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Lions Roar : September 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2009 80 march, and recently issued a call for papers and presentations for next year’s conference, april 7-11, in worcester, massachusetts. nancy bardacke, founder of the Mind- fulness-Based Childbirth and Parent- ing Education Program, was among the many presenters at this year’s conference. she and larissa duncan—from the os- her center for integrative medicine at the university of california in san Fran- cisco, where bardacke’s program is now presented—reported on preliminary evi- dence that suggests mindfulness practice improves mothers’ ability to cope with a crying baby, fatigue and interrupted sleep, breastfeeding, a baby’s admission to neo- natal intensive care, and challenges in the changing relationship with a partner. bar- dacke is working on a book, Mindful Birth- ing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond, to be published by Harpercollins in winter 2011. “Pregnancy, birth, and early parent- ing is the most transformative period in the adult life cycle,” bardacke said when i talked to her about the significance of her work. “the experiences that emerge during this time can be some of the most stressful of people’s lives. nothing really prepares you for it. mindfulness skills help everyone involved navigate this transition, and are a foundation not only for the un- certainties of the birth itself but also for the new life of parenthood that follows.” bardacke was a nurse–midwife with a background in yoga and meditation when she took a mindfulness-based stress Reduc- tion (mbsR) course for health professionals in 1994, and decided it was time to develop a comparable program for childbirth. she “kept the essential elements and morphed it into something that would work for ex- pectant couples. whereas mbsR addresses an individual’s health, in our program two, really three, people are involved.” she began mindfulness-based childbirth and Parent- ing (mbcP) in 1998 and has taught it con- tinuously since then. it includes an introduc- tory session, nine weekly classes before birth, an all-day practice session, and a reunion class following birth. she also offers one-day and weekend courses for parents and health professionals.