Woman sits on floor with back to camera cuddling a baby.

Mindful Motherhood is a new COVID-safe program run face-to face over eight weeks.

10 September 2020

Having a baby is a challenging experience at the best of times. Having a baby during a pandemic takes that to a whole new level — especially when many of the traditional face-to-face programs that are life savers to new mums aren’t available. Enter: Mindful Motherhood.

This new COVID-safe program is run face-to face over eight weeks and aimed at increasing the understanding of mindfulness in new mothers or mums-to-be as a tool to build confidence and skills to cope with stress.

Benefits like emotional balance and responding appropriately to children’s emotions are all part of the package.

Based on the international program and bestselling book Mindful Motherhood by Cassandra Vieten, this program focuses on mindful parenting and enhancing the connection between the adult and the child through the adult focusing on being calm, present and attuned to their baby. This group is run under the care of facilitators from Gungahlin Child and Family Centre, Sally Duncan and Jane De Salis.

Yoga is a key part of each session, taught by Michelle Langshaw – a 16-year veteran of the mums and bubs yoga scene. Michelle focuses on mindful movement with the mothers, helping them to be present, and to explore their bodies leading up to and soon after birth, and connect with them again.

Inside a serene, sunny room adorned with bright playmat carpets and a welcoming tree mural, relaxed music plays and mums rock, cuddle and feed bubs. Some of the yoga movements are done with bub, supporting them to come into the practice, tuning into them and their breathing.

“These moves are done with the eyes open, to feel the sense of connection. The calmer we are, the more it supports the baby, so it’s important to tune into yourself,” Michelle said.

Michelle’s sentiment speaks to the name and heart of Mindful Motherhood.

“Mindful parenting is important to all the programs here. For new mothers, it’s important to find the ability to manage in moments where there are circumstances you can’t change,” Jane said.

Mindful Motherhood doesn’t teach specific parenting strategies but has the overarching theme of being mindful and present, something that benefits all aspects of parenting.

Sam and her 15-week old son, James, have been attending for five weeks.

“I’ve learned not to get stressed at the moments James is upset, because he’s only trying to let me know he needs something,” Sam said.

Ann attends the group with her six-month-old son Ari.

“The program has helped to centre me. Ari is my fourth child, and life can be crazy. Now I see how I can take a step back and be more present,” Ann said.

The Child and Family Centres have also adapted the Circle of Security program to provide it online to support Canberra families during COVID-19.

The Circle of Security program is relationship-based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents/caregivers and children.

Providing Circle of Security online ensures Canberra families continue to have support to develop confident parenting skills and understand and recognise their child’s emotional needs.

For more information on Mindful Motherhood at Gungahlin and the upcoming sessions at the Child and Family Centres, call Gungahlin Child and Family Centre on 6207 0120 or for information on Circle of Security visit the website.

All Canberra

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