The June/July 2010 Reader's Digest reports in "Health News You Can Use" that "Slow breathing seems to damp down the body's stress reactions, such as a faster heart rate and higher blood pressure..." (p. 92, article by Beth Howard) Moms have known this for ages. How many times, as a child, did you hear your mom inhale deeply and then blow out slowly when faced with some new disaster? How often have you, as a mother, done the very same thing? Breathe deeply. Breathe slowly. Stay calm and focused. Maybe that's why they teach controlled breathing in prepared childbirth classes - not just to help you in labor-and-delivery, but also....
...in the nursery, during that first week of breastfeeding when everything is still - ayiiie! - tender.
...at the pediatrician's office, when you're helping restrain a furious and incredibly strong two-year-old for an unpleasant round of childhood vaccinations.
...in bed, when your four-year-old creeps up next to you in the wee hours of the morning, tells you he has a tummy ache, and then proceeds to throw up all over you and everything else within a five foot radius.
...on the interstate, when you hit heavy traffic on your way to the emergency room with a child who has a severe head injury.
...on the phone, when you're trying to work out a problem with your health insurance company and you've been passed off and then put on hold for the third time since they first answered the call twenty minutes ago. Cue elevator music...wo-oh-oh, Mandy, you came and you gave without taking...BREATHE.
...at the community pool, when your little angel smiles from overhead and then marches resolutely off the end of the high dive.
...in the car, when your fifteen-year-old is merging into interstate traffic for the first time ever.
...at the airport, when you are putting your teenager on an airplane headed to the other side of the world.
...in the checkout lane when, after totaling a two-cart order of groceries, the new clerk grimaces and says, "Oh, no! I just accidentally voided your order!"
...at the dentist's office, when the dentist tells you to relax while he jams that ginormous needle into your jaw. Deep inhale; now, exhale s-l-o-w-l-y.
...in the kitchen, when you discover you've burned the pan of lasagna that is supposed to feed the eight dinner guests who just pulled into the driveway. And you live so far out in the country that "fast food" means you don't have to kill dinner first before cooking it - not an option.
...in the back pasture, while you are helping your sons splint your husband's grotesquely bent leg before dragging him into the back seat of the car.
...on the front porch, while your neighbor is lambasting you for your sinner-dog's bad behavior.
...in the morning when you first wake up, before you tackle that list of two-hundred forty-seven things you absolutely must get done today.
...in the dark, as you wait for sleep and consider what a blessing it has been to have mothered your children for another day.
3 weeks ago