Sarah and Nadine are two beautiful mummies that have joined forces and are on a mission to prepare couples mentally and physically for the birthing experience and beyond. Together, they run Mindful birth workshops, to educate and ensure that couples have the correct tools in terms of fitness, nutrition and mindfulness to fully prepare themselves for the wonderful journey that awaits them. I met up with them one beautiful morning by the sea to find out more ….
Ladies, give us a bit of background information about yourselves..
Sarah: I used to be one of those high heeled, laptop under my arm running from meeting to meeting, eating a nasty sandwich on the go maniacs….until I really got sucked into the whole yoga bubble and had an ‘aha’ moment…several years later I still run around…in flats..in the sunshine..after our two children..and teach what I know and love best- yoga! I qualified as a prenatal yoga teacher while working at triyoga in London back in 2012 with one of the absolute greats, Nadia Narain. I was pregnant with my first child at the time and thanks to Nadia’s prenatal training and the very forward thinking NHS midwife led birthing centres I had an amazing birth experience and knew from that moment that I wanted to share and support women in their journey through pregnancy.
Nadine: Raised as a food lover I found my passion for healthy food about 5 years ago when I went on my first detox. Since then I’ve changed my diet to a more alkalising lifestyle which in a nutshell means to reduce inflammatory foods (gluten, sugar, animal products) and to increase alkalising foods (veg, fruit, whole grains etc). The shift in my well being and immune system was amazing. When you start your pregnancy journey (actually from the moment you think about getting pregnant) your diet should be adapted and still so after birth, especially if you are breastfeeding. I have a food blog as well as a corresponding Facebook Page and Instagram on these topics, teach private cooking lessons and now as a mum of a 1-year old also embarked the journey on toddler food. To further deepen my knowledge, I’m currently studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York to become a Holistic Health Coach which has been hugely influential and inspiring so far.
What brought you both to Malta?
We both relocated to Malta because of our husbands’ professions (Sarah is originally from Ireland and Nadine from Austria)…..the sunshine and beautiful waters of the Med helped make the decision too!
How did you meet each other?
Nadine: I first met Sarah at prenatal yoga; we were both pregnant at the time with our daughters (now 13 and 14 months). Both being yogis and foodies who enjoy a laugh we realised we had a lot in common and became good friends!
Sarah: Nadine was one of my first prenatal students at FreeMyMe and it was great to meet someone who was as excited about giving birth as I was!! We soon became friends and now our little girls are friends too!
What are your views on mindfulness and why in your opinion is being mindful so important?
Sarah: Yoga and Mindfulness go hand in hand. Being in a state of yoga is practicing mindfulness. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the greatest text on yoga philosophy states in the 2nd sutra ‘Yoga is the control of the fluctuations of the mind’. When we make that gentle effort to be continuously present, to quieten our mind, we are being mindful and we are doing our yoga. I feel that mindfulness is an incredibly powerful aid to us during pregnancy, childbirth and the transition to motherhood, being in the now, being connected; it can completely change our attitude and experience of giving birth.
Nadine: As busy mums, we both know how challenging it can be to keep a calm and present mind, to be aware, to feel centred, happy and healthy. Being mindful about what and how to eat can make a tremendous difference to your pregnancy, your birth experience and after! There can be an overwhelming amount of information and myths of what to eat and what not to eat in general, during pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding. This is where we want to help with our workshops, simple effective holistic habits to start incorporating into your lifestyle.
What inspired you to start off the Mindful Birth Workshops and what is the concept behind it all?
Sarah: Having been through my first pregnancy in the UK which was entirely midwife led with various options for birth e.g. home birth, birthing centre and my prenatal training which strongly advocates natural birth I was a little at odds initially with how the approach to birth was practiced here, but efforts are being made to encourage active, natural birth mindset and that is hugely positive. I wanted to make the idea of active birth real and attainable to women, that it’s not rocket science, that we have within ourselves the tools to manage our own labour but also to get our partners involved. We give them a book to read (which they don’t!) and expect them to show up on the day and know how they can help and that’s a big ask…if they take one or two things away from this workshop it may make all the difference!
Nadine: Being pregnant at the same time we both felt that there was a big gap between what info/ support we wished for and what was offered. There is the Parentcraft course at Mater Dei which is very practical but we both felt there is so much more to preparing for birth and approaching it in a more holistic way. With my experiences, background and training I would like to offer inspiration and help on adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle for that important time of your life and after.
What can one expect when attending one of these workshops?
One can expect a nice mix of yoga poses for an active birth, breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques, a birthing plan and the role of your partner, ideas and recommendations for optimal nutrition and healthy but easy meal plan ideas! Our goal is to get you and your partner into a mindful mindset, to help you to feel informed, prepared and excited about what lies ahead.
We will also cover, towards the end of the workshop, the fourth trimester/postpartum period, safe, simple yoga poses to begin within the first six weeks, what foods are important and other holistic tips pre and post birth.
We would also like to mention that while this is a partners workshop, if your partner is unable to attend it is absolutely fine to come along yourself or with a friend/your mum etc, just send us a message in advance.
Are you planning one of these events in the near future and how can one book a place?
Yes!! We want to run our workshops quarterly and early next year begin to run some post-natal workshops focusing on mums and babies so regaining our fitness again post birth through yoga and healthy food, yoga for babies and weaning/ toddler food….stay tuned!
Should you wish to join our upcoming workshop, kindly book your spot here.