A big part of what I do is making sure parents have access to information. It sounds so simple, but these days, not always that straightforward.
When I say information, I mean factual information, evidence based research and quality information that is relevant to them. Why? Because anything else is unhelpful and potentially hurtful.
Which brings me to the current situation we are in. In the midst of a storm, we can not deny things are a little unusual now, and particularly difficult for our global and individual mental health. Way more people are suffering from high levels of anxiety and stress than they are of the C virus. And you wonderful mums growing our future inside your wombs, well, let's just say your mama bear instinct will be in full roaring mode.
Why are we so anxious?
We've been told it's a pandemic and it's in our countries, not somewhere foreign and remote. It's unpleasant for some, deadly for a minority and almost unnoticeable for others. But obviously we focus on the deadly part. Why? Because that's the main thing the media underline. Although most of us are well aware that way more people die of other things everyday (including air pollution related illnesses at a rate of 5 people/per hour!!!), our brain is focusing on this virus and its impact. It is everywhere. TV, Facebook, Instagram, radio, newspapers, emails, conversations... And we're about to go into lockdown. So literally everything is pointing towards the big CV. So our Autonomic Nervous System, which automatically regulates our body's response to our environment and thoughts, is getting the message over and over again that we are in danger. And so what does our ANS do? It pumps out Adrenaline and Cortisol and our survival mode kicks in so we can kick the shit out of CV. We are in a state of stress, ready to fight or run away. Sooooo, that's not gonna help us much in this situation. But this reaction is completely normal, natural and healthy! It means you're human, yay!, and alive, yay again! So honour it, respect it and now you know why you feel so anxious, let's see what we can do that will actually help us out.
Our survival mode is what we call the Sympathetic System. It's great if you are in imminent danger (ie. there's a bear checking you out and he looks peckish) but not so great in most other situations.
When in the sympathetic state, we tend to get stuck in a negative loop, constantly looking out for things that may harm us so we can avoid them. It is also meant to be a short term response, not something we stay in for long periods of time. But if you keep checking your feed and the tv, you're literally feeding your mind with the stuff that's fuelling your anxiety. By limiting your exposure, you will greatly reduce your stress levels. That's the first step. You can even get someone to tell you anything important if you want to do a proper detox. Just keep your support networks open. This is not being in denial (acceptance is a key step to go through when dealing with anything like this), it's self preservation. Unnecessary negative continuous input is damaging to your mental health.
The second easiest and most efficient way to remain in your calm state is to breathe. Using a conscious breath will bring you back into your body, calm your mind and ground you. Calming the nervous system is what mindfulness, spending time in nature, yoga and breath work is all about. Hypnotherapy guided meditations are a great way to do this too. So listen to your tracks mamas!
I also highly encourage you to write. Writing down your worries, fears and your ''mind vomit'' as my little brother calls it, literally frees you from said vomit.
When you understand why your mind and body are reacting the way they are, you can pretty much adapt to anything. Using different techniques that ground and calm you will speed up that process. Do whatever makes you feel good!
Knowledge is power. Knowing yourself, check. Now, we need to get an understanding of what's going on outside.
Just like birth, life is unpredictable, full of uncertainty. But the more we know, the better we are prepared, the calmer we are. When you have facts and quality research, you feel strong and confident. The same goes today.
Here is a list of resources you can use concerning CV. All these websites offer up to date information that is evidence based.
*The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website: https://www.rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy
*The Center for Disease Control and Prevetntion: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
*World Health Org
*Aviva Romm MD https://avivaromm.com/category/covid-19/
*Evidence Based Birth
*Birth-Ed: Birth Partners and Covid19
Now you're armed with all the facts! BOOM.
You've calmed your mind, taken a walk and done some yoga. You know your rights and you understand this is all for the highest good of all of us. Isolation protects the not so strong members of our communities, it's a necessary sacrifice we are all willing to make to protect them.
Simply being pregnant means you're super strong, healthy and at peak vitality (I know it doesn't always feel that way!, but you are!). So be ok with this moment. however you feel right now. It's ok. I got your back.
Now read this to keep perspective and feel uplifted!: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/06/worrying-keep-coronavirus-in-perspective