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Mindful Birthing and Parenting

Mindfulness brings more ease and balance into your pregnancy, can completely transform your birth experience and will be a huge source of support on your journey into becoming a parent!

  • During pregnancy mindfulness supports relaxation, emotional resilience and optimal physical and mental health. Mindful practice supports bonding with your baby and closeness with your partner throughout pregnancy and well beyond
  • Throughout birth, mindfulness is an essential resource in calming the mind and relaxing the body to navigate the intensity. Mindful practice significantly alleviates the pain experienced during childbirth and contributes to a more efficient and positive birth.
  • Mindfulness invites us to cultivate the ability to be lovingly present to ourselves and others which is an invaluable resource as we become a parent. This profound transformation and responsibility of nurturing the next generation is equally joyous and challenging and mindfulness is an endless source of support in the Life journey. Children live in the present moment, thrive on love and attention and mindfulness enhances our ability to be present with an open heart.
  • Mindfulness can support us to heal and break through intergenerational patterns of stress. We have a tendency to unconsciously pass on a lot of the stress we have inherited, awareness helps us shift and move beyond these dysfunctional habits and opens up another way. There are even practices within mindful birthing that help us bring awareness to the way we were parented and what we want to keep alive and let go.
  • Partners are learning a life skill for stress reduction, for supporting their partner and skills for their own parenting and their lives; everyone needs mindfulness
  • The experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and becoming a parent are wonderful opportunities to learn and grow in wisdom and compassion

Embark on this mindful journey, embrace this special time to prepare for a more peaceful birth experience and a more empowered transition into parenthood

A  5 min audio description of what the program includes

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What are the benefits?

Here are some of the many benefits of practicing mindfulness in this special time: 

  1. Improved Emotional Well-being: Embrace powerful body and breath awareness practices to increase vitality, relaxation, and reduce stress during pregnancy. Replace fearful beliefs around birth with trust and confidence
  2. Enhanced Bonding with the Baby: Mindfulness facilitates a deeper
  3. connection with the growing baby, fostering a sense of presence and awareness that extends beyond the physical changes.
  4. Pain Management during Birth: Mindfulness techniques empower mothers with effective pain management strategies, promoting a quicker, smoother and overall more positive and empowered birthing experience.
  5. Greater Mind-Body Awareness: Mindfulness encourages awareness of the body’s signals and changes during pregnancy which helps navigate these more smoothly. Gain knowledge about the physiology of birth and the mind-body connection, empowering you with insights.
  6. Partner connection & support: Enhance partner communication skills, fostering a supportive and connected environment. Partners can use their mindfulness skills to support the birthing mother to remain centred and present.
  7. A more optimal hormonal balance: If your mind is calm and your body relaxed, the hormonal environment for you and your baby will also be one of calm and ease, which will support the birth process and decrease the likelihood of foetal distress
  8. Improved Sleep Quality: Mindfulness practices can contribute to better sleep, offering much-needed rest for expectant parents preparing for the demands of childbirth.
  9. Positive Impact on Baby’s Development: The positive and calm mental state fostered by mindfulness practices have a beneficial impact on the developing baby, contributing to a nurturing environment. 
  10. Promotion of Mindful Parenting: Mindfulness prepares parents for the responsibilities of parenthood, encouraging more confidence and less stress. Cultivating an intentional and present approach to caregiving from the very beginning is the best gift you can offer your child: your loving presence.
  11. Life-Long Stress Management Skills: Develop skills to manage stress not only during pregnancy but also throughout the parenting journey and daily life.
How Can mindfulness transform your pregnancy and birth experience?
  • Become more aware of and in tune with your body and to being pregnant. 
  • Letting go of unhelpful and fearful beliefs or expectations around the birth experience. Replacing these with trust, confidence and more helpful beliefs.
  • Being fully present and letting the birth process unfold moment by moment. Embracing and surrendering to the sensations of labour rather than resisting these. Allowing for a quicker, more effective labour and overall more positive birth experience.
  • Partners can use their mindfulness skills to support the birthing mother to remain centred and present throughout. 
  • A smoother birth experience for you and your baby.  If your mind is calm and your body relaxed, the hormonal environment for you and your baby will also be one of calm and ease, which will support the birth process and decrease the likelihood of foetal distress.
  • Be flexible when things don’t go according to plan. Ultimately, we can prepare the best we can for the birth, but it remains a leap in the unknown. Mindfulness supports us to be more comfortable with the unknown, and being more open and accepting with the outcome of the birth.
  • Being a more Mindful New parent: Postnatal life is intense. The endless feeds, the sleepless nights, the constant responsibility can all be very overwhelming. But with a more mindful approach to parenting you will be able to step into your new role with a little more confidence and much less stress. Whenever a challenge arises you can use your new skills and understanding to remain present, loving and calm – the best gift you can give to your child.
what you will learn

The mindful birthing sessions we have together aims at preparing your partner & you for birth and beyond thanks to a combination of childbirth education, information and plenty of hands-on tools & mindfulness practices.

Birth matters, this life experience will stay with you for the rest of your life and influence the start of your parenting journey. Preparing together mindfully and consciously is key to a smoother journey into birth and parenting.

You will learn about:

– The physiology of birth, stages of labour & the mind-body connection
– Birth anatomy, birthing positions to support the birth & partner support

– Train your mind to remain calm and centred in stressful or uncomfortable moments (we will engage in pain practices with ice cubes)

– Mind& body awareness practices to support relaxation and ease during pregnancy, birth and beyond
– Mindfulness Techniques, skills and hands-on practices to support you during birth to manage pain & fear
– Birthing preferences & ways to create a supportive & peaceful environment

– Partners will learn how to remain centered through mindfulness and also hands-on practices to best support you during birth

– Enhanced partner communication skills

–  Feel confident and fully prepared physically, mentally and emotionally for birth thanks to learnt skills, hands-on tools, and practices to cope with pain and fear

– After birth: Needs of a postpartum family & baby cycles – mindful beginnings

– AND LIFE LONG mindfulness skills that can be used in all stages of parenting and life.

Throughout our time together you will learn plenty of mindfulness meditations and exercises as a self-regulation approach to the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy, birth and parenting

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I offer the mindful birthing program generally as a private birth preparation. Because these are private sessions, they can be tailored to your specific needs and situation.

To prepare for birth together mindfully, couples usually book 3 sessions lasting approximately 2h to 2.5 hours which is enough to cover the essential knowledge mentioned above. 

Price: The price of  a mindful birthing preparation includes 3 sessions and is 500 euros. If you both have coverage for mindfulness this will be fully covered by your insurance.  

If you need additional support or some extra mindfulness coaching, this can be arranged at a rate of 100 euros per hour.

The sessions we have will be online via Zoom. If you live in Amsterdam I can come to your house and offer this preparation in person.

Note: I can also host larger group sessions on request. Please reach out if you and your friends wish to organise a group course.   

The content that I share in our sessions is mostly based on the Mindful Birthing and Parenting Course and book from Nancy Bardacke. I have trained as a facilitator with Nancy back in 2017 and have shared this knowledge with hundreds of birthing couples since. I am also a trained birth doula (trained by BiA in 2017) and have practiced as a birth doula in Amsterdam for 3 years)

“The mindfulness approach really helped me through the birth process and is appearing to be even more valuable with the newborn.” – Vera
“De bevalling is in ons geval eigenlijk heel ontspannen verlopen. Een groot aandeel hierin was onze eigen houding versterkt met de fijne mindfulness tools geleerd in de cursus. Ik heb mij tijdens de weeën met name alleen maar op mijn adem gefocust waarmee ik ontspande. Ook heb ik verschillende poses uitgeprobeerd. Ik vond het zelf erg fijn dat ik door de cursus meerdere mogelijkheden in mijn hoofd had zitten die ik kon uitproberen zowel voor het ademen als de poses. Door er zo ontspannen mogelijk mee om te gaan heb ik het grootste gedeelte van mijn weeën goed kunnen opvangen. Kortom, ik ben heel dankbaar voor wat jullie ons hebben meegegeven tijdens de cursus. Het is zo een mooi waardevol cadeau geweest. Ik weet 100% zeker dat de cursus een heel groot aandeel is geweest mbt mijn zeer positieve en ontspannen birth experience.” – Lilian
“When I heard about the mindfulness training for pregnant women, I knew the course had found me. I was looking for some pregnancy-related course, but not the regular pregnancy yoga or birth preparation course. When I was pregnant with my first child I followed a hypnobirthing course, which in a way is similar to mindfulness but somehow wasn’t the right match for me. What I really liked about this mindfulness course is that it helps you accept things as they are. This was very helpful for me during labor, especially when I went from 5 to10 cm in just a couple of hours. I was the most afraid of this part during labor. And indeed, the pain was very intense, but using the techniques that I learned, I managed to ‘be in the zone’ and be with the pain, rather than trying to avoid it or trying to run away from it. And this actually is what it’s all about. Being in the moment, being present, rather than distracting yourself or wishing you were in another moment. I can definitely recommend this course to every pregnant woman. Even if it’s not your first child, you will learn things that can change your whole birthing experience, and also for parenthood beyond birth and life in general.” – Marlene
“The Mindful Birthing and Parenting Course gave us a major insight into our daily lifestyle. A lifestyle that wasn’t so helpful in a time of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Marjorie taught us many mindful exercises. Especially the pain practices and being with the breath were so valuable during childbirth. For both me and my partner. 
The speaking and listening inquiries gave us a good view about one another’s happy thoughts and fears, but also our ideas about parenting. Now our baby is born, it helps us to focus on his needs and approach him with full awareness. 
Conclusion: The course allowed us to look at pregnancy, birth and parenting with another perspective. It gave us the most beautiful birth experience and the possibility to truly communicate with each other as partners and with our son. Forever grateful!” – Soraya
“Although the concept and application of mindfulness was not new to us, it was absolutely enlightening to have it applied to this unique time in life and we were able to have a beautiful, intervention-free labour and home birth! We had an atypical birth, in the sense that my water broke before I experienced any contractions. Hence my contractions, which began at once and were every 2-3 minutes pretty soon, were intense. Labour lasted a rather quick 6:30 hours in total, of which the pushing phase took 1:20 hours- baby’s head was stalled at one point during pushing because it needed to make an extra 3/4rd pivot turn. Mindfulness -staying in the moment, focusing on each breath and being aware of my body- helped immensely in dealing with the pain especially at that moment. I still felt pain, but whenever I let my mind wander from my focus, it became much harder to cope. Overall, I felt very much in control and connected to my body. I truly believe that this was down to the techniques we had practiced in the weeks prior to birth. 
Looking back we characterise the entire process as a great bonding experience for us- we communicated with each other and the midwife really well throughout and I credit the MBCP program for helping us get clear on our birth intentions and do that. Also we found the program provided my partner with a great grounding in how to best support and reassure me during labour. We both felt so much more confident and well-prepared in facing the unknown. Thank you Marjorie for helping us have such a positive, supported, empowered and connected experience.” – Anonymous
My partner and I felt really prepared for giving birth thanks to the mindfulness sessions, the exercises from the course and the positive birth book. I had an amazing experience. I felt really calm throughout the first phase. All I needed was to lay still on my own and it felt really zen. We ended up staying at home instead of going to the birth centre because I felt so good about the process and being in my bubble. Meanwhile my partner and the midwife prepared the birth bath and that is where I felt I needed to go for the pushing contractions. I needed some guidance by the midwife to handle the transition contractions, and after a couple of pushing contractions my son was born in the bath. It was an amazing experience. Thank you so much again. – Marina
Additional considerations

Home practice is an important aspect of the course and success of this approach. Is it key that participants make space and time for practice during the duration of the course. 15 to 30 minutes practice a day is recommended. This requires a lot of personal commitment, discipline, and an open mind. 

Before the course begins, we have an intake meeting or call. This is an opportunity for us to get to know each other. Expectant parents share some background information as well as their needs and expectations around the course and can ask any questions.

Course materials includes guided audio practices and it is recommended to purchase the book ”Mindful Birthing” from Nancy Bardacke.

Note that MBCP is a course that caters to the expectant couple and supports the pregnant woman as well as her partner. People from all backgrounds and sexual orientation are welcome. Single parents are welcome to the course – for optimal support it is strongly recommended to choose a birthing partner to attend the course with you, be it a doula, midwife, mother or friend.

5-week mindful birthing course 

I offer a condensed version of MBCP in a 5-week program which is a robust mindful birth preparation course (there is less focus on early parenting & less meditation practice than in the 8-week course).

Sessions are organised as follows:

Session 1: Foundations of Mindfulness – Breath, Body Scan, Being with Baby
Session 2: Mindfulness & Mind/Body Connection, Pain practices focused attention
Session 3: Birth Positions, Partner Practices, Pain practices touch & movement
Session 4: Birth Preferences, Wrap up Pain practices & birth
Session 5: Needs of Post-partum Family, Baby cycles, Breastfeeding Basics

Something for you? Contact me now for a FREE intake