Bringing a new life into this world can undoubtedly be a happy time. From decorating the nursery to picking out adorable baby clothes, the anticipation of your little one's arrival is filled with excitement. However, what often remains unspoken are the challenges that can follow once your baby is born. Post-birth, many mothers grapple with feelings of low mood, excessive worry, sleep troubles, and the constant exhaustion that accompanies motherhood. Sadly, societal expectations often compel mothers to "push through" these struggles in silence, making them feel like personal failures. But what if there's a better way to navigate this journey? It's time to explore a more compassionate and effective approach to this transformative journey.
We recently had a conversation with Maria Magnuson, a seasoned counsellor and yoga instructor who runs Maria Marino Counselling and Yoga in Traralgon, Gippsland. With a Master of Counselling from Monash University and Level 1 Yoga Teacher, Maria has had extensive experience working with mothers grappling with the challenges that come with their new roles. We were eager to gain her insights on this topic!
In this blog post, we delve into how yoga and meditation can be transformative for mothers during their postpartum experience.
Q1: Can you share how yoga can benefit mothers during their postpartum journey?
Absolutely! Yoga offers incredible benefits for mothers in the postpartum phase. It helps us embrace our emotions, trust our judgment, accept our changing bodies, and prioritise much-needed rest. The practice of mindfulness-based yoga encourages us to acknowledge and sit with all our emotions, even the uncomfortable ones. This means you can take short "check-ins" during your day, acknowledging and accepting your feelings, whether it's stress, crankiness, or tiredness. The key is not to suppress these emotions but to make space for them through deep breathing. We don’t have to like the emotion we’re feeling, but we can accept it!
Q2: How can mothers incorporate yoga into their busy lives with a newborn?
I understand that new mothers are often incredibly busy. Yoga doesn't have to be a lengthy, candle-lit practice in complete silence. You can integrate it into your daily routine. During your emotional "check-in," also consider what your body needs at that moment. It might be a brief stretch, a short walk, or simply taking a moment to breathe deeply with your hand on your heart.
Q3: What role does trust play in a mother's postpartum journey, and how does yoga promote self-trust?
Trust is paramount during the postpartum period. Mothers often have a keen sense of when they're struggling, but they might not receive validation from healthcare providers or family members. Yoga teaches us to respect our limits and trust our instincts. During your emotional "check-in," in addition to identifying your feelings, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Trust yourself when you need to rest or say "no" to additional visitors, for example.
How does yoga help mothers accept their changing bodies post-pregnancy?
Pregnancy and childbirth can have a significant impact on a woman's body, and it's crucial to embrace these changes. In yoga, we learn to accept our bodies on any given day, understanding that our capabilities may vary. On some days, we might be more nimble and flexible, while on others, we may need gentler movements.
At home practice: Move your body in ways that are kind and nurturing. Simple practices such as taking a stretch, going for a short walk or even placing a hand on your heart and breathing deeply are effective.
Why is rest essential for mothers, and how can yoga support this need?
Society often glorifies busyness, sometimes to the detriment of our well-being. Yoga, on the other hand, encourages us to move slowly, gently, and mindfully. Restorative yoga is particularly beneficial for recharging. During your busy day, take just five minutes to indulge in a reclined twist or elevate your legs against a wall. You can also find short, guided meditations online, which can be as effective as a two-hour nap!
The journey into motherhood is a transformative one, filled with both joy and challenges. While society often places an emphasis on the well-being of the baby, it's equally important to focus on the physical and emotional health of mothers.
Yoga and meditation provide invaluable tools for mothers to navigate their postpartum journey with self-compassion, self-trust, and acceptance of their changing bodies. By incorporating these practices into their daily lives, mothers can find a new way of managing life after birth—one that prioritizes their well-being and supports them in becoming the best version of themselves.
Top 5 key practices you can start today to help you on your journey:
1. Practice Regular "Check-Ins":
Take moments during your day to pause, breathe deeply, and tune into your emotions. If you're feeling stressed, cranky, or tired, acknowledge these emotions. Accepting them, even if they're uncomfortable, is the first step in managing them effectively.
2. Trust Your Own Judgment:
Listen not only to your feelings but also to what your body is telling you during emotional "check-ins." Trust yourself when you need to rest or when it's necessary to say 'no' to additional visitors. Your instincts are valuable.
3. Embrace Your Changing Body:
Pregnancy and childbirth bring significant changes to your body. Practice kindness by moving it gently. Simple practices like stretching, short walks, or deep breathing exercises can help you feel more connected to your body.
4. Prioritise Rest:
In a society that often glorifies busyness, prioritize restorative practices. Take short breaks during your day for gentle, mindful movement. Consider practices like a reclined twist, legs-up-the-wall pose, or a brief guided meditation. These moments of rest can be as effective as a long nap, rejuvenating your body and mind.
5. Reach Out for Support:
If you need more guidance, don't hesitate to seek help. Connect with experts like Maria Magnuson at Maria Marino Counselling and Yoga for personalised support in yoga and meditation techniques. Seeking professional assistance is a powerful step toward enhancing your postpartum well-being.
If you'd like to explore these topics further or seek personalised guidance in yoga and meditation techniques, feel free to reach out to Maria via her listing by CLICKING HERE.