How Meditation Can Help New Families
One of the things you notice, as you advance through your early life, is a marked changed in the content of your Facebook feed. Photos of neon-waving nights out start slowly disappearing, to be replaced by squishy newborns, perfect and glow-worm like in blankets.
It would be easy to think, looking at such benign little beings, that they don’t have it in them to utterly transform someone’s life from top to bottom, but that’s exactly what they do – barging into the world in perhaps the least considerate of manners before demanding all the love and attention that their precious and beautiful little souls deserve.
But despite the fact that our friends – and often our own parents – do their best to warn us about the realities of having kids, few people are truly prepared for the profound change that is unleashed when they start a family. For most, the transition can be a bit of a shock.
Add to this the pressure and worry that comes with having children, and the situation can become a strange and exhausting mixture of stress and elation. Once upon a time you could leave the house without so much as a second thought, but now you need an accessories bag roughly the size of Bermuda and a hefty dose of steely determination. Sleep also becomes a newly fraught activity – mainly in the fact that you’ll never actually get to do it
And it’s not like the never ending advice you can find on the Internet is much help either. Even he most innocuous of activities seems to be met with a chorus of “you shouldn’t be doing that! Do it this way!” and many people seem keen to parent from a distance, with the barrage of advice often becoming confusing and contradictory.
In all the maelstrom, meditation can be one way to find your place of calm, and give you the confidence to forge ahead in the way you think is best.
The benefits of meditation and pregnancy can positively influence both mother and baby, as meditation reduces stress hormones which can be picked up on by an unborn child, and it also makes you feel calmer and happier.
Any woman who’s been pregnant will know that hormones and moods can get – well, it’s probably best to say “distinctive” – during pregnancy. Meditation can balance you out, lessening the understandable stresses and worries that come with the prospect of motherhood.
And meditation can be a big help for expectant dads too. It isn’t always easy for soon-to-be fathers and their concerns can often be overlooked. The prospect of a huge life change looms large over every parent, and for men there’s the additional anxiety of seeing their partner and unborn child at this most vulnerable of moments – without being able to do much to help. Meditation can help you keep a lid on their fears, while also giving you the inner strength and stability needed to support your partner.
It Needn’t Take Up Too Much Time
In the hectic weeks after a birth there’s it can be hard to find the time to brush your teeth or wash shampoo out of your hair, so taking out time for meditation seems impossible. However, much like exercise, however much you can do will help. If the baby is off your hands for a little while, 20 minutes of meditation here and there can work wonders.
The “fight or flight” response is our bodies’ evolutionary method for dealing with life-threatening situations, and it sets off in times of stress. However, in the modern world this response is triggered more often than your body is designed to cope with, making your heart beat faster, flooding your system with stress hormones and neglecting non-essential functioning such as digestion to go into emergency mode.
This happens with even small stresses, and there are fewer times in life more stressful than new parenthood. Meditation calms down the area of the brain that initiates the fight or flight response so it reacts more appropriately, and lets you feel more serene.
Your Kids Can Join In
Once your kids get older, meditation is a great habit for them to practice. The ways in which it makes adults calmer and happier works for children too, and picking up such a healthy and beneficial practise early can stand them in good stead throughout their lives.