About


MBCP | Nancy Bardacke, CNM | A Mindful Moment

MBCP

The birth of a child is truly a beginning, not only of a new being entering this world, but also of individuals becoming or deepening their role as a parent. Becoming a parent is perhaps the most profound transformation in the adult life cycle. Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Program (MBCP) has been created to serve those going through this transformation and who then continue to work at one of the most important, joyous and stressful jobs on the planet, that of nurturing and caring for the next generation.

Integrating mindfulness practices such as breath awareness and yoga with childbirth and parenting education, MBCP helps parents-to-be cultivate lifelong practices for healthy living and wise parenting. The program is an adaptation of the world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Since founding MBCP in 1998, Nancy Bardacke has taught over 70 sessions of the core 9-week Mindfulness-Based Childbirth Education class and many workshops for expectant parents.  She has been both deeply moved and heartened by the experiences participants report: that learning mindfulness brings benefits greater than they could have imagined.  Beyond the birth, mindfulness practice continues to serve in the immediate, intense, joyful and sometimes stressful weeks and months of learning to care for a new baby. Many report that the mindfulness practice has indeed been a source of strength, growth and pleasure in the early years of becoming a family.

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Nancy Bardacke, CNM

Nancy Bardacke Head Shot_Mindful

Nancy Bardacke, midwife, mindfulness teacher, and the founding director of the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) Program, has been assisting birthing families since 1971.  In her many years working as a midwife, Nancy has attended births in homes, birth centers, and hospitals.  A longtime meditation practitioner, she began her professional training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductions (MBSR) with Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, in 1994.  After teaching MBSR for a number of years, Nancy began adapting the program to meet the needs of pregnant women and their partners, creating the MBCP program. Since 1998, Nancy has taught MBCP to more than 1500 expectant parents.  Nancy currently leads the MBCP program at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCSF School of Nursing.  Nancy offers mindfulness workshops for expectant parents and healthcare providers, as well as professional trainings for MBCP instructors nationally and internationally.

Nancy and her colleague, Larissa Duncan, PhD, also at the UCSF Osher Center, have developed a robust research program to study the impact of mindfulness skills in reducing stress and anxiety during pregnancy, pain during childbirth and enhanced attunement between parents and their infants after birth.  Nancy is also in collaboration with colleagues at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre at the University of Oxford in the UK, both researching the MBCP program and developing an MBCP Instructor training course.  In addition, she is working with research colleagues at the University of Amsterdam and The Chinese University of Hong Kong investigating the impact of the MBCP program on expectant families and their babies.

Nancy’s book, Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond was published in July 2012 by HarperOne.  Dutch, German, and French editions are now available; the Turkish edition will be released in 2015.  Recognition for Mindful Birthing includes:

  • American College of Nurse-Midwives’ Best Book of the Year Award: 2014
  • National Parenting Publications Award: 2013
  • Mom’s Choice Award: 2013
  • Greater Good Science Center’s Top Ten Books: 2012.

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A Mindful Moment

As you sit in the chair in front of the computer reading these words on the screen, I invite you to begin to notice a point of contact between your body and the chair… perhaps the point of contact of your back against the back of the chair… or the contact of the back of your thighs against the seat of the chair… perhaps noticing the desire to shift your body a bit to a more comfortable posture… and allowing that shift to happen…

now bringing your attention to the physical sensations of breathing… wherever it is that you experience the breath most vividly in the body…perhaps at the belly…or the chest…

or perhaps you are aware of the feeling of the air flowing through your nostrils on the in-breath… and the feeling of the air flowing out past your nostrils on the out-breath… just noticing that…

taking this moment… right here… right now… just to pay attention to the breath…

feeling the breath as it moves into the body on an inhalation… and out of the body on an exhalation… noticing the quality of the breath… fast… or slow… shallow… or deep… easy…or labored…

maybe becoming aware of a subtle sense of relaxation… of release in the body as you observe the breath… or… perhaps… becoming aware of a tension somewhere in the body… a sensation that you weren’t aware of before… perhaps a sensation in the upper shoulders near the back of the neck… or a sensation… maybe a tightness… in the lower back… simply noticing that… just observing the truth of what you are experiencing… in this moment…right here… right now…

and… if you have a baby growing inside your body… perhaps becoming aware of the presence of the baby within… or the movement of the baby within… one body growing within another body… inside… now…

taking this time…time to just be…to be with what is happening… right now…

and… if you are ready… gently… and kindly… returning the attention to the breath… to the physical sensations of breathing… wherever it is that you feel the breath most clearly… in the body…

letting the breath be an anchor… an anchor to this moment… to right here… right now…

and… over time… as we practice in this way… we may in fact find a way… a way to work with stress… and pain… and intense emotions… or fearful or unpleasant thoughts… or feelings… with greater calm… and steadiness… and strength… and kindness… for ourselves… and for others… as our lives unfold… in each moment… breath by breath…

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