Could the practice of mindfulness and self-compassion help to alleviate the maternal pain and suffering experienced in the postpartum period?
The pain and suffering felt by women in the postpartum period is vast and is often under-identified. Women often experience physical pain such as recovering from trauma from both vaginal and cesarean deliveries, as well as breastfeeding physiological changes including engorgement, latching difficulties and the stressful learning curve associated with breastfeeding for both mom and babe. Emotionally, women are taxed by the normally occurring hormonal shifts and changes experienced in the postpartum period coupled with parenting demands and sleep deprivation. Women’s values and beliefs are often challenged and explored in this time of new adjustment. All of these factors can contribute to women potentially experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression symptoms.
The evidence-based practice of mindfulness and self-compassion can teach individuals to be mindfully aware of the pain and suffering that arises, to make space for the difficult emotions (which often contribute to our pain and suffering) in a non-judgmental way and can teach us to respond with kindness, understanding and compassion towards ourselves. Mindfulness and compassion practices can help to build capacity and teach postpartum women to find their emotional resiliency.
Research has shown that people who practice mindfulness and self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, are more motivated to make behaviour changes that lead to healthier lifestyles and have more satisfying relationships. While there is some evidence to support this strategy as beneficial to women in the postpartum period, further research is required.
We will explore the elements of mindfulness and self-compassion and its applicability to the postpartum period. Challenges such as training and limited resources (for both the health care professional and the postpartum mother), time management and the establishment of a mindfulness and self-compassion practice while meeting the demands and expectations as a new parent. Furthermore, sleep deprivation and readiness to learn, all factor into the success and benefits of the practice.
The concepts and science of self-compassion will be discussed. The core components of self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness will be discussed as a strategy to support women in the postpartum period.
To complete and compliment this presentation, we will provide an experiential opportunity to practice elements of mindfulness and self-compassion.
- Track: Compassion
- Presentation Level: Beginner/Intermediate
- Define the various ways women experience pain and suffering in the postpartum period.
- Explore the evidenced-based benefits of mindfulness and self-compassion and how they can be potentially applied and beneficial to both mom and babe in the postpartum period.
- Review the challenges of a mindfulness and self-compassion practice in the postpartum period.
- Identify strategies to incorporate core concepts of mindfulness and self-compassion in supporting women in the postpartum period.
- An experiential opportunity to practice elements of mindfulness and self-compassion.
Chantal McQueen RN BN ICCE has 15 years nursing experience, in the maternal-child field. Chantal has been a public health nurse in Winnipeg, MB, Canada for 14 years. She provides care to families across the continuum in the area of maternal -child health in the prenatal and postpartum period. Her expertise in the area of supporting mom and baby in the postpartum period helps to guide the family during this time of change and transition. She has been a Families First Lead Role supporting home visitors in their role throughout her career in public health.
She has always had a passion for the prenatal period, and was thrilled to attain her ICCE through ICEA in 2008.
Chantal is a graduate of the Mindful Self-Compassion course.
Jo Storozinski RN BN, has 26 years experience as a Community Health Nurse. She currently practices at Youville Centre, in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. She provides care and health education to individuals and families across the lifespan in the areas of health promotion, disease prevention and disease management. The focus of her work has been in spiritual and mental health and wellbeing, with an emphasis on change, loss and transitions.
Additionally, as a Spiritual Health Specialist, she works in a major tertiary centre where trauma, grief, loss, and change occur within the lives of individuals and families in the Emergency, Resuscitation, Medical and Surgical ICU units. There she supports individuals and families who are in pain and are suffering.
Jo is a Trained Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion.