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Mindful : August 2013
Bardacke encourages expectant parents not to get too attached to plans when it comes to their babies. Fra ncisco, teaching mindfulness to new parents may be a way to shift the entire “developmental trajectory.” That’s be- cause how much attention parents bring to the critical months just prior to and just after the birth can be a big deter- minant of the child’s future mental and physical health, as well as the family’s long-term well-being. That doesn’t mean mindfulness is a gua rantee against having complica- tions or ending up with a C-section, as Ba rdacke is the first to admit. In fact, a notable part of the MBCP program is reminding couples not to get too attached to plans when it comes to their babies. When a nd how they deliver will often be influenced by factors beyond their con- trol. What they can control is how they deal with the unexpected and how they feel about what happens. As Bardacke likes to say, “Mindfulness does not give you the birth experience you wa nt, but it gives you a way to fall in love with the birth experience you get.” A few weeks into the class, Ariana and Zed found themselves struggling with the very issue of plans and hopes. They wanted to have a home birth—true to form, A riana felt it would allow her more control. But her doctor decided hospital delivery was necessar y because of a medi- cal condition that makes Ariana prone to bleeding. She was devastated by the deci- sion. It took her a few days to pull herself together a nd realize she could still have a natura l birth without interventions. She bega n looking for a midwife and doula to work with, determined “to find a way to → August 2013 mindful 47 PHOTOGRAPHBYMICHAELO’NEAL