The transition to motherhood, along with it’s joys and challenges, provides a beautiful opportunity for growth and healing.
From preconception through pregnancy, birth and early mothering, we’re confronted with shifts and changes in our physical bodies, our emotions and our energy.
How we experience these shifts has the potential to influence our health and well being throughout life.
Within the how of our experience lies the thoughts and emotions (joy, sadness, excitement, fear, awe, frustration, ease, overwhelm..) that arise when we experience change and the sensations that arise within us when we experience these thoughts and emotions.
Imagine the difference in experience between two mothers who’ve recently birthed their babies into the world – one mom feeling filled with confidence & joy (“I’ve got this. This is hard but I’m confident in my instincts and abilities. I’m tired but feeling content and in awe of this experience. I know who I can ask for help when I need it.”) – one mom feeling filled with doubt & worry (“I’m so exhausted. My baby should be sleeping better, I must be doing something wrong. What if something’s wrong with my baby? There’s that tight feeling in my chest again, gosh it’s hard to get a breath, I can’t think clearly.”) And with these differing experiences, how might their physical and mental health be influenced?
The rapidly growing world of research in mind-body medicine is deepening and reinforcing our understanding of the impact that our thoughts and emotions have on our overall health. Psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology – the fancy name for this field of research – reflects the interconnection that our thoughts and emotions have with our brain, immune system and hormone health. And, the interconnections reach far beyond these systems to influence digestion and elimination, heart health, respiratory health, skin health.
Knowing the influence that our thoughts and emotions have on our health and well being, throughout life, what then can we do when our mothering experience is filled with the challenging thoughts and negative emotions?
Reach out for support. Call a trusted friend or family member. Make an appointment with a trusted health care provider. Connect with other Mamas in your local community.
Feeling in urgent need of mental health support? Call your local emergency mental health services – here in the Moncton area of NB at 866-771-7760 (anytime between 12pm and 10pm) OR the Chimo Helpline at 1-800-667-5005 (24 hours daily).
Explore Tapping. Also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), tapping is a wonderfully effective self care tool that blends the wisdom of Eastern traditions (using the acupuncture meridians), with modern mind-body medicine, for shifting the experience of negative thoughts and emotions.
Research has shown that tapping has been successfully used in clinical settings to reduce negative experiences of PTSD, phobias, specific anxieties, generalized anxiety, depression, weight control, physical pain, physical illness, and improve athletic performance. It also reduces experiences of stress, overwhelm, worry and fear.
There are 5 steps in a basic tapping process:
- Identify the thought/emotion to tap on, along with the sensations that are arising in your body.
- Rate the intensity you are experiencing the thought/emotion and the associated sensations. (0-10)
- Set Up
- Tapping Rounds
- Check in. What intensity are you experiencing the thought/emotion and associated sensations? Continue with more rounds of tapping until the intensity is 0-2.
The Tapping Points
The Set Up
During the set up, we acknowledge what is – what we are thinking and feeling – while tapping on the Karate Chop point, on the side of the hand.
“Even though I hear myself thinking __________ and I’m feeling ___________, I fully and completely love and accept myself.” (Repeated 3 times.)
Beginning with ‘Side of Eye’ we tap each point 6-10 times and continue to acknowledge our experience – the thoughts, feelings and sensations.
What might that look and sound like? Here are a few resources to explore:
Tapping Out Overwhelm – guided process with Brad Yates (6.5 minutes)
Tapping 101 – videos & guided processes via the team at The Tapping Solution
Tapping for Stress Relief – guided processes for clearing the experience of stress
I’ve also created a Fill in the Blanks Tapping Script for you to print and use for getting used to the process.
Looking for additional support on your mothering journey? Join us at the Om Mama Health Breastfeeding & Mothering Support Drop In, book a 1:1 appointment or connect with me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest).
xo Dr. Sarah