When I found out that stress was extremely bad for Baby’s development during the 9 months of pregnancy, guess what I did? – I got stressed about it.
I think it’s the way my pessimistic brain is wired, and my not being able to become this uber-chilled out tranquil super baby-maker that I long to be.
The problem, I think, is that life carries on. Work seems very busy at the moment and as my stomach grows large and my legs grow tired, tasks take me longer and longer to complete. Because of the nature of my job, diagnosing rare diseases in little children and babies, morally, and professionally, you are committed to getting the job done as soon as is practically possible. Now I am going to be a mother myself, I have a growing compassion for the parents of our patients who are waiting anxiously for test results.
I’m also worrying about money.
Although the NHS pays one of the most generous maternity packages it isn’t great. I will only get my full pay for 8 weeks, then half pay, decreasing until finally nothing for the last 3 months.
We only moved into our new home in January and the mortgage needs to be paid. Pete and I have made sacrifices in order to afford having a child. I have given up all of my hobbies and I even had to leave my work union (£12 a month will buy a lot of beans on toast).
At the end of the month we will have nothing left over for savings or holidays and we won’t be entitled to claim a penny. I often wonder if we would be better off not going to work at all…
Despite all this, I wouldn’t change a thing. This baby was meant to born at exactly the right time and we couldn’t be happier. If we waited for the magical “right time” after the house was perfect and the extension had been built I would be a 50 year old woman.
I’ve tried to take a few positive steps to reduce the amount of stress in my life. I’ve joined a pregnancy Yoga class which makes me feel absolutely wonderful. Emma, the teacher, also runs NCT courses and so she always gives us lots of fantastic labour tips which I love as I haven’t had any antenatal classes still!
Recently, I was delighted to be invited down to Float Level to experience a relaxing floating session.
Float Level is located in the New Islington Area of Manchester in the bottom level of the Chips Building. When Chips had just been built I applied to buy a flat there (many years ago) but I am so glad I didn’t go through with it as the promised “village” around Chips never materialised.
I met Chris, the owner, who talked me through the whole process and showed me my room, complete with floating Pod.
Floatation is a means of achieving deep physical and mental relaxation as you lie in a specially designed 8ft X 5 ft pod filled with a 10” salt-water solution. The water and air inside the tank are heated to skin temperature and, with over 1000lb of Epsom salt dissolved in the water, you are able to float effortlessly without the burden of gravity acting on your body.
As instructed, I took a pre-float shower, added earplugs, and entered the Pod. The blue light felt very space-age but relaxing music started to play once the lid was closed. I had the choice of changing-coloured lights, or totally dark, which Chris had recommended for deeper relaxation. I thought I would be a bit claustrophobic in the dark but it was actually really nice.
Floating was a very weird, but enjoyable, experience – I haven’t felt weightless in a long time. I tried to meditate, but the first visualisation I created was of floating down a sewer, which wasn’t conducive to relaxing, so I just tried to clear my mind and I almost nodded off twice.
After 45 minutes floating it was time for a shower and a nice refreshing drink. I felt extremely tired after my session, which I think is a result of deep relaxation, but I would recommend it as floating is certainly an experience I would love to try again.
One slight problem I encountered, which in no way am I blaming on the float, was severe back pain later that day, where I ended up in hospital (more details in my bump update). They diagnosed me with a muscular injury caused by my hormones and I had to have a few days off work. If you are pregnant, or have a pre-existing or old injury, Chris advises you to speak to a doctor before undertaking a floating session.
A floating session is priced between £35-40 but if you follow on social media (facebook and twitter) you can often find special offers.
How do you relax after a stressful day at work? Tweet me @ohsogawjess