I've been talking to many pregnant women this week. Everyone is wondering what the implications are for their birth, and their birth plans, and the health of themselves and their baby.
I want to reassure you that while this is indeed the most extreme health crisis we're witnessed in our lifetimes, Covid does not trump your birth.
You can take all the recommended precautions and STILL have a birth plan in place.No doubt the focus of your planning may change - I've seen women's evolve their birth plans rapidly in the last week, and we've been talking more and more specifically about contingency planning & coping strategies. Here are 3 quick & easy actions you can take to alleviate your anxieties a little bit; 1) Write. It. Down. All too often worries belt about our brains, increasing in speed, spiralling off down avenues of potential & piling up on top of each other. Inside our heads these worries and anxieties have the capacity to grow beyond their natural size and to knaw away at us, setting nerves on edge and preventing us from productive thought. When you write, rather than free think, you can give your worries structure and boundaries. You can group them, 'Worst Case Scenario', 'Emotional', 'Things I Can Do Something About', 'Things I Can't Control', and you can take a perspective view. If nothing else, positive action always helps. 2) Recognise your fears. Covid has changed the world outside your window. It is affecting the NHS. It is affecting the in-person New-Mum groups and gatherings you would usually be attending. It is affecting who you can visit, and who can visit you. It may have some effect on your birth plans. These are upsetting facts - and it's ok to feel grief, loss, fear, resentment, anxiety. These are all perfectly normal human reactions, and it would be odd if you did NOT feel these. It's ok to recognise this, to cry, to talk it out with friends & family on Skype calls & FaceTime. It's normal to feel anger and resentment. You can recognise these emotions, give them space to bubble and a place to vent. It's also ok to give them boundaries - to allow them the time they need, and then, when they've served their purpose, to use coping skills to keep them proportionate so they don't overwhelm you. 3) Take action. Everything feels better when you control it. Once you've identified what your fear is, and given it space to rail and wail, act on it. What can you do to make the situation better than it would otherwise be? How can you bring your piece to play, so this continues to be your experience? These are not easy times. They are particularly hard when you are about to bring a new human into the World - a time when we are at our most vulnerable anyway. Laura, Ruth and I are here for you as much as we can be. We are here to listen, to help you plan and to help you acquire & develop coping strategies - practical & emotional.
The Positive Birth Movement Sevenoaks continues to be my go-to online space at the moment. If you would like to join this free resource you'll be welcomed with open arms.
Tomorrow evening (Wednesday) we'll be hosting our second Virtual Pregnancy Pyjama Party, live via Zoom. It's a chance to connect with your community - even while we're physically separate from each other.
Whatever is happening out there, babies are still growing, birth is still happening, and we can still breathe. This coming Friday I'll be at Fisical Mind & Body Studio, connecting with you live via Zoom for another Breathing for Birth session. This week the focus is the Oxytocin Bubble - we'll take some time to talk about what this means & how you can create it. We'll practice some breathing techniques for birth & beyond and we'll close on a beautiful guided meditation.
Now more than ever you may feel you need to speak to someone about organising your birth plans & your coping options. We can't meet you in person now, but we are still here, online, on the phone, by Zoom & FaceTime. If you would like to check in with us, please contact us and we will support you in any and every way we can.
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