Hypnobirthing teacher myself, it’s now a huge tool that I teach regularly at Pregnancy relaxation classes and even more so is the reason I set up the New mama relax classes. So that women can not just use this technique for birth preparation but in order to look after themselves and be the best mothers they can be.
How wired are we all. the. bloody. time. Phones glued to us, laptop constantly asleep not powered down, tv or radio on, whatsapp messages pinging through on each device for the 20 or so active groups that we have going simultaneously.
And how often do we ignore them? Wait a day to respond? Well I can safely tell you I practice what I preach here having put whatsapp on silent mode and catching up on conversations when I have time. I don’t feel like I’m missing out thats for sure!
So what are the benefits of relaxation? Theres got to be something solid right? …RIGHT!
- firstly in pregnancy, learning on a daily basis to switch off will help you in birth by being able to do just that as soon as you start to need some coping mechanisms
- by relaxing in pregnancy and combining that with Hypnobirthing, positive messages are being filed into your brains’ hard drive and negative thoughts which massively govern our reaction in birth are minimised or scrapped altogether
- it puts you into your ‘calm response system’ meaning your body will birth more efficiently.
- relaxation will therefore help you cope better with PAIN. FACT.
- it will help you make better, more informed decisions when you need it, rather than decisions based on fear and irrational thoughts
- it will teach your baby in utero how to relax!!! That even after a bit of a stressful situation which may be filled with cortisol and adrenalin, there is calm and oxytocin and endorphins that follow. It teaches them how to calm down…amazing!
And what about AFTER birth? Because thats what we want to know right?
- well how useful are you to your new baby if you are stressed, tired and anxious? (and who isn’t with a little)
- it will again teach your baby how to calm down, feeling your heartbeat and breathing slow down
- the release of oxytocin we get when using relaxation is what we need for a milk let-down.. how many of you ladies have hot and botherdly tried to feed a screaming flailing baby only for them to be getting more stressed and unable to latch??? *waves ME!*
- Or then in a panic tried to express and find you cannot squeeze a drop out of those bad boys? *ME again*
- and so just learning a simple breathing technique will enable shoulders to drop and encourage a lovely let down.
- learning a quick method to ‘dial down’ and dig really really deep for that last scrap of patience you have will be so much easier. We’ve all had witching hour, but with relaxation comes calm and an abundance of patience.
- and giving your brain that 1 hour (in my classes) or 10 minutes at home to switch off allows you to just briefly revert back to YOU. Not mum. Not partner. Not milk maid or pack horse. Just a simple, beautiful and a much healthier you.
Other perks include being able to concentrate better, learn a new skill easier (great for new mums that want to retrain in something) reduce depression and anxiety. Attributes I’m sure we would all love whether pregnant, new mum or not!
And so I firmly and stubbornly stick to my guns. It is not a miracle cure that will turn you into a laid back hippy, but instead understand the value of you and give you the tools to look after yourself mentally and physically. Relaxation is a necessity not a luxury. And who are you NOT to deserve that. You totally do.
P.S If you want to check out my accessible-for-all relaxation classes check out the courses page for dates. Relaxation groups are held in the N3 area and NW6 and are subject to availability.