Maybe you tried really hard to conceive, maybe you waited patiently. Now that you are pregnant and experienced that immediate sense of relief “whew! we did it!” that stress has started to creep back in and you’re wondering how to handle it naturally as well as effectively.
Maybe you were surprised when you got that pink line on the stick and now you’re feeling stress you hadn’t planned on. Sure you’re happy, but whoa so many things to work through and plan now!
Maybe you wanted this pregnancy but birth seems daunting even intimidating. Your last birth was traumatic and you’re scared it will repeat or be as horrific as your friends have told you it will be.
Why does it matter?
I probably don’t need to tell you the risks associated with stressed out mamas. Too much stress in pregnancy can cause little disurpitons like headaches, insomnia, indigestion. It can also cause much more serious complications like low birth weight, pre-term labor, long labors, increase in interventions during labor, difficult breastfeeding, or even Hypertension (preeclampsia).
Should you quit your job and crawl into bed for the next 9 months? No! A certain level of stress is actually useful. Labor is actually quite stressful on baby but it serves the purpose of teaching their lungs to compress (as contractions squeeze and release), turns on oxytocin (to bond with mama) and norepinephrine (to be alert to meet mama).
A certain amount of stress for adults is useful too – it pushes us, causes us to motivate and take action. So you don’t need to eliminate all stressors to decrease your chances of complications.
What to do?
How can you be a wise mama and find some joy, some stillness, some good old fashioned stress relief without getting a massage everyday or moving to an island?
1. Use food.
We tend to have a love/hate relationship with food as women. We use it as punishment or reward. We count it. We fear it. We indulge in it. What if you decided for the season of pregnancy and postpartum you would enjoy it? You would use it to build up yourself and baby and you would choose foods and ways of eating that you enjoy?
Walk away from the list of scary “no” foods in pregnancy and try this exercise:
- What foods make me happy? (Not give me a brief sugar high but actually make me happy.) Something my mom used to make? My favorite spring dish?
- What foods am I afraid of? Why? What would happen if I stopped labeling these foods as “good” and “bad”?
- How do I usually eat? Alone? Quickly? With family? How does this likely affect my digestion and nutrient abosorption?
2. Practice yin enhancing poses.
We live in a culture of yang. Masculine, heating, fast paced. And while we of course need some yang energy in our lives (otherwise we’d all become lazy, loafing noodles) we need it to be constantly moving in balance with yang energy: feminine, slow, cooling.
Choose yoga poses that can be supported with blocks or bolsters, forward folds and seated poses and stay in them a bit longer than you usually do. Make the challenge to see not how deep you can get into a pose physically, but how deep you can get into a pose by surrendering and staying put.
3. Stop googling stuff.
I mean it! So many searches can turn into a rabbit hole on the internet. You come up for hair 2 hours later more confused and stressed than when you began! It’s true, we need info and support and most of our care providers aren’t equipped to give us holistic advice on nutrition, emotional well-being and “alternative” approaches. But too long online and you will find information but not necessary the education or support that you’re really looking for.
Instead, choose a tribe or a single guide to take you through your personal needs as a mama-to-be. Make that a private and sacred relationship and keep the googling to a minimum.
Are you in need of a wellness guide? Let me help you.