Culture & Lifestyle / Keeping It Real: It’s Time To Mindfully Embrace The Not So Perfect Pregnancy

Keeping It Real: It’s Time To Mindfully Embrace The Not So Perfect Pregnancy

Culture & Lifestyle May 08, 2019

With Harry and Meghan welcoming their new royal baby boy while the rest of us are gearing up for Mother’s Day plans, the beauty of celebrating the various stages of motherhood can not be denied. Kisses and cuddles are just some of the cuteness a baby brings to their loved ones but what about the not so cute side of pregnancy? Let’s support parents through conversations and tips on how to mindfully embrace the pressures of pregnancy. It’s Time To Mindfully Embrace The Not So Perfect Pregnancy

Worldwide, approximately 250 babies are born each minute with the most amount of births recorded in India and Africa. Despite so many babies being born, the experience of pregnancy is not always blissful. Around 13-20% of women are diagnosed with post-partum depression and through open, stigma-free dialogue, more mothers are being shown support. Though mental health during is still a taboo topic in the South Asian culture, more resources are becoming available on postpartum depression but what about emotions that arise during (postnatal) pregnancy?

Media outlets talk about the ‘glow’ of a pregnancy but what about the not-so-glamorous moments? The swollen feet, the fatigue, the change in appetite, body and hormones can understandably take a toll on a woman’s mental health. Though mood swings are acknowledged, they are sometimes downplayed as something that can be cured with a tub of ice cream but it’s not that simple.

 

It's Time To Mindfully Embrace The Not So Perfect Pregnancy
It’s Time To Mindfully Embrace The Not So Perfect Pregnancy: Meditation can help in moments of stress.  Photo Credit: https://www.momjunction.com/articles

It’s time we stop placing expectations on pregnant mothers who feel mental stress to push aside their feelings and focus on the ‘bigger picture’ of the blessing to come. Instead, let’s hold space for expectant mothers to feel however they feel without judgement or shame.

With acknowledgement and respect towards the very unique, individual experience of childbirth and parenting, we share some mindful tips to help expectant mothers with their mental well-being during pregnancy.

Show yourself more self-love: There’s no right or wrong way to feel during pregnancy so it’s time to let go of any cultural and personal expectations about how you should love and/or embrace the experience. You may have doubts, moments of despair and feelings of darkness; don’t feel shame about them. Emotions can be responses to the physical and psychological changes you’re going through in the present moment, they are not a reflection of the type of parent you will be in the future. Observe all your emotions without judgment and shower yourself with self-love.

Slow down: Understand your energy level will change; sometimes it may feel even higher and others times lower and both are okay. Rid yourself of the expectation that you will be able to handle as many tasks as you could before or move about at the same speed. Avoid scheduling too much for yourself and block off some “me time” everyday (it can be as long as a few hours or as brief as 10 minutes, the important thing is to take it without feeling guilty). When the baby does come, you may be moving faster than ever before so take the time to slow down. When/if you do feel overwhelmed, action deep breathing exercises; they are proven to be helpful for your mind, body and spirit.

Seek support: Find yourself a mommy-to-be tribe or support group. There are tons of creative ways to connect with like-minded moms including online groups, at pre-natal yoga courses and/or if you aren’t into joining a group, seek individual counseling or talk to a therapist. It’s important to have an outlet outside your immediate family and/or partner to discuss your emotions and relate to others as they navigate through their pregnancy journeys.

 

 

It's Time To Mindfully Embrace The Not So Perfect Pregnancy
It’s Time To Mindfully Embrace The Not So Perfect Pregnancy: Pre-natal yoga classes are a healthy way to connect with yourself and others. Photo Credit: www.ninemonthspregnancy.com

 

Don’t let weight gain weigh you down. You’re not fat, you’re pregnant. You have a human being growing inside you. Social media, Hollywood and Bollywood are great at marketing the “come back” with celebrities basking in the paparazzi glare showing off their abdominal muscles just months after childbirth but keep in mind they may have a whole team of people behind them; nannies, chefs, personal trainers and sometimes even plastic surgeons. Don’t let your weight gain stress you out and don’t compare yourself to others. Shower your body with lots of self-love with a practice in the shower; as you clean, give thanks to each part of your body for rising to the occasion of childbirth (for example: thank your swollen feet for safely carrying your baby with each step you take).

Embrace a minimalist mantra: Yes it’s a good idea to prepare yourself with the necessities you and your baby will need for the first few months but remember it’s not the material items that will make you a good parent. The baby industry is full of clothes, toys, strollers, books and more many of which you may buy but not really need. Action a minimalist mantra through creating lists of priorities and give yourself space to acquire things as your baby grows. Don’t go down the rabbit hole of getting obsessed with buying stuff or comparing your purchases to that of your friends. Keeping your home environment clutter free can help cultivate a calm environment.

 

Main Image Photo Credit www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com.    

Rachna Sethi

Rachna Sethi

Author

Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...

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