Friends, family, strangers, experts, books...all will tell you many things about pregnancy, but sometimes it’s about taking things into your own hands and focussing on what’s right for you. Self care during a time when your body is not only keeping you alive but also creating new life is so important and also something that is entirely personal.
Throughout my journey to motherhood I’ve slowly learnt a few key lessons about practicing self care during pregnancy and ensuring I put mine and my babies well being first. I’m sure I have more lessons to learn in the last few weeks as I near my due date but for now here are my tips on looking after your mind and body as best you can during this exciting and crazy time:
Listen To Your Body
The most important thing you can do during pregnancy is listen to what your body is telling you...reset your boundaries when exercising, eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. This all sounds simple enough but when your body is going through so many changes and everything you’ve known it to need or have the ability to do is adjusting as it makes room for baby, taking a step back, understanding, and being ok with what your body needs is so important. Plus don’t forget the many symptoms and side effects of pregnancy, so many; I would suggest choosing one book or app that will help you understand the changes going on that aren’t visible, yes there’s a reason you might be short of breath or losing your balance! Knowledge that what you’re experiencing is normal can help put your mind at ease and remind you not to put pressure on yourself to be functioning exactly as you used to.
Focus On Your Own Experience
I can’t express this strongly enough, although pregnancy may seem to be a pretty standard experience, the journey of every Mama-to-be is as unique and different as you are. Yes sometimes it’s nice to share and compare pregnancy experiences, this can actually be helpful, especially if you can be real and confide in someone about the not so great parts! But it’s also best to always remember that your road to motherhood is uniquely yours and while someone else's experience may have had one outcome yours could be completely different. This is especially true when it comes to getting sucked into a google search about any symptoms you may be having, don’t do it! I had a really scary experience in the first trimester of my pregnancy and let’s just say that nothing anyone said or wrote online was going to help me, what was most important in that moment was the support of my partner and doctors.
Ignore Unwanted Comments/Advice/Stories
People commenting on how big you are, like it has ever been ok to pass judgement on your weight, or how small you are, because you really need to be worried that your baby isn’t as big as it should be. Advice about what you should be prepared for when your baby arrives, which are almost always negative...how about you can deal with whatever your situation is as and when it happens. Or the good old, I heard a friend of a friend had this happen during pregnancy or have you heard this can happen during childbirth. Yes, we all know the details of labour, no need to mention it again! For some reason as soon as you’re sporting a baby bump anyone and everyone feels it’s their duty to pass judgement, give you advice or worst of all tell you horror stories, whether they’re already a Mum or not. Well my only advice is ignore it all and remember that one key fact about how everyone’s experience is different. You can’t predict what you’ll face but you’ll approach those hurdles if and when they arise like the strong Mama you are. And of course feel free to speak up if someone really oversteps the mark with their comments, you may not have heard but pregnancy hormones are uncontrollable!
Invest In Relaxing
Lastly, don’t feel bad about putting your feet up and taking some time to yourself. You should be making the most of relaxing while you can and before your life changes forever, sorry I hate both of those phrases when other people say them to me but I guess they are true! Your body is doing an amazing thing and indulging in a little you time and some R&R is not that indulgent at all when you consider the ever expanding list of pregnancy symptoms you’re dealing with. Set aside time to enjoy being with your partner as well; go out for dinners, go to the movies, enjoy a day at home on the couch. Basically do whatever makes you comfortable, relaxed and happy...this is a time when being selfish isn’t such a bad thing!
This article was originally published on The Green Hub