I recently subscribed to one of those food recipe subscription boxes. I needed inspiration in the kitchen. Nine weeks into lockdown and there was only so far I could stretch my culinary repertoire. It had the tagline ‘’Healthy meals in under 30 mins – all ingredients delivered to your door’’ – It sounded like just what I needed.

I’m not going to bore you with a step by step account of what happened in the kitchen that evening – but just know that 30 mins turned into 90 and I was cursing each and every one of those damn tiny sauce sachets I had to open. And the worst part? The food wasn’t even nice. All that effort and drama for a mediocre outcome.

I thought to myself – the simple things in life really are the best. You just can’t beat a beautiful Italian spaghetti with simple tomato sauce. 

And when it comes to tools to calm your mind for birth, the best tool of all is by far the simplest. So simple that it sounds like it could never make a difference. But it does. A massive one.

Which tool is it? Breathing, my friend. 

The simple act of breathing releases the hormone Oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that has got your back when you need to feel calm. You want to get that good stuff flowing in every single vein all over your beautiful body.

Let’s try this…

A long, slow, breath in through the nose and an even slower, long breath out through the mouth. Just in and out, naturally, calmly. Take as long as you need – there’s no right or wrong amount of time the breath should take.

Just slowly breathing in and out. Close your eyes and let the breath take you to a gorgeous world of calm. If you want to, try saying a word to yourself as you breathe out. Maybe say ‘calm’, ‘peace’ or ‘relax’. Whichever word works for you.

Just as a simple spaghetti works so well paired with a delicious tomato sauce, breathing pairs so nicely with visualisation. Close your eyes, breathe in and out slowly, and picture in your mind a place of calm and peace. Somewhere you feel really safe and at ease. 

I guarantee that after 15 or so breaths, you will feel the benefit. So… when should you use it?

Literally whenever and wherever – during pregnancy, giving birth, being a parent, returning to work, losing your mind during lockdown  – this tool is yours for life! Here are some ideas. 

Before an antenatal appointment – couple it with the word ‘confidence’.

When you’re about to have your anaesthetic before your caesarean – couple it with the word ‘calm’.

When you’re feeding your baby – couple it with the word ‘capable’.

If your baby won’t sleep  – couple it with the word ‘patience’.

Before meeting your boss during maternity leave – couple it with the word ‘strength’.

So here’s a high five to ditching the recipe boxes and celebrating the simple. Let me know in the comments if this breath works for you and remember to join the conversation on Instagram @birthsure

Sending love as always for the week ahead.

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