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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 08:04

What Are Your Core Beliefs About Pregnancy?

Core beliefs are things that we believe about life that are etched into our subconscious mind. Many times we do not even know that we have these core beliefs; let alone that they are running aspects of our lives. As a woman, we receive many messages about pregnancy throughout our lives from our families, friends, the media, and our culture. By the time we find ourselves pregnant we have certainly developed some core beliefs about pregnancy.

Core beliefs are very powerful messages. They deeply influence how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. When we have positive core beliefs, we approach things in a positive way. When we have negative core beliefs we are likely to approach things in a negative way. We are likely to find evidence to support our core beliefs, and exclude evidence that does not support our core beliefs. Therefore, we find ourselves in a cycle where we are reinforcing our core beliefs. We continue to attract the people, attitudes, and experiences that support our core beliefs. This is why it is so important to discover what your core beliefs are.

If your core pregnancy beliefs are positive, and are working for your greater good, bravo! But if your pregnancy core beliefs are negative, you may find yourself in a cycle where you are reinforcing those negative beliefs.

You have the power to change your pregnancy core beliefs, and we will work on that later. But first you have to know what your current pregnancy core beliefs are.

So how do you know what your pregnancy core beliefs are?

An easy exercise you can use to discover your pregnancy core beliefs is to write a list of all of the things you have heard about pregnancy. They may be things that your mother told you about her pregnancies. They may be things you’ve learned from watching TV, or reading magazines. They may be things you’ve learned from friends. Just give yourself the time and space to write out a list of things that come to mind when you think about pregnancy.

Here are some sentence starters that can help you get going. Put one of these sentence starters at the top of your paper and see what comes to mind. Then move on to the next one, and so on.

Pregnancy is ______________.

Pregnant women are ______________.

Pregnant women can/cannot ____________________.

Pregnant women should/should not ______________________.

Once you have your list, you can separate it into positive statements and negative statements. Often our negative statements use terms like always, never, should, should not and cannot. They may also include negative words such as difficult, painful, ugly, etc.

Looking at your list of negative statements about pregnancy, ask yourself whether these statements are impacting your pregnancy in a negative way. You will need to get honest with yourself, but be gentle. You are uncovering things that you didn’t know were impacting your mindset around pregnancy. Now that you have uncovered the belief, you have the power to release the negative belief that’s causing problems for you.

In order to release a negative belief it can help to understand where this belief has come from. For example, you may have seen, “Pregnant women are moody and irrational” on your list. Why do you believe that? You’ve seen this stereotype on TV, movies, in books, and magazines. Possibly, when your mother was pregnant with your younger brother, you remember her crying a lot and yelling at you for no reason. Between the stereotyping in the media and your personal experience as a child you have developed and reinforced that belief.

Now think about your pregnancy. You have been moody and irrational. That’s what you have believed about pregnant women, so you have embodied that belief to some degree.

Following this process has helped you to discover your core beliefs about pregnancy and identify your negative core beliefs. I will help you release your negative core beliefs and replace them with positive beliefs in my next article

If you’d like help with any specific negative core beliefs, please share below.

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 12:28

Connecting With Your Baby

Touch that pregnant belly

 

Even before you officially have a baby bump, you are certain to be touching your tummy. You probably don't even realize how many times each day your hands flutter up to touch your womb. Touching your baby while pregnant is a great way to bond with your baby. Even before you can feel your baby moving inside of you, your baby can feel and respond to your touch.

Here's how to connect with your baby in the womb:

 

Pay attention

Affirmations for PregnancyI would encourage you to start to notice when you are touching your belly. You will probably be surprised at the number of times you are rubbing, patting, or stroking your tummy. Take notice! When your hands have made their way to your belly, check in with your baby. Appreciate that there is a new life growing inside of you. Send your baby your love, either by speaking to your baby or through your thoughts and intent. You can even repeat an affirmation for connecting with your baby. If you need help coming up with an affirmation, I have a list on my website that you can find here.

Get Focused

Choosing to be in the moment with your baby can bring you a sense of calm. Set aside some time to sit quietly and focus solely on your baby. Place your hands on your womb and focus with your full attention. Feel yourself filling with joy and gratitude. You can do this for as little as five minutes, or as long as you like.

Gentle Touch

You can gently rub your womb at any time, giving your baby gentle rubs and pats. You can do this over your clothes, or on your bare skin. You may want to use some moisturizer or massage oil that is safe for pregnancy. This can help you bond with baby and also help you alleviate some of the itchiness or dry skin that can occur when your skin starts to stretch.

Respond to your baby

Once you start to feel your baby move, you can respond to your baby using touch. When your baby is being active and moving around, let your baby know you are paying attention by touching your baby in return. As you begin to feel the shape of your baby’s body you can touch the different parts of your baby the way you will once your baby is born. For instance, you can lightly tap or tickle your baby on the foot or lovingly caress your baby’s head.

Share the love

Your partner and other children can become involved in bonding with baby too. You can adapt these bonding techniques to include other people who have a place in your baby’s life.

How are you using touch to connect with your baby in the womb?

Published in Memories
Monday, 29 July 2013 13:05

Mommy and Me Yoga

 

I taught my first meditation class when I was 19-years-old. Having recently returned from living abroad in Jerusalem and India, I was on fire with the transformative power of meditation. Soon, I added teaching asana to the mix. These are the physical postures for which yoga is famous. In my twenties, I became certified as a Kripalu Yoga teacher. Once I became a birth doula, I added prenatal yoga to my repertoire.

For twenty years, I’ve held sacred space for people as they dive into their bodies, their joy, their pain, and the healing wonders of cultivating inner peace. Today, I continue to teach. Only now, I have a 19-month-old co-instructor.

I begin a sun salutation as my son pushes his yellow, pick-up truck around my feet.

"Zoom! Zoom!" he shouts.

"Om!  Om!" I respond.

I match his tone and playfulness. I look into his eyes and marvel at his wondrous life energy. He pushes the truck to the side and begins to imitate me. He places his head on the carpet and pushes his hips into the air. “You do downward dog pose!” I exclaim. I put my sun salutation plan to the side and move my body so I can see his upside down face. We laugh at each other between our legs.

I want my son to remember his mother as a woman who truly enjoyed being alive in her body. Yoga keeps my light strong and steady. Ancient healing movements remind me to be present to each holy, powerful, challenging, and gorgeous moment of mothering. Of life.

My son and I offer Mommy and Me Yoga classes to our southern Florida community. He’s a wonderful assistant. When he’s not wandering the room or nursing, he demonstrates the poses at hand very well.

“What does the snake say?” I ask him as we rest on our bellies preparing to practice cobra pose.

“Ssssss…” he answers.

Together, we all make this sound on the exhale.

Clearly, Mommy and Me Yoga is not a regular yoga class. Babies are held, carried through the standing sequence, and enjoy moments of belly time. Toddlers wander in and out of focusing on the flow. Mothers who nurse take breaks when little ones seek the breast. At times, I lead the flow while holding my nursing toddler. For thirty minutes, we make room for this mothering-yoga mix.

At times, Mommy and Me Yoga involves being present to a good quantity of chaos. How do we as mothers keep our hearts open to our child's explorative energy? How do we keep our attention calm and mindful of breath in the midst of playful or fussy noise? 

Then, magic unfolds. The voices of mothers join in song. Children are quiet. They sense the shift in energy. A peaceful and calm stillness descends. Yes, this is the heart of Mommy and Me Yoga. We bond with our children. We "yoke" together our breath, hearts, motherhood, and practice.

On the drive home, my son watches trucks zoom by. Suddenly, he pauses and puts his hands together to “Om”. Yoga with a 19-month-old keeps my heart brilliantly happy.

With gratitude, I bow to the sun.

 

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