Emotional support in pregnancy using flower essences
Emotional Support in Pregnancy
Throughout our pregnancy and journey into motherhood, our emotions can be heightened due to fluctuating hormones and the prospect of many changes taking place in our lives; our body shape changing, our identity as a woman, our career path and sometimes becoming a mother affects our closest relationships with our friends and loved ones in different ways. All this change happening on many levels can contribute towards feelings of apprehension, anxiety, excitement and fear towards the unknown.
Sometimes pregnancy and motherhood can stir up childhood memories (both happy and sad) and our deepest feelings around being a mum and our relationship to our own parents’ can all begin to surface as our pregnancy journey continues.
For some, these emotions may be experienced in the realm of our dreams and for others we may find that we just become more irritable towards our loved ones or cry a little more freely than what we would usually.
Our unique experience can be a roller coaster of emotions, but this does not have to be a negative aspect to our journey, we can use these emotions to navigate us through if allowed to be expressed; they can become our allies and guidance system, they can lead us to deeper aspects of ourselves that perhaps we have not accessed before.
Our emotions can also help remind us that pregnancy is a time to be able to nurture, nourish and listen to ourselves and our changing needs. It can be an invitation to make room for another aspect of our journey as a woman that we are entering into and to value this time in our lives.
So much emphasis is put on our physical well-being in pregnancy, in terms of making sure that we are eating the right nutrients in our diet and nourishing mother and growing baby, but emotional well-being is just as an important part of pregnancy care.
Any stress that we are mentally and emotionally experiencing can indirectly affect our body’s internal environment. How we are perceiving our life experiences will contribute to the body producing physiological changes in order to help us cope with stress via our autonomic nervous system, the body’s flight or fight response.
The autonomic nervous system functions automatically to regulate our body systems a little like a thermostat; having a role in blood pressure, breathing function, heart rate, digestion, andrenalin secretion and more. It is split into two parts; the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic is the fear/flight response where andrenalin flows to increase heart rate, respiratory rate, dilate our pupils, blood vessels.. all ready to respond to any perceived danger or threat. The para sympathetic part is the opposite; this is our rest and repair response which is responsible for diverting the blood and energy in towards our major organs, it conserves our energy. Heart rate and breathing slow down and we are less alert’. It aids in stimulating digestion and filtering the blood and lymphatic system. When our bodies are in this mode it allows everything to find balance and heal.
A healthy level of stress can be quite productive and enable us to have more focus and drive when achieving things but what is crucial is that we recognize when we have gone into overdrive and lost the ability to be able to relax in our down time and therefore our body may still be continuing to operate in fight/flight mode. Too much stress can be detrimental to our well being and contribute towards digestive issues, muscular aches and pains, headaches to name but a few. Often this begins at the level of our thinking; what thoughts we are thinking to ourselves throughout the day can determine our levels of stress. Mindfulness is a very good tool to have in your pregnancy tool kit to practice being in the moment and creating some distance between the constant chatter in our minds and creating awareness so we can observe the type of thoughts we are having (stressful, negative, positive etc).
There are many ways to manage stress and support ourselves emotionally throughout pregnancy; support groups, mindfulness, hypno birthing techniques, pregnancy massage, talking to trusted friends, keeping a pregnancy journal to name but a few. Flower essences can be a natural and safe way to provide emotional support and to help navigate ourselves through any rocky tumultuous feelings that may arise throughout pregnancy, birth and transition into motherhood.
Flower essences were initially discovered and brought to the forefront in the UK by leading pioneer Dr Edward Bach, an English doctor and bacteriologist in the 1930s; he developed the well known ‘rescue remedy’ that is commonly sold in Boots and health food shops over the UK. Since then other flower essences have been developed and retailed worldwide such as Findhorn and Australian Bush Flower Essences.
Flower essences are based on an old age philosophy; Doctrine of Signatures; which is a concept that a plant/flowers healing capacity can be determined by examining the shape, smell, colour and natural habitat or environment of the growing flower. Flower essences are made by capturing a flower’s unique healing pattern (or vibration) by placing the flower in direct sunlight, immersed in water. The flower’s healing essence is then transferred to the water by the electromagnetic rays of the sunlight. The water is then retained and used as containing the healing essence of the flower. Flower remedies are commonly made into tinctures and used as drops on the tongue.
They are a safe, gentle and natural way to support your emotional well-being and have been likened to a gentle ‘catalyst’ to help one resolve and move through emotional and mental blocks in our lives. In my personal experience taking flower remedies can help to assist you in feeling more able to cope and allow you to come back into balance in the most natural way.
My personal favorite flower essences that I commonly prescribe my clients throughout their pregnancy, labour and post-natal recovery period are from the Australian Bush Flower Essence range, I have always witnessed and experienced great feedback from my clients so I continually use to support them through their journey into motherhood.
Below are some examples of the most common essences that I prescribe;
Emergency Essence – I send every pregnant client of mine in to their labour with a bottle of this (maybe more for my peace of mind than there’s!). Used for fear, panic and emotional distress and I have found it to support someone’s ability to cope. Helpful for birth partner to take throughout labour if needed.
Bottlebrush – I have had amazing results with prescribing this flower remedy for women that are passed there due date and feel very apprehensive towards the upcoming labour and at the initial stages of labour. It can support a person to let go and is very useful in periods of transitions, and also addresses mother/child bonding.
Dog Rose – Belief in one self, courage and confidence (for childbirth and also being a mother).
Calm and Clear – to support you in unwinding, going inwards, coping with change, transition and worry. Can help with poor sleeping patterns. Ideal for the end of your third trimester and you are feeling some anxiety around the upcoming birth.
Woman Essence – helps to support a woman’s emotional balance and harmonises her natural cycle after childbirth.
For more information on flower essences and other holistic well being tips visit www.hippiemama.co.uk, for information on the Australian Bush Flower essences; www.ausflowers.com. For a personalised flower essence consultation visit www.karenlouisebell.co.uk
Images used are supplied courtesy of Australian Bush Flower Essences, subject to copywright.