The emotions that you experience from the first moment of conception teach your baby how to view the world.
Whether you experience a calm, happy pregnancy with oxytocin flowing freely, or stress and anxiety with cortisol flooding your body will affect which parts of your baby’s brain are programed for growth. Is more growth going to the primitive brain preparing your baby for a life where one needs to be on their toes, on the look out for the next attack at any moment, leading to behavioral issues later in life (physical growth of the foetus is also affected by chronic stress)? Or will the creative part of the brain be favoured encouraging play, joy and space for learning? Your baby is in constant and direct contact with your emotions as it receives hormones through the umbilical cord. Nurturing a loving, peaceful environment for your baby in the womb is vital to create a positive, trusting being.
Unfortunately, in our modern society bombarded with to-do lists and deadlines we need to make a conscious effort to invite, make time for and prioritise activities that will allow our bodymind to take a necessary break, re-charge and fill up. The point is not to be 100% ‘perfect’, the point is to find a healthy balance where both your baby and your needs are met. Remember that this journey is just as much about you, as the mother, and your partner, as the family welcoming in this new being.
It’s unrealistic to expect that you will be able to prevent all negative emotions, stress and fear during pregnancy as these are part and parcel of this magical experience. But what you can do is to prepare beforehand as well as during pregnancy to ensure that you and your partner are in a supportive, loving place in order to create an experience of love and support. You create the experience that you want, you get to choose. I often hear ‘work expect so much from me/I don’t have time/I’m too busy‘ – but all of this is a choice. You choose how much work is enough and how much is too much. Verbalise it. If it’s not possible to cut down on work hours financially, make sure that you ask for help on weekends and evenings to get some time off to fill up your own ‘peace&love cup’.
The key to nurturing and maintaining emotional health throughout pregnancy is to carve out time for yourself. Be soft with yourself. It is always possible to create the space to experience your pregnancy as the miracle that it is – you are a sacred vessel and deserve to treat yourself, whether this is your 1st, 2nd or 5th child, although of course the way this manifests will differ in accordance with each pregnancy. Asking for support to make this happen is essential in all cases.
Here are some tools to help you experience a relaxed pregnancy:
Conscious breathing/meditation for min.5 minutes to just ‘be’ and rest.
There are fantastic meditations that you can listen to in the comfort of your own home, such as those by Hypnobirthing and Circle+Bloom
Go for a walk, even if it’s just 10 minutes. This is enough to get your happy hormones going
Have a nap. Yes, even if you’re at the office. A 10-15 minute power nap during the day (in the office toilets if you can’t find an empty meeting room) will do wonders to help keep you re-charge
Do things that make you happy. Actually schedule these into your daily routine (reading for example)
Did you know that a roller-coaster of yo-yo hormones is not inevitable during pregnancy? Ensuring a balanced diet and hormonal health before pregnancy and continuing a well balanced whole foods diet, along with regular self-care practices during pregnancy will keep you, your hormones and everyone around you in a happy state.
A relaxed, happy mum is a present mum. She communicates more profoundly and frequently with her growing baby, able to enjoy ample opportunities of ‘play time’ that would otherwise be covered up and missed due to busy-ness, stress etc, being anywhere other than here, and now, connecting inwards with her baby. This connection is just as important for you as a mother-to-be (or to-be-again) as it is for your baby.
Pregnancy is a sacred opportunity for women to really nurture themselves and feel empowered by the whole experience. The personal growth and expansion possible when you open to this experience is limitless. Pregnancy can truly be a spiritual experience putting you in direct contact with your ultimate feminine essence and the place we have in this life. Whatever this looks like for you. Prepare and plan to create the experience that you want.
What are/were your favourite tools for relaxation during pregnancy? Share your secrets below.
p.s) My next post in this series will be on physical health during pregnancy.