You know that picture of the mother-to-be glowing with a natural calm and maternal joy?
Well, I’ve got news for you: it’s just a picture. In reality, pregnancy is truly going to be one of the most incredible, powerful experiences of your life. Having a baby will change you, for the better. In all sorts of ways that you cannot even begin to anticipate until it happens. But pregnancy is also anxiety, mood swings and morning sickness. The very gravity of carrying another human being, bringing it into life, nurturing it, will cause some anxiety. Maybe some part of you will feel like you’re not ready. Maybe you’ll feel overwhelmed or underprepared. Rest assured that millions of mothers have gone through the same emotions.
If you’re pregnant and stressed, know first of all that a moderate amount of stress is not actually bad for your baby (read our pregnancy myths here!). But pregnancy is hard and you deserve to take care of yourself along with taking care of your baby.
Here, we have put together a list of things you can do to destress when you’re pregnant.
1.Block out the noise
When you’re pregnant, you are most likely to suffer from an information overload. This is especially true for first-time mothers. Breastfeeding or formula? Natural birth or epidural? What are the dangerous things to avoid when you’re pregnant? Is a drink a week really harmless? Seriously, the questions in your head are endless. Even more of a challenge is the fact that there is just so much information out there, and people you know will push advice at you whether you ask for it or not. Everyone has a different idea of what you should do when you’re pregnant.
One way to de-stress is to trust yourself. Even before Google, babies have been brought into this world safely. There is information, but there is also such a thing as age-old maternal instinct. The decisions you make for yourself will have a certain logic that you should trust. Once you’ve gathered your information and decided on how to live out these 9 months, do not let other people pressure you into believing their versions of what’s good for you and your baby. Mother does know best, and that mother is you!
2. Consider going on a pre-baby honeymoon
Have you always wanted to go to Aruba? The first trimester might be a very good time to take that second honeymoon with your partner. It will help to deepen your bond with your partner, which is beneficial for facing the challenges of pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby together. Cultivating some joy in your life is also important because it makes you realize that your life does not entirely have to change just because you’re pregnant. (And fear of an entire departure from one’s previous life is usually one of the driving anxieties during pregnancy!)
3. Book a regular self-pampering appointment
Whether it is a hair appointment, a prenatal massage or a spa pedicure, there is no better time to pamper yourself than in these 9 months. When you are pregnant, you can very easily lose touch with your sense of femininity as a woman; you might feel fat or unattractive. Finding a regular time to pamper yourself can help you to feel beautiful in your changing, new body.
Deep-breathing exercises, prenatal yoga and meditation have incredible benefits for both mother and baby. Certain stretching exercises in prenatal yoga will also help to make labor easier. Be careful about the component of adding essential oils to these activities however, as some essential oils might not be certified to be safe for use during pregnancy.
5. Learn to say No
Don’t feel like attending a wedding of someone you do not know particularly well that is taking place in Vegas? Don’t feel like attending a work function? Well guess what, your baby bump can also work as a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card! Yes, use the pregnancy card and learn to say no. You already have a lot to prepare and to think about with the upcoming birth; if you work full-time right up to your last trimester, juggling work and pregnant life is already enough of a challenge. Say no where you can and be protective about any amount of time that you can claim and dedicate to rest.
6. Go to bed early
Most working adults feel perpetually sleep-deprived. There is always so much to do that we regularly prioritize over sleep. But pregnancy is not a time to be sleep-deprived; moreover, your body might be producing certain hormones that can make you feel even more easily fatigued than usual. When you’re pregnant, you should take the opportunity to get extra shut eye in those 9 months. It is unnecessary to point out that you should think of the extra rest as a sort of sleep “saving bank” because once the baby arrives, you can be assured that there will be some sleepless nights. So enjoy your rest now!
7. Find a support group
Your support group does not need to be the “New Mothers” meetup at your local YMCA. It can merely be made up of a chat group on your phone, with your friends who are going through the same thing. It can even be a support group made up of just you and your partner. It can be an online forum. Whatever you do, it is important to find a safe space where you can get reliable information and also get the sense that you have many, many supporters in a journey that you do not have to go through alone.
8. Prepare for birth and the baby
The more you prepare for birth and the baby, the more ready and organized you will be when the water breaks or after the baby arrives. Nine months is an adequate amount of time to do nursery shopping, figure out a workable budget for life after the baby arrives, work out a provisional schedule that splits the responsibility between you and your partner after birth, etc. You do not need to get sucked into the preparation so much that your mind has no other thought except of the upcoming arrival of the baby. But preparing ahead of time will ensure that most things go smoothly.
9. Eat well
During pregnancy, you’ll discover more than ever that the food you eat has a direct correlation to your mood. If you find a healthy snack that you strangely love in your pregnant state, load up on that, listen to your body! If it craves celery, go in the direction of making a celery salad. And if some nights it craves chocolate, give in to it. When you are pregnant, your body becomes extra-attuned to the type of nutrients it needs for both the mother and the developing baby. Do not ignore what it says and try to make the food that you prepare an additional source of enjoyment in pregnant life.
10. Learn to prioritize
You are not going to be working full time, keeping a house that is 100% clean, going to yoga and giving weekend dinner parties at the same time. During pregnancy, you will have to prioritize the comfort of your body and your health. Instead of trying to be a Superpower Pregnant Woman, learn that it is okay to let some things slip just because you have taken a 3-hour nap that day. Your ruling mantra should be “whatever you need”; and to get the things that you actually feel like you need, you might need to put less priority on other things. This is perfectly alright. At the same time, you should try to tap into your resources and get as much help as you can as you need it.
Every pregnancy is different. Do not place undue expectations on yourself as to how you are supposed to feel and behave during pregnancy. But do ramp up the self care; when you’re growing a human being inside your body, you deserve no less.