Since we launched our Baby2Body blog, we’ve had the opportunity to work with some fantastic content creators and innovators. Today, we have the pleasure of sharing with you our chat with Andy Puddicombe – meditation and mindfulness expert, and the founder of Headspace. We hope you enjoy this peek inside the world of Headspace – make sure to download their app, and keep scrolling to discover Andy’s tips for a mindful motherhood journey!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work with Headspace.
I was introduced to meditation early in life as my mum was interested in it. So I’d done a fair bit on-and-off throughout my teens.
Then, halfway through my degree in Sports Science, I decided to go away and become a monk. It’s a difficult thing to put into words. One day I just found myself thinking, “I really want to become a Buddhist monk”. In retrospect it sounds crazy, but at the time it felt like the most natural thing in the world, and a very easy decision to make.
When I came back to the UK, I wanted to show people that meditation wasn’t all about sitting in the lotus position, chanting, incense, all of that. I wanted to make it accessible, relevant and beneficial for as many people as possible. I met my business partner Rich Pierson, who was working in advertising, and then that started to become a reality. We did a skill swap, I taught him meditation and he taught me what he knew about spreading ideas – Headspace was the outcome of that.
What is mindfulness? How can mindfulness and meditation benefit our everyday lives?
At Headspace we define mindfulness as the intention to be present in the here and now, fully engaged in whatever is happening, free from distraction or judgement, with a soft and open mind.
During pregnancy, how can women help stay calm and focused when things start to get overwhelming?
I would suggest you try meditation! The best time of day to meditate is first thing, in terms of remembering to do it. But you can meditate at any time of day, and see still see the benefits. In fact, if you are experiencing strong morning sickness, you may well choose to do it later in the day.
I usually recommend mothers-to-be to meditate sitting up where possible. You can do this on a chair or sitting on the floor, whatever feels most comfortable. The important thing is that you feel really well supported and that your baby does too. If you are experiencing a lot of back pain, and it is not too late into the pregnancy, then you might prefer to lie down on your back. But always check with your healthcare professional first.
Finally, before you begin, always remind yourself that it is for the benefit of the baby – don’t worry, you’ll still get to feel all of the benefits, but this intention changes the way the mind works and ensures you deepen the connection with your child.
Do you have any coping strategies or techniques for when women go into labour?
The main thing to remember is to be in the present moment. So if you can, put down all the stories of good and bad outcomes, forget about all the videos, diagrams and statistics you may have seen in recent weeks, as none of it will bring you anywhere close to the experience of childbirth itself. Just set out with the intention to be present with your birth partner, whoever you are sharing the experience with, supporting one another with a mutual appreciation and healthy respect. If you are part of a couple, I would encourage the partner to be engaged with the process as much as possible.