Mindfulness helps mothers cope

written by Meena Azzollini

mother with baby

Credit:123RF

Mindfulness is all about being in the moment, of being aware of the present and accepting your daily experiences. Mindfulness has shown to have many health benefits and is even used in healthcare to help in stress reduction, emotion regulation and in acquiring mindful attention.

Now a team of researchers form the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing (Penn Nursing) say that mindfulness is also helpful to mothers who face stress from having a newborn who is born with congenital heart disease.

For this study, the researchers collected data during three focus groups between July 2015 and Mach 2016.

The sessions involved a short introduction to mindfulness techniques as a stress reduction intervention led by a moderator who is a psychotherapist experienced in group formats.

Most mothers felt that mindfulness should start early, preferably immediately after diagnosis giving them the time and skills to learn and practice mindfulness by the time the baby is born.

Mothers described the post-diagnostic period, surgery and stay in intensive care unit as extremely stressful. But they felt even more stressed and expressed concerns about the period when they would independently need to look after their infant. This extreme stress made them feel out of control. But they acknowledged the importance of stress reduction to help them sleep better, recharge, focus and think clearly.

After the brief guided session of mindfulness, most mothers felt that the session helped them cope better with clear and positive thinking, focusing on their baby and regulating their emotions.

Mindfulness was acceptable and feasible for most mothers however they did express time and space concerns along with personal preferences as barriers to the intervention.

Most mothers felt that mindfulness should start early, preferably immediately after diagnosis giving them the time and skills to learn and practice mindfulness by the time the baby is born.

They also agreed that the worst time to start learning is during surgery as they are too stressed to learn anything new.

They also preferred to practice mindfulness in private and quiet rooms as the sounds of the CICU ( Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) is stressful for them and prevents them from relaxing.

Mothers of infants who suffer from complex congenital heart disease experience immense stress and the coping mechanisms that they use often impacts the way the family adapts to the situation and it most likely affects infant outcome.

So far parental interventions in the CICU are either informative or educational aiming to increase the parent’s ability to actively manage caretaking of their infant with congenital heart disease.

Now, mindfulness can be a helpful tool which can help mother’s cope better by allowing them the opportunity to be present in the moment rather than wishing that things were different. This way they can accept the situation and focus on what needs to be done without the added stress on themselves, their family or their baby.

Source: Journal of Pediatric Nursing


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Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!