Pregnancy can bring on a lot of stress. There’s a lot to do in just a few short months.
Plus, your body is changing. Your hormones are changing. Your life is changing!
I know the feeling. When I discovered I was pregnant I was living with my in-laws and I was already working two stressful jobs to save up money so my husband and I could move.
In-laws + difficult living situation + financial challenges = STRESS!
That last thing I wanted was for my baby to grow in a belly awash with stress hormones. Below are the tools I turned to in order to make my pregnancy a more peaceful and pleasant one.
#1 – Mindfulness
My thoughts can get a little out of control sometimes, especially when I’m overworked and sleep-deprived. Add to that my history of anxiety and depression, and my mind can become a dark and scary place.
Mindfulness is my first go-to.
Mindfulness is the act of paying attention with purpose to the present moment, including all your thoughts and feelings, nonjudgmentally. It’s purposefully bringing your attention to yourself and your current experience.
The great thing about mindfulness is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. You can be eating and simply bringing your attention fully to the act of eating. Simple, right?
Even better, check out Nancy Bardacke’s Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond. It’s wonderful!
#2 – Meditation
I love love love guided meditations. Silent meditations are great, but in my experience as both a practitioner and a previous instructor guided meditations are fantastic for beginners, busy folks, and monkey minds like mine.
When I was pregnant, I searched YouTube for all the pregnancy- and relaxation-related guided meditations and listened to at least one a day. They helped me assuage my fears, calm my nerves, and give me faith that birth would go well and baby would be born healthy and perfect (which she was – she was even born at home!).
Wildmind.org has some downloadable, guided meditations for you to try. Or, you can do what I did and browse YouTube!
If you’re searching for a good gift for a nervous new mom, check out Heartstrings: Visualizations for Pregnancy. It’ll be perfect to help her relax and calm those anxious nerves!
#3 – Aromatherapy
Okay, this I was new to as a pregnant woman but so many of my mom friends raved about it, and my midwife had the most amazing essential oil blends brewing at her birthing center, I just had to give it a try.
Smell is a powerful sense. Just remember back to your grandma’s cooking, or the flowers blooming in your childhood home, or that awful smell of cleaning solution your mom used to clean the bathroom once a week. Smell can transport us to places in an instant.
I would diffuse just a few drops of lavender or chamomile from my favorite diffuser (I had purchased a smaller one, but it would run out of water in just three hours…plus, this one’s beautiful!) and I would instantly feel at ease.
A few drops of grapefruit and lemon were always a great pick-me-up when I was super-exhausted.
To be extra safe, I rarely used the oils on my body (and always mixed with a carrier oil when I did) and I followed the International Federations of Professional Aromatherapists’ guidelines for which oils are safe during pregnancy.
For a super simple explanation on how essential oils work, go here.
Happy relaxing, Momma!