Pregnancy, though wonderful, can be the most challenging nine months of any women’s life. Pregnant women struggle with body image, health choices, food issues, fears of labor and pain management, swollen ankles and aching backs. No wonder so many women struggle through their pregnancies, feeling anything but glowing.
One of the keys to having a happy, healthy pregnancy is having what I call a “conscious” pregnancy: being awake and aware of your feelings, physical needs, relationships and spiritual connection. When a woman becomes awakened to these priorities, she makes herself available to having a truly beautiful pregnancy.
- Emotional Awareness: It’s no joke that a pregnant woman’s hormones can wreak havoc with her emotions. I think of this as Mother Nature’s way of preparing us for the emotional roller coaster that our children will later put us through. There’s no controlling it. You can only hang on and (try to) enjoy the ride. There are, however, some techniques for dealing with the extreme emotions that come up:
- Don’t bury your feelings. It’s imperative that a pregnant woman learns how to own her feelings or else they can (and will!) negatively affect her body and her unborn baby. Your baby is experiencing everything through the lens of your body. Your emotions trigger certain chemicals which are passed from your body to your baby’s. Allow yourself to feel your feelings and deal with them in appropriate ways.
- When you feel overwhelmed with emotions such as fear, anger or frustration, stop and ask yourself two questions: Why am I reacting this way? What do I really want right now? These two questions will give you the ability to have personal responsibility and not be victimized by your feelings. Look to the past to learn why you’re reacting the way you are, then look directly to the present moment to discover what it is that you really need.
- Allow yourself to be soft. A lot of us have learned over the years to be tough, strong women. Pregnancy is your chance to be soft and pliant. It’s okay to cry over trifles. It’s okay to feel more romantic and even a little needy. It’s nature’s way of including your mate in your process.
- Trust your body, trust your process. Fear is a major complicating factor in pregnancy and delivery. When you are able to trust your body and surrender to the process, you are able to release the fear and experience the joy of pregnancy. Also, focus on the positive experiences and not on what could go wrong. Too much pregnancy literature is filled with negative stories and medical trauma. The truth is: your body knows exactly what to do. You don’t have to be afraid.
- There is so much great information out there about what your nutritional and physical needs are during pregnancy: I’ll just highlight some of the basics.
- Drink plenty of water – at least 2 liters a day, if not more. Cut out the sodas and eliminate most caffeine. Juice is okay, in addition to your water intake, but it’s much better for you to eat a piece of fruit than to have a glass of juice. (Juice gives the vitamins, but doesn’t balance the sugars with fiber like a piece of fruit would.)
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, both raw and cooked, every single day. Protein is important, as well as calcium. Pay attention to your body’s signals. When I was pregnant with my daughter I ate more meat. With my son it was cheese. I just figured that’s what our bodies needed. Remember that if you’re craving sugar, it’s usually a need for protein in disguise. Try having a serving of meat then, if you’re still craving that ice cream, go ahead. But watch your portions.
- Take your prenatal vitamin every day.
- Make sure to attend every prenatal appointment with your doctor or midwife.
- Be aware of other physical needs. You will need more rest breaks throughout your day as your pregnancy progresses. Be conscious of your aches any uncomfortable places in your body. Know that your sexual desires may change. Just be present to the changes and, once again, trust your process.
- When a woman is pregnant, her relationships change. I have made and lost more friendships during pregnancy than any other time of my life. Being pregnant makes you more vulnerable. You need to have relationships with people you can trust, who will support you emotionally, who will nurture you as you nurture your baby.
- Pregnancy is your chance to clean up your relationship with your partner before your baby is born. Do you argue a lot? Do you shove down your feelings most of the time and sacrifice yourself to his happiness? Do you have a good, equal, give-and-take relationship? What issues have been lying under the surface that need to be addressed? Deal with it now, before the stress of having a newborn makes things worse.
- Being pregnant and having children will bring up any unresolved issues with your family of origin. What work do you need to do to heal old wounds so your baby has the chance to grow within a body that is not harboring resentment and toxic memories?
- A pregnant woman needs the support of her community. If you don’t have loving community (family friends, co-workers, church members, etc), find it. Find like-minded individuals who are conscious, loving people. Begin to build that special community for your new baby, too!
- Okay, so you’re dealing with a growing family, changes in finances, changing relationships, health and nutrition, labor is looming… And the most important thing you can do for yourself and your unborn baby is to reconnect with Spirit. God is the energy of creation. The pregnant woman is channeling that energy every second of every day. When you take the time to stop and consciously connect, you can re-energize every aspect of your life.
- Take the first ten minutes of every day to focus on God and gratitude. This mindset will carry you through whatever challenges the day brings.
- When you feel tired, stop and lift your mind to God. Take three or four deep breaths (as deep as you can!) and with each intake, think of a God-quality and with each exhale, release a negative pattern: (Breath in) I accept the vibrant energy of God into my body and mind… (Breath out) I release any and all feelings of fatigue and depression from my body and mind. (Repeat)
- For many women, learning to be taken care of is high spiritual practice. Do you believe that God takes care of you? Then allow other people to care for you, physically and emotionally. Let yourself be spoiled!
- Learning to meditate can not only have a most positive effect on your pregnancy, but also your labor and delivery. There are some wonderful guided-meditation CD’s out there now. Take the time to reconnect through meditation and prayer. Your body, mind, spirit, AND your baby will thank you for it!
This is a lot of information in one short space. Remember, the most important thing is to be fully present to your experience. That’s what having a conscious pregnancy is really about. You, and your baby, deserve it!
by: Shelly Walker Shelly@ParentingKeys.com