Fitness and mindset are two of our four foundational pillars. This is the physical and the non-physical. These two are connected via our breath. This is what our diaphragm cultivates and one reason we, at BIRTHFIT, love belly breathing. Both fitness and mindset require energy. I’m talking about actual energy, as in ATP, and when our body needs energy, it will take energy from wherever necessary at that moment.
Fitness, sport, competition, and training is all so relatable for most of us. Whereas mindfulness, awareness, or subject matter that is non-physical or not seen with the naked eye can be a bit more difficult for many to grasp. But Just as your body gets fatigued during a workout, your mind gets fatigued throughout the day or after a big event. Rest days, calm breathing moments, and legit sleep are all important to help prevent mental fatigue.
Mental fatigue is real. We’ve all experienced it. These are times you will want to make quick, simple decisions, and not truly process a complex response. You will make the decision either be yes or no, forward or backward, or low or high. As simple as that. Think about it. Relate it to your workouts. When I workout I say things like, “keep it simple; pick up the dumbbell; decide; go; breathe; now.” There is no time to lollygag.
When our mind is fatigued, we encounter decision fatigue. The author Caroline Webb says that this can last for moments or days and can therefore span a period of time that involves a thousand little decisions, which can burn us out. Decision fatigue happens when our mental capacity diminishes and we end up making choices we may not have made if we were feeling fresh and alert. Stop and think.
Decision and mindset fatigue happen to everyone. And yes, it happens during labor and delivery. The birth process is not off limits for regular, biological human activity. I often tell my couples that the birthing mother is not allowed to use her thinking brain. The birthing mother will use her primal, intuitive brain. That means planning and practicing matter a SHIT TON. And, it is also why an educated partner and doula are absolutely relevant. You’re not going to go hike Mt. Kilimanjaro for the first time without preparation or a guide, so why the heck would you approach labor and delivery completely blind?
Yes, we are fortunate to have Doctor Google available on our smartphones at the drop of a hat. But, when your doctor or midwife mentions induction at 41 weeks, this had better not be the first time you do research for induction options or look up risk/benefits of certain drugs doc is mentioning. Ideally, you already know what your intention is for this birth and you can roll from that point: calm and cool with the confidence that you are making the best decisions for your family.
Preparation means education, setting an intention, and practicing to create habits that will support you and your desires during labor. This is a process that involves time. I’d encourage you to seek birth education courses such as The BIRTHFIT Prenatal Series or local classes in your neighborhood. You’ve got to gain the basic understanding of the process, the standard routines involved, your desires, and the various paths that support your desires. You’re figuring out your birth playbook.
Just as you develop a solid fitness foundation and then utilize skills to build on it, you need to evolve your mindfulness practice in a similar manner. Build up your mindset endurance so you have an open and expansive mind for as long as possible during labor and delivery.
Avoid mental burnout and practice some two minute drills with us!