Mama talks... instincts

“A woman knows by intuition or instinct, what is best for herself” Marilyn Monroe

Instincts can be loud or quiet, subtle or specific, and they can show up gradually or suddenly. They can whisper away to us in the background about which choices to make, or they can scream at us, a rabbit in the headlights, to run the other way.

But mums often say to me that their instincts feel a bit buried. That they used to trust themselves, but now they’re just confused. That they just don’t know if they’re doing a good enough job at this parenting game, and if not, how to make it better.

We struggle with instincts as parents because we’re told a million contradictory things about how we should be bringing up our children. Everyone has an opinion and they’re not afraid to voice it. There’s just too much noise in the system and it’s too loud to be able to hear our own internal whispering wisdom from our guts and hearts.

We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that all these so-called experts know more about our own bodies and babies than we do. Many years ago, when villages still existed and wisdom was passed directly from woman to woman, before parenting became such a micro-managed industry and before technology and social media were eating up all our attention and dulling our senses, maternal instincts were a tad more available. Our big, heavy, constantly switched-on brains try to convince us that they always know what’s what, and what’s best, but there’s a very clever brain inside both your heart and your gut too, and it’s really worth a listen.

“Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie” Oprah Winfrey

So let’s work on quietening the noise of those unhelpful, repetitive thoughts so that we can be still for long enough to tune into our instinctive feelings. So much more is possible from a place of focused calm than from a place of noisy chaos.

We’re hearing this week from the wonderful Zoe Donkin, founder of The Hypnobirthing Place in South East London. Zoe believes that a positive birth experience is the best way to start life as a mother. She also spreads more than just good vibes, by donating some of her proceeds to charities supporting safe births. She gives expectant couples the practical tools they need to have a calm, smooth birth, and helps them to take some pressure off themselves, so that they can feel strong and empowered, however the birth goes.

The below is taken from Zoe’s own blog, and you can read the full post (along with lots of other brilliant reflections) here.

Do it your way

I am on a mission.

I want to help mums-to-be to trust their instincts in pregnancy. To know that they are in the best possible position to know exactly what they and their baby need. To be themselves. Because as a mother, this is the most important thing of all.  

I want to help dads and birth partners understand that they too have important instincts, to protect their partner and baby and that they play a vital role in pregnancy and birth, just as they will as a dad.  

I want to help my Hypnobirthing couples feel confident in their choices and approach. To help them work together to find out what works best for them and their baby and to do what feels right for them. Once they know what the Hypnobirthing tools are, they can make them their own, and it often works best when they do.  

I have recently created a new relaxation exercise which is all about bringing in more compassion and kindness to pregnancy and birth. Helping to take the pressure off and go with the flow instead. This is about tuning into your resources and acknowledging that you have an inner strength and flexibility, meaning you can adapt to circumstances if you need to. Because if circumstances change, choices might need to change.  

Why is this so important? Because I don’t want a single Hypnobirthing mum to feel that she has failed in any way if her birth has not gone ‘to plan’. I want her to feel proud of herself no matter what. Any birth is natural, whether it is vaginal or assisted. It is your body giving birth to your baby.  

This is also really important for motherhood. Because sometimes a baby will do what you want or hope them to do, and sometimes they won’t. Being able to adapt to whatever the moment brings is the only way to enjoy it.  

As Jools Oliver puts it: “Keep calm and carry on! I never listened to any advice anyone ever gave me so I say, do it your own way”.

If you can believe that you intuitively know what is best for you and your baby, you will find yourself walking on more solid ground. And take it from me, it’s much easier to push a buggy that way.