Working mindfully with pregnancy and childbirth


Like any big life transition, becoming a parent brings with it a whole range of uncertainty and changes that can challenge even the most emotionally stable of us.

Even when the child is planned and dearly wanted, concerns regarding how you'll cope financially, what cost this may have on your career, how this will change your relationships, and what this will mean to your own level of personal freedom may all challenge your ability to welcome the many changes that will soon be coming your way.

Those who know me, know that I am weeks away from welcoming my first child, and this imminent birth has seen a raft of changes to my life.

At times it can feel like all that is familiar and seemingly certain has fallen away to be replaced by uncertainty and vulnerability.

What can mindfulness contribute to these kinds of significant life transitions?

Engaging with life from what we call "beginner's mind" allows us to see the commonplace and familiar with fresh eyes, and this can be enormously useful. Old ways of thinking and being are comfortable and familiar, but don't always serve us well, and at times can be real hindrances to growth and healing.

Cultivating a quality of beginner's mind allows us to bring a sense of curiosity to each moment as it arises, and to acknowledge the present moment for what it is: new, unique and ever changing.  |n this state, we can be aware of our hopes and desires, without rigidly clinging to any particular outcome. This lays the groundwork for mental resilience and flexibility.

If we can adopt a mindful approach to managing the uncertainty of significant life transitions, which will inevitably include holding space for the fear that naturally arises, new worlds and ways of being can emerge. This requires courage and faith, and can be easier said than done, at times. But remaining mindfully aware of life's challenges as they arise, and our natural tendencies to grasp at the familiar and safe, allows us to treat ourselves kindly in situations of uncertainty, and make room for life to unfold as it will.

Have you struggled with a significant change or life transition? And if so, what has been helpful in dealing with the challenges that arise at this time?