These past few months, I have been my own Sophrologist, guiding myself through various sessions to keep stress in check throughout my pregnancy. I am about 8 weeks away from welcoming Babou into the world now and I feel the need to step up my game and start preparing for the birth of my baby.
Being a practitioner myself is very handy but I also think it is limiting in some ways. I am a pretty calm and positive person overall but that doesn’t mean I do not have ups and downs, doubts and fears. Talking them through and facing them with the help of another person is much more powerful than doing it alone.
Like any other pregnant woman, I am affected by the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy and my life will change the minute I give birth to our bundle of joy. That’s a pretty overwhelming process for anyone.
A few weeks ago, I reached out to my colleague Brigitter Rinner who is also a Sophrologist to ask if she would be happy to support me through the last few weeks of pregnancy and help me prepare for the new journey to come.
She kindly accepted. I had my first session this morning. What a joy to be guided by someone else, it had been a while since it’d happened. I could properly immerse myself into the practice and relax fully into it.
We started with a consultation, as you always do in Sophrology and I shared with Brigitte my pregnancy journey so far, my ‘birth plan’ and what I would like to work on. The past few days had been pretty high in emotions for me as I realised how soon we will be entering our new life as parents, a life full of big responsibilities.
These intense few days made me aware of a couple of fears – or maybe I should say ‘worries’ – that I didn’t know I had. I entered Brigitte’s consultation room with the intention of releasing these.
My first fear or worry is to do with birth itself. My wish is to birth our little babou with the minimum use of drugs as possible in a midwifery led birthing unit. I feel confident I have the resources within myself to welcome him calmly and serenely into the world. We visited the birthing unit yesterday and it only reinforced my wish to have baby there. At the 20-week scan, they told me I had a low risk pregnancy overall and it shouldn’t be a problem for me to use the birthing unit as long as my placenta had moved up by then because it was showing a bit low. Apparently, in most cases, the placenta does move up but I won’t know whether it has before I have had my 36-week scan on 17th April. If it hasn’t moved up by then, I will have to go to the maternity ward and very likely prepare myself for a caesarian.
Before I got pregnant, I didn’t think Caesarians were a big deal. Now I am expecting a baby, my view has drastically changed. It has actually come to me as a surprise how strongly I feel about it. I must admit, it scares me and I want to do everything in my power to avoid it. I do reason with myself and I know it will have to be the way to do it if it’s needed and what matters most is my health and my baby’s health at the end of the day. But it really wouldn’t be ideal. I think I would be disappointed with myself.
So one of the things I am working on with Brigitte through Sophrology is on developing my adaptation skills to any birth scenario, my ability to let go, embrace change and be gentler with myself.
The other element I would like to address is to mentally prepare myself for motherhood. Up until now, my focus had mainly been on the birth itself… but what about afterwards? In a snap, you enter a whole new life, you are responsible for this precious little creature you don’t have a clue how to care for and your team of two, you and your partner, is now a team of three. That’s bound to shake up your world a bit… or massively, even. I don’t feel ready for it and through the beautiful techniques of Sophrology, I am hoping for a smooth and positive transition into parenthood.
With these aspects in mind, we agreed on three sessions as I already know the basics of the method. I told Brigitte I will probably book a fourth one after I have had my 36-week scan depending on the placenta situation and birth scenario prognosis.
So there we went, embarking on our first session. I sat with my back straight against the comfy sofa, my head resting on the pillow and closed my eyes. I focused on my breathing for a moment, taking ten mindful breaths to bring my awareness into the present moment and into my body.
Immediately, I started feeling quite nauseous and heavy. Until now, I hadn’t really voiced any of the anxieties I talked about above and I think I physically reacted to it. Bringing them to light and to my full awareness made me feel a bit sick. It didn’t last for long though.
I started scanning my body from head to toe. Every time I breathed out, I released the tension in each part of my body. By the time I reached my thoracic cage, a wave of relaxation started flowing through me. It was as if someone had popped the bubble of heaviness I was carrying around me and I felt suddenly empty, in a good way. I reached my toes and I felt calm and light, I could sense more space inside my body.
In this state of relaxation, Brigitte encouraged me to carry on using my breath and release any negativity, discomfort or worry on each out-breath. I acknowledged the fears I had been holding for a few days and I gave myself the permission to put them aside for a moment. I didn’t try to get rid of them, I looked at them with compassion and allowed myself to let them be for the time being.
I could mostly feel them in my head and face, clogging up the space and every time I breathed out, my brain became clearer and lighter.
Following these techniques, I connected with the vital sensations in my body, what’s positive and what’s functioning well within myself rather than what’s impacting me negatively. Little one started moving like mad in my abdomen enhancing my awareness of this life flowing through me and also growing inside of me.
(Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to read about my uterus and other bits!)
My focus then moved onto my reproductive system. The idea of heightening the awareness and perception of the organs of this system is to be able to actively relax them during labour and ease the birth of the baby. I was surprised how clearly I could visualise my uterus and feel its outline. Babou’s active movements definitely helped. I often joke about how I imagine him reorganising his home in there and having a spring clean. As a result, I saw my uterus very clean, supple and pink. I visualised the placenta having moved up just enough to enable me to have a natural birth. I will spare you the details of the rest of the reproductive system. I became fully aware of the active role I have in inducing a deep state of relaxation of these organs and how handy it will be during labour in-between contractions.
I took a precious moment to connect with Babou and communicate with him through touching my abdomen and talking to him in my mind. I sent him waves of love, warmth and energy. I told him that I hoped he could feel how precious he is to us already and that his dad and I are looking forward to welcoming him into our little team. I asked him to carry on growing as nicely and steadily as he is until then. Babou and I promised each other to keep working hand in hand in the next few weeks for a peaceful pregnancy and a gentle birth. He moved under my hands and I imagined him giving me a high-five as if saying “YES mummy, we can do this!”.
I felt very moved coming back to the room. I left Brigitte’s consultation room feeling calmer and a step closer to embracing whatever change or situation that will come my way in the near future.
I am looking forward to session 2.