Featured in the March/April 2015 edition of the BCT Magazine:
Can you take 30 minutes to pause in the day? by Claudia Sitara Dau
Pregnancy brings a whole host of time demands: getting things ready for the baby, finding the right support for your birth, doctor visits, developing a birth plan, working and preparing for maternity leave, clothes that fit our changing shape... the list goes on and on.
But in all our busy-ness, we can lose site of the main priority: the baby. What does the baby need most from us? If we think of a mother hen, she will literally sit until it is time for the egg to hatch. Now, this may not seem feasible or even desirable. But is there an in-between, an interim solution so to speak? Somewhere between running around like a headless chicken to sitting still like a maternal hen?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was operating my own business. We had all our staff working out of our rented apartment as we were closed for renovations and had just bought a new home (which also required renovations). At the same time, we decided to launch a yoga studio on top of the spa. To say that I was overstretched was an understatement. On top of all that, I had a terrible phobia about childbirth.
My longtime teacher and mentor, Dr Catherine Shainberg (author of Dreambirth) gave me one main piece of advice: every day, take a 30-minute pause part-way through the day, ideally following lunch.
During that time I would do a one-minute imagery exercise (like a simple visualisation exercise
that you might do in a yoga class) that helps the baby to grow perfectly and enable me to calm
down my anxieties and tendency to become hectic. During those 30-minute pauses, I was able to simply sit and be with my baby, connecting with her, breathing with her and getting to know this beautiful being growing inside of me.
30 minutes a day changed my pregnancy and changed the relationship that I had with my body,
learning to respect and respond to the needs and wishes of this new member of our family. I learnt to slow down, to trust that everything would fall into place and that the world wouldn't end if I didn't have all the things done on my to-do list.
Looking back, some of those 30-minute rest times were the favourite parts of my pregnancy. The parts where I allowed myself to actually enjoy being pregnant rather than viewing it as an encumbrance to my 90 mile-an-hour usual speed. As the pregnancy progressed, I noticed that these were the moments where the baby was most active. The more I rested, the more she moved about.
What did that tell me? That the more I could simply sit and be, the more space she had to grow and develop and explore her new environment.
Since that time, I have worked with many pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant. Each time, I give the same piece of advice: take 30 minutes to pause each day.
The results are the same: the mothers calm down and the babies come out like little Buddhas.
So if you do one thing this pregnancy, give yourself permission to pause. It's OK to stop.
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