Can I tell you something? Just breathe.

by Juliette

When you are navigating the choppy waters of a rainbow pregnancy the last thing you need is someone telling you if you do X or Y it will help. 

How do they know? 

What if it won't?

One of my 'rules' as a midwife is to try to give as little unsolicited advice as I can to pregnant women. I'm really happy to chatter away (ask anyone who knows me) if I'm asked but pregnant women are so often on the receiving end of comments and advice of varying degrees of helpfulness I try very hard not to add my two penneth. This is especially true when I'm talking to women pregnant after loss.

That said....can I tell you just one thing that I pretty much completely and utterly know from somewhere really deep down inside me will help you. 

And that's if you remember to breathe.

And when I say remember I really mean it. 

Remember to breathe.

Intentionally, gently and deeply...breathe.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

And repeat.

If you can, every day find a quiet spot - sit still, with your spine upright and your shoulders, hands and face relaxed and decide to pay attention to your body breathing.

And it will help.

Here's why.

Mindfulness breathing:

Helps you stay in the moment: Anxiety and fear can either drag you into an unknown future or as a rainbow mummy recently told me "right back into the pain of the past". Anxious thought can be exhausting and makes you feel powerless to control what may or may not happen. Focusing your breathing roots you gently in the present moment.

Calms you: Panic and anxiety causes Adrenalin to be released into your blood stream. Your heart rate increases and so does your blood pressure. You feel hyper alert and tense or trapped and frozen. Although it may be difficult to do at first - deep relaxed breathing lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and tells you body you are ok. As you keep breathing slowly, gently and evenly you begin to lose some of the anxious, tense feelings.

Lets you focus on just one thing: Anxious and frightening thoughts tend to feel jumbled and as if they are continually multiplying. Taking your awareness to your breath and saying a simple phrase like "I am breathing in" as you inhale and "I am breathing out" as you exhale can let your mind rest on just one thing - those words - and your body will slowly feel more calm.

Can't be taken away from you: You can breathe deeply and evenly wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Feelings of panic and anxiety can be triggered by all sorts of things or seemingly nothing at all. Taking your awareness immediately to your breathing when you sense the first hints of anxiety may help you stay calmer and more peaceful. Your breath is always there - by focusing on it you can find that quiet place that is within you no matter where you find yourself physically, mentally or emotionally.

Shifts you out of your head... and into your body. Anxiety is felt very much in the body but fuelled by what's going on in our minds. All thoughts make us feel something however subtle and sometimes anxious feelings can lead onto even more anxious thoughts - and it can be a hard cycle to interrupt. We can try to think ourselves down from the ceiling but its often not a very successful strategy. Intentional focused breathing helps our awareness sink down from our busy minds into our bodies, connecting with who we are, allowing us to be kind to ourselves for a few moments and just be.



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