Guest Editor: Lori Bregman, Celebrity Doula, Life Coach + Author
As a birth doula and coach I have taken and supported thousands of women through their pregnancy journey. As amazing as this special time is, it can also come with its fair share of stress, especially for the first time mama.
Photo: Courtesy of Lori Bregman
Here are a few ways to make your journey into motherhood a more peaceful experience:
Focus on yourself – In all my years, I have never experienced the same circumstances in a woman, relationship, pregnancy, birth or baby – each one has had a very UNIQUE journey. When you focus on the way someone else did it, how much weight they gained, or how their partner is showing up for them, you will disconnect with your own individuality and truth of who you are and what authentically feels right for you and your unique family. They are not you; we all have different strengths, weaknesses and ways of doing things. Focus on yourself, find what feels right for you and do it your way.
Be present – I have always loved this quote, “99% of the things we worry about never happen.” Watch the what- ifs; if you find yourself focusing on what MIGHT be, then bring your attention back into the present moment. When we worry about the future we are worrying about something that might not ever happen. The only thing that is real is this present moment; the past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet. It is in what you do here and now that is building a path to your future. We waste so much precious energy worrying about what might go wrong, but an easy way to shift this is by catching your thoughts and changing them to what could go right.
It’s ok to set boundaries – During pregnancy EVERYONE will be projecting their views and ways onto you about the way they did it or think it should be done. Protect yourself from the projections and horror stories that others will love to tell you about. Remember what I said above about no two women are the same. Just because they had that experience or knew of someone who did, doesn’t mean that will be your experience. You have every right to set boundaries and say, “I know you mean well, but I’m trying to stay in a good healthy head space. So unless you have something positive to say that will help inspire me about birth or motherhood, I would prefer not to hear it.” Setting boundaries can be challenging at first, but it gets easier once you start feeling better after setting them.
Photo: Courtesy of Lori Bregman
Create a morning and bedtime ritual for yourself – The way you go to sleep and the way you start your day sets the pace for how well you will sleep through this time as well as how your day will unfold once you wake. As a parent you naturally transition your child to sleep by feeding them a healthy dinner, giving them a soothing bath or reading them a book. In the morning you might want to give them a bit of down time to ease your child into their day. Be mindful about the food you give them and how they react to it. It’s a no brainer and easy to do for your kids so they succeed and thrive. I invite you now to do the same for YOURSELF.
Breathe, meditate, exercise and do yoga – These are all great ways to release endorphins (the feel good hormone,) help you de-stress, calm the nervous system, ground your energy and promote relaxation.
Clean up your diet – Eating a diet rich in Non-GMO, hormone free and organic whole foods is an instant game changer. Your food can have an effect on your mood, energy and of course overall wellbeing. If you regularly consume sugars, white flours, sodas, fried and processed foods, your body will be working overtime spending priceless energy to digest and detoxify. You have a choice with what you put in your body. The cleaner you eat, the more you will start to feel better, less stressed and thus thrive. Most importantly, the foundation on which you build your baby from will be solid and healthy.
Stay off the internet – If you are looking for a problem, you can be sure to find one online. I once went onto some of the pregnancy chat rooms to see why so many of my clients were spinning in fear and I was even freaked out after reading all the scary stories people were talking about. There are amazing books out there; find the ones that keep it real and don’t promote fear. I love Ina May’s – Guide to Childbirth, Sarah Buckley’s – Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering…, Dr. Hakakha and Dr. Brown’s – Expecting 411, and of course my book – The Mindful Mom-To-Be… 🙂