There’s lots of info out there about taking good care of yourself and your unborn baby during pregnancy. Most of that info focuses on physical things. But one of the secrets of pregnancy is:
YOU ARE BEING TRANSFORMED INTO A MOTHER.
People don’t like to talk about that. Don’t get so focused on labor and birth that you forget this incredibly important fact. Pregnancy is a time of opportunity: Give yourself permission to be good to yourself and be amazed at the growth that will come. Find a pregnancy mentor – an experienced mother whom you respect, that will answer questions and encourage you to grow.
Learn to say NO.
If you don’t do it and it doesn’t get done, does it matter? “I’m giving all my energy to this little being inside of me and I just don’t have any energy left over right now. I have to say no.”
- Make a list of everything you have to do, then cross off everything you can possibly put off or avoid until tomorrow.
- Do only what is absolutely necessary.
- Investigate the shoulds in your life. Look at them hard.
- Nurture yourself now – you’re growing into a mother. You may not have time later!
Learn to say YES.
- To really truly enjoy your pregnancy, what would you like to do?
- Are you doing it or will you do it? For even five minutes?
- When you contemplate the phrase “being good to myself during pregnancy” what occurs to you? (Exercise. Sleep.
- Turning off TV. Sleep. Eat veggies and whole grains. Eat ice cream. Sleep.)
Listen to your body. Look for bodily reactions to clue you in. Do you feel sick when you think about going to your cousin’s house for Sunday dinner? Do you feel energized even before your prenatal exercise class? Is time on your feet at work making everything ache and swell? Listen to what your body is telling you.
AFFIRM YOUR LIFE CHANGES
When you take your prenatal vitamin, tell yourself, It is an honor for me to be a mother. Or, I am a mother in my own unique way. Or, My body knows how to birth this baby, just like it knows how to grow this baby.
When your baby kicks take a moment to think of something you have done recently you are proud of and heartily congratulate yourself.
When you exercise – take a moment to praise your body, especially if you’re feeling uncoordinated or fat. Visualize increased oxygen flowing to the placenta and the baby.
Before or after prenatal appointments do something special for you. Sit in the shade and eat frozen yogurt. Go to the CoOp and get a cup of hot chocolate. Buy a new maternity outfit. Browse in the bookstore. Get a pedicure or a massage.
When you are struck by a minor discomfort (like a burp of indigestion or a baby kick in the ribs) – ask, When is the last time I did something nourishing for myself?
Take a mini-relaxation break when you pee – consciously relax your shoulder and jaw, close your eyes. Inhale deeply (unless you are in a stinky bathroom!), and say silently to yourself a centering word – peace, chocolate, whatever. Exhale through your mouth. Repeat until you are ready to vacate your throne! Do your kegels as your wash your hands. Then return to your world strong and focused.