WELLBEING MONTH: Pregnancy and postnatal tips and offerings from Every Body Studio – Nine Months and Forty Days
Continuing Wellbeing Month here at Independent Oxford, Every Body Studio in St Clements Oxford bring us their top tips for the forth trimester, the first three months post birth, and chat to us about their upcoming forth trimester workshops for soon to be and new mothers.
It goes without saying that the postnatal period is life changing. But it is so profoundly so, and people giving birth are often thrown into this new reality with little support or information on what being a parent to a newborn is actually like. After the six-week check, many of us are left to navigate life with a new baby, a new body and an all-encompassing new job. It can feel overwhelming, lonely, frightening, even at the same time as it might feel exciting and wonderful. It’s certainly exhausting.
With Covid around, support networks are smaller, and the usual routine of baby classes, coffee shops and particularly in the cold weather, even seeing friends, are absent or diminished significantly. Often, parents put themselves last – when the best approach for everyone may be to prioritise the wellbeing of the parents – particularly the primary caretakers. We parent best when our own needs are met.
At Every Body studio, we are trying to help and we’ve handed over to Independent Oxford our five top tips for the postnatal period. This month we’re also hosting our fourth trimester workshop course online with Emily Carson (pictured above) from the 28th January. Read on to discover our top tips and find out more about Emily’s course…
1. What do I need most?
Just as you might make a list of birth preferences, it can be helpful to write down a few things that you’d like to put in place for life with a young baby, and discuss these with significant others – for example, if you’d really like to go for a walk alone a couple of times a week, it can be helpful to make a plan for this.
Even if you love cooking, you probably won’t have the time and energy all the time. You might not be able to see grandparents or friends, but they can drop food off at your door. It is super helpful to have a freezer full so that you have options, and it’s so lovely to have dishes cooked with love. There are also some great local (independent!) businesses like Taste Tibet which offer delivery of delicious family meals that you can just chuck in the freezer…
For pretty much every new parent sleep is a precious thing. Making a plan for this can also be helpful – you might decide to nap when the baby does, or you might prefer to arrange with your partner or bubble that they take the baby for a while each day so you can have a nap. Even twenty minutes can have a profound effect on your wellbeing!
4. Maintaining connections
Covid has scuppered our support network and structures, so how can you maintain connections with friends? Whether it’s a zoom chat (I know, I know) or a socially distanced walk, seeing a friendly face can really give you a boost.
5. Hormones and the mood boosting benefits of comedy
Before giving birth, it can be really helpful to read a funny book or watch your favourite comedy series – this gets all the good hormones flowing and can even make for a more relaxed birthing experience. Download a series or two onto your phone or tablet for the early postnatal period as well, then you’ve always got something mood boosting to hand to keep you entertained when sitting down for long periods.
How could our fourth trimester workshop help?
Workshop leader, Emily Carson is an experienced acupuncturist whose work centres around the menstrual cycle, pelvic health and post-partum care. If you’ve done NCT or a similar course, you might have learned a lot of information, but often the practicalities are the only things that new parents are given information on before having a baby.
This is where Emily’s course will be different – and uniquely supportive. It’s filled with ways you can find support after birth, but it’s also a place to gather with others. This is what we are all sorely missing, and if your partner is working, either in the room next door or further away, it can still feel lonely. Single parents especially may be lacking their usual support systems, and the absence of touch, a hug, or another pair of hands to take the baby should not be minimised. We all need support right now, and those with new babies and journeying through pregnancy particularly so.
As well Emily’s course, we also run a Saturday morning pregnancy yoga class – a class to guide you through movement, and use the breath, but also somewhere to connect with other parents going through the same thing as you, at the same time.
We also run postnatal classes – more than a yoga class, this is a place to check in, share any concerns and gently move your body. It’s a class focused on the parent rather than the child, because I believe the baby is getting everything they need – it’s often the birthing person who needs a little more taking care of.
If you’re interested in any of Every Body Studio’s classes or Emily’s course, please email them (firstname.lastname@example.org) or check out their website for further details. They offer generous discounts for NHS and key workers and can also provide postnatal and pregnancy classes free of charge if times are hard.
Emily Carson’s course Nine Months and Forty Days starts on Thursday January 28th at 5pm and runs for five weeks.