Welcome to BALM
Somatic, body-based mindfulness for pregnancy, birth and parenthood
Hi, I’m Hilary. I’m a Mindfulness Teacher, Birth Educator and Doula. Welcome to this space!
As babies, we all come into the world with a fundamental biological need for safety and connection. When our caregivers are ‘attuned’ and provide us with a loving and secure base, we thrive and flourish. These early positive relational experiences shape and tone our nervous system for a sense of being ‘safe in our own skin’, a healthy home base from which to explore and grow.
But how can we be expected to connect and ‘attune’ with another human being if we’re not aware of what is going on moment to moment in our own mind, body and heart? From an early age, we are encouraged to ‘get into our heads’ and think our way through life. We leave our bodies again and again and become lost in thinking about past and future. This is so habitual that it feels normal but if we spend all our time on autopilot, rehearsing for the future or rehashing the past -planning, ruminating, worrying -we miss the unfolding present, the only moment we ever really have! It’s NOW, in this moment that our lives are actually taking place and only in the present can we connect with another, love, experience real happiness and feel fully alive.
Somatic mindfulness practice invites us to tune in to our bodies and our breath and become curious and interested in the constant flow of messages being communicated to us. This flow of information remains largely unconscious unless we practise tuning in to it. Learning to ‘wake up’ and be present is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice.
Why somatic mindfulness? Why now?
Somatic mindfulness is a proven way to reduce anxiety and increase well being. During pregnancy, expectant parents are more likely to become anxious or struggle with low mood - taking up a mindfulness practice at this time is a wonderful and empowering form of self care with both immediate and lasting benefits
Labour and birth
Mindful ‘embodied’ birth preparation has been proven to help women cope better with their birth, using less pain relief and reporting a more positive experience and less fear and worry.
Mindful birth and parenting preparation has also been shown to improve mental well-being post-birth, enabling for healthy parent-infant adjustment and less postnatal depression in the first year after birth. At a time when it’s so critical to be aware of and responsive to your baby’s cues and behaviours, the practice of tuning into your own internal landscape and understanding your own needs as a new parent is hugely beneficial
Birthing And Living Mindfully Antenatal Course
The BALM course offers a unique approach to antenatal education, preparing your mind, body and heart for a calmer and more grounded pregnancy and birth and for mindful ‘attuned’ parenting, as well as lifelong skills for resilience and well being.
Breathing for birth workshop
A three hour workshop for pregnant women and their partners. In this workshop we explore the intimate relationship between breath and birth. You are guided in practical techniques for harnessing the power of the breath to stay calm and grounded, working skilfully with the intense sensations of birth. This can be done as a stand alone birth preparation session or as a wonderful addition to standard birth education courses.
BALM Doula Services
A dedicated service supporting you and your partner through pregnancy, birth and the early days with your new baby. Bringing many years of experience, I am wholeheartedly committed to providing a safe and loving space for you to meet and nurture your baby. See my BALM Doula page for more information