Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Oh Baby; A Mentally Fit Mama

The decision to become a mummy has always been a "big deal" to me and perhaps for very different reasons to the "normal" worries that come with making such a big, life changing decision.

I didn't want to start a family until I felt mentally fit, until I had worked through my own personal insecurities, anxieties and barriers, so that I could approach parenthood with an open and healthy mind, full of self love and care.

This may seem a bit "over the top" for many, but for someone who has suffered from severe depression in the past, I knew that traveling down that road was something I wanted to avoid again at all costs, and I knew that I was at a higher risk of falling ill  with postnatal depression because of my personal history.

So how did I know that the timing was right to start a family?

I just knew; like when you know that you're ready to be married or ready to make the next big commitment to move in together or to chase your dream.

I had grown to love myself, accept who I was as a person and the choices I had made and continue to make in life.

These sentences don't come easily, and they certainly don't come without years of tears, self doubt and criticism, worrying
about how on earth I'd cope without any sleep, terrified that i would fall into a heap and that I'd be lost in the uncertainties and concerns about my abilities to be a mummy.

Fortunately for me, I have developed my "bag of tricks" over the past 4 years since my "great depression."

Without a doubt, being active in my pursuit for mental fitness and learning to prioritise my health and resilience above everything else has given me the confidence to cease taking my depression medication and to trust that I'll be okay, because I have found genuine happiness by first loving myself.

While I didn't have to stop taking my medication when I fell pregnant, under careful guidance from my obstetrician, I chose to slowly wean myself off (and it's a good thing I did because I spewed throughout the first trimester and wouldn't have been able to keep it down anyway haha!)

For anyone who has ever suffered from depression, then you know what a huge decision that was to make, not only for myself but for my husband to be supportive too, given the reasons why I had started taking them in the first place.

But low and behold, I was fine...I didn't fall into a heap...I didn't dramatically go backwards or have anxiety attacks...I did however find myself super attuned to the signals my body was giving me, and at times probably over worried about tiredness and stress thinking oh jingos. ..is it coming back?

So how have I overcome my fear of my mental illness returning and how have I learnt to trust my intuition, to believe that I am enough, that I've got this, that my body is made to grow and birth a child and to learn to trust and know that I'll be the best possible mummy for our baby?

I have invested my time, money and energy into exercising and strengthening my mind and I have never felt healthier, happier and more energized in my life.

Here's some of the best choices I've made and couldn't recommend enough to other mummy's  who are keen to become mentally fit before bringing bubs  into this world.

1. I joined Mana Mamas,  a 6 week program run by the inspiring, caring and nurturing Ngahuia at the Mana Wellbeing Centre.... I seriously loved the experience so much!  If you're having a baby whether it's your first or 5th  time then I highly recommend investing and indulging in this special time to honor you as a mama,  to learn to calm your mind, trust your instincts, destress, mingle with other mamas, laugh at ngahulias  infectious personality, and take time for yourself to reflect and enjoy this incredibly special journey! Life remains busy when you're pregnant unless you choose to slow it down and create time just for you, to bond with bubs and enjoy the precious memories you're creating, like feeling bubs  kick!

2. My husband and I made the choice to bring our child into the world using techniques we're reading about in a hypnobirthing book, and attending sessions with our amazing hypnotherapist Chantelle, from Indigo Phoenix Hypnotherapy.

Our choice to learn and practise hypnobirthing was not about going al  la natural, instead, it was about creating an opportunity to remove fear from birthing and to remain calm whether we need a c section, gas or natural!

I am loving how involved my husband is in the lead up and  preparation for our babys grand arrival,  how empowering reading the info is, and how I'm being able to enjoy my pregnancy without the fear of bringing our baby into the world!

We read manuals before we drive, do our research before we buy our house and get to know our partners before we marry them so for me I thought, why not investigate  options to give us an opportunity to enjoy and prepare ourselves for the best possible birthing experience that we can create?

3. I begin each week with a 930 am  meditation class with the beautiful Emma from Breathe Balance. I love starting my week with an open, fresh mind.  N matter how tired and stressed I am when I first begin the session,  I always come out feeling empowered and energized. 

4. I listen to a short 5-7 minute meditation each day using the Free Mind The Bump APP created by Beyond Blue, usually just before bed to whinde down from my day and to enjoy the calmness it brings.

5. I am eating healthier then I ever have in my life...I must admit that this isn't by choice (haha!) my baby and body is completely off sugar and is instead craving healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, scrambled eggs, oranges, water, meat, vegetables....okay and maybe chicko rolls, chicken burgers and anything savory haha but mostly nutritious food!  I can't believe the difference it has made to my energy levels, and despite the different sleep patterns my body is creating (first breakfast at 5am,  second at 7am  and third at 9th! ), I'm feeling great! 

6. I'm reading blog posts and stories that empower mama's  (and avoiding the scary ones about horrific birthing stories and "advice" for mum's which usually end up scaring the pants off of you!) My most favorite blogger is Amy from Happy Mama! 

7. I invest in creating time to kick back on the couch and do a guilt free big fat nothing despite all of the nesting I could be doing!

8. I surround myself with positive, influential and inspiring women who share similar beliefs about empowering ourselves to be healthy and happy mama's  and who respect and support the decisions we're making on our journey to parenthood.

9. I take very big, conscious, full belly breathes. 

10. I have chosen to work part time. Part time obviously means less money, but it also means that I have time to nest, I have time to go on lunch date's with my beautiful friends and family which I know is about to become a little more challenging,  and I have time to go to all of my appointments without the stress of asking for more time off.

Above all, I have chosen to create time to put myself and my mental health first,  because I know first hand, that I can't be a loving wife, caring friend, efficient work mate, loyal family member or patient and resilient mummy if I don't. 

This is just a snapshot of a few of the tools I have stashed away in my toolbox to help me to stay mentally fit.

I would love to know how you look after yourself and what tricks you've found to keep yourself fit whilst on on the journey to parenthood!

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty  xxx

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