Pregnancy is a big deal! I remember being so worried with my first pregnancy – was I eating the right things, was I getting enough exercise, should I be playing classical music next to my ever-growing belly? I quit drinking any caffeine, which I have to say was not pleasant! I tried to eat vegetables – and if you knew me you would know what a challenge that was! I was afraid to swear anymore in case my baby could hear me and one of his first words would not be mommy, but something with 4 letters! Let’s face it, we get a little crazy when we realize we are starting at ground zero growing a human being inside of us!
There is a lot of advice for your physical health during pregnancy, but not so much for your emotional health and that of your baby. Here are a few suggestions for you to maintain or regain a sense of emotional well-being during your pregnancy.
o Pick several times during the day to do some mindful breathing. Take 4 deep breaths, counting to 4 each time you breathe in and count to 4 each time you exhale. Do this when things are going well, which will make it easier to do when things are challenging. Science shows that this kind of breathing has numerous benefits, one of which is helping us come back to our center.
o When you begin to feel stressed, take a few seconds and remind yourself that you are safe, that you have shelter from the weather, that you have access to food and water, and that you are not under physical threat. When you do this, it helps calm the part of your brain that goes into fight or flight mode, and then you have access to the calmer, more thoughtful, more compassionate part of your brain. This way you are not as likely to get caught in panic, and you can think things through easier.
o When you get stressed, depressed, anxious, angry, etc., start giving names to your feelings. Just by naming what you are feeling you are helping yourself to calm. Do not attach any judgment to the feelings, just recognize them by naming them, and perhaps whisper a soft “ok”. You will be amazed how helpful it is to recognize and not reject what you are feeling. Then your feelings don’t have to keep getting bigger in order to get noticed.
These may not seem like big, earth shattering ideas, and might even seem deceptively simple. Don’t let that fool you. These strategies are based on volumes of scientific research. Sometimes the seemingly simple things are the most effective. Try them, I would love to hear about your experience.