Like incalculable women before me it is with some trepidation that I make the transition from pregnancy into the postnatal period. Pregnancy is something I know really well and is the source of fulfilment and satisfaction. Pregnancy is a time that I love and find so immensely rewarding that I can’t imagine how the postnatal period will even begin to compare. ‘It’s going to be really tough’ I have been told. ‘It’s nothing like pregnancy, once there are babies involved things will never be the same again’ ‘It’s completely unpredictable, your plans will all go out of the window’. Such doom and gloom almost puts me off…
You see I do have a choice in all of this as I myself am not actually pregnant!
I have been a NCT Yoga for Pregnancy teacher for many years now and my confidence in what I do is strong and my passion greater than ever before. I feel that my work makes a real difference to the women I work with both while they are attending the classes and also for their birth experiences. Expanding my practice into the postnatal period with Mother and Baby Yoga almost feels like starting from scratch. Why would I want to make such a transition? Why would I want to step beyond what works well and is enjoyed by so many women during their pregnancies? Why don’t I just set up another Yoga for Pregnancy class if I want to work more? These were just some of the questions that family, friends and colleagues asked me (and believe me I asked myself the same things, plus so much more!)
It feels a bit like when I started offering hypnobirthing classes with Natal Hypnotherapy. At that time my sense was that a piece of my ‘pregnancy puzzle’ was missing and incorporating this hypnobirthing approach into my work made it complete. And now it feels like my ‘yoga puzzle’ is incomplete. Women come to classes, have their babies, come back to visit for ‘show & tell’ or to one of our social coffee mornings and then they move on to Baby Massage, Postnatal Yoga and any number of other offerings within their local community. I was asked more times than I can count whether I did postnatal yoga classes for mother and baby – the answer was a resounding ‘no’.
That has now changed – a training course with Birthlight and some additional study with NCT Relax & Stretch with Baby means that I now feel ready and willing to make my own personal transition. I am not leaving Pregnancy Yoga behind however, just adding another thread to my loom. As Doran & Hornibrook (2013) explain women seem to hugely benefit from the group support and experiences that both pregnancy and postnatal yoga offer and to be able to combine the two, being able to walk alongside women for longer as they make their own journeys felt like a gift I could not ignore. How fantastic it is to be able to offer women protected time to share with their babies where they can interact and play at the same time as gently stretching their body after the birth. Pregnancy works on opening and making space for the baby to grow whereas Relax & Stretch with Baby works on ‘closing’ and reclaiming the body once more. Women also get the opportunity to spend quiet relaxing time with their baby as well as sharing songs and rhymes – what could be better?
Things will never be the same again – but I wouldn’t expect them to be. There will be challenges, frustrations together with sheer joy and delight. I can’t wait…
NCT Relax & Stretch with Baby is at Holt Village Hall, The Street, Holt, Wiltshire and if you are not local to Holt you can find pregnancy and postnatal courses in your own local area on the main NCT website: NCT Course Finder – enjoy!