****This article is written for everyone but I’m dedicating it to pregnant women since I’m one of them now.
I found out 5 months ago that I was pregnant with my first child. This miraculous moment brought so much tears of joy and tears of anxiety as well. I have never been a parent before. In fact, I was barely emotionally close to kids. Sure, I spent few hours here and there with my nephews and nieces but I wasn’t really taking much responsibility for anything at all.
Physical sickness comes with the territory of pregnancy for so many women, at least it was for me. In addition to having morning sickness 10 times a day and other physical illnesses, my pregnancy has a been an emotional rollercoaster that I have been embracing with all my heart. Many of us, don’t realize the grief process that we go through at this time.
We blame it on hormones.
However, while they do actually play a role in activating more of this grief or anxiety or any other emotion you experience, they are only digging up what was already in there and this needs to be looked at now rather than later especially if you want to avoid postpartum depression.
So, today I want to share with you few things that I personally do to embrace my journey, hoping that this will inspire you to create your own list and of course you can use mine as well.
1- Let yourself grief: As I mentioned earlier, sadness and sometimes depression come with the pregnancy game. Yes it is the hormones but it is also your consciousness telling you that it’s time to let go of your attachment to your old self (little self – mainly inner child) and embrace the new self that you can choose to create however you want. Letting go of your old identity is very painful especially if you haven’t done any or as much inner work before. You may find yourself attaching more to your mother or to things that you could relate to when you were a child or single. That’s completely normal and it’s part of the process of maturing.
What to do about this? Instead of rejecting and questioning your sadness, let it be. In other words, let yourself grief for hours, days or whatever it takes for you to feel more connected to that part of you that needs to be seen. Sometimes, I go to my bedroom and cry and write for hours. Rejecting your little self will only make your days harder and anger will build up in your body which will lead to more sickness. Talk to that self that is sad – get to know her and see what she really needs…then give it to her.
2- Express yourself: One thing I love to do when I feel down is to use writing as a medium to release my feelings. Sometimes I write for 5 minutes and other times for an hour. This helps keep my energy flowing instead of keeping everything stuck in my head. The consequence of keeping negative thoughts lead us to reacting to our thoughts and the ripple effect of this destroys our relationships with self and others. You really don’t want more drama right in your life and trust me…you can be as bitchy and angry as you want in your journal with no judgment whatsoever.
What to do about this? I have created many journals – one for sadness, one for self-inquiry, one for my conversations with God and so on. The reason why I do this is because I like to separate my negative emotions and thoughts from the ones that help me find peace. If you’re afraid of writing down your negative thoughts fearing that someone may read them, then you can easily burn everything you write every single time.
3- Get creative: That’s another outlet for self expression. I have been doing abstract charcoal drawings with eyes closed while playing meditative music. I don’t spend a lot of time on the drawing and it doesn’t matter how it looks – what I really care about is expressing what’s inside me and this always gets me curious because I have no idea what the result of my drawing is going to be like and it also brings me joy.
What to do about this? First, please don’t use the excuse of not having enough time to get creative. You can even get creative while you’re on the toilet seat if you really want. Excuses are just excuses and it’s so much easier to take responsibility for your feelings then blaming them on what’s around you or on who’s around you. Talk to your husband, ask for more free time even if it was for 30 minutes a day. When we express why things are so important to us, then our partners will almost always understand and trust me,….they’ll be happy to have their own time as well. If you have no idea how to get creative then grab this book: The artist way.
4- Get your music going: I play Ambient music sometimes for 6 hours a day or more sometimes. It is often in the background of whatever I’m doing. Whether I’m helping a client, cooking, playing with my dogs, drawing, sleeping or having a candle night dinner at home with my hubby (we do this often and it’s highly recommended – no need for fancy dinner at home…let this be part of your get together time and it does magic). There’s something about music that relaxes the body and opens the mind. Besides, it is also very beneficial for your baby.
What to do about this? If you don’t have the right music that soothes you, then download pandora on your phone or on your desktop. You can also use Youtube or my friend Jon who is a sound healer, has created wonderful music for healing and relaxation and they’re free on his website: http://sonicyogi.blogspot.com/2013/07/sound-downloads.html
5- Be in the water: Water relaxes your body and mind and I personally connect so much more with water than with mountains. Since I live far from the ocean, I bring the ocean to my house by making epsom salt bath with aromatherapy on almost daily basis. Sometimes I add flowers and cinnamon spice to help myself connect more to the earth. I call this my Goddess time. I usually lit up candles and again play music in the background. (Please read guidelines about using aromatherapy and making a bath if you’re pregnant). I also have my go to place in nature which is Roswell Mill. It has a beautiful waterfall that calms me immediately by watching it and listening to the sound of water splashing left and right.
What to do about this? Get creative with water. Play with water, jump in a pool or a lake, river or make your own epsom salt bath with candles, flowers or whatever makes you feel more connected with yourself. Find your go to place in nature that has water as well. Don’t use the lack of time as an excuse – everything in your life comes from a decision and that can be changed by making a new decision. The more you’re relaxed, the happier your baby will be as well.
6- Meditate: I can’t stress this enough and I have to admit, I broke my meditation routine when I got pregnant but now I’m back to it. Even if you have to meditate for 5 minutes – that’s all it takes to help you connect with yourself more and ease your mind.
What to do about this? If you don’t know how to meditate, Drepung loseling have a free livestream channel. You can also follow people on youtube and also I have few meditations on my website as well. You can also do this simple meditation: sit quietly on a chair or in your meditation room and breathe in as you’re counting for 6 and breathe out as you’re counting for 8 or 10. The longer you exhale the more you’re relaxed.
7- Create your morning ritual: I have had my morning ritual for years now. It’s very important to me personally to have this because it helps me connect with myself before I start my day. If you google morning rituals, you’ll see that every highly successful person has their own morning rituals as well. However, for me success has nothing to do with my morning ritual, I do it because it brings connection to me and to God. I change it every now and then but it mainly consists of naming things I’m grateful for in the morning along with some prayers that I got from different sources such as:
Today, I’ll step back and let God lead the way.
Dear God, Thank you for all that I am and all that I have. Show me the way to console those who need to be consoled. Show me what I need to say, who I need to be and what I need to do to express you.
Dear God, where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say and to whom. What would you have me feel and what would you have me think. (Part of this comes from ACIM)
I also add meditation, 2 minutes of writing turn around questions, music and reading a spiritual book.
What to do about this? If you don’t know what you want your morning to look like then ask yourself: what would help me feel more connected with myself in the morning? What would bring me more joy and love? For me it is spirituality – for you it could be something else.
8- Ask for help: There is no shame in asking for help. In fact, people love to feel needed and we all need to do acts of kindness towards one another ..otherwise, we would go insane and disappear as a species since we’ll end up killing one another. You deserve to be happy. In fact, your true nature is happy and the proof of it is that it is only when you’re relaxed, that everything falls into the right place, you have clarity and contentment and therefore you make the right decisions. If you believe that you don’t deserve to be happy, then you’re creating a ripple effect of destruction and negativity that will affect people around you and by affecting them you’re also affecting those around them and the ripple effect continues. What would this lead to? Killing one another? Hating one another? War with one another? Then death of our species. Take a look at the world right now and what do you think causes wars, murders and so on? They all emerge from unhappiness and pain.
What to do about this? I ask for help in different ways from my husband, mother, dad, family, sometimes friends and I even have my go to mentors and coaches that always help me remember what kind of person I want to be and help me heal what needs to be healed. Identify what you need help with whether it was emotional or physical, then ask for it gently. The right people will show up for you but this can’t be done when we complain about what we need yet we don’t do anything about it. Seek support groups as well or go to prenatal yoga classes.
9- Question your thoughts: especially those that bring you misery, sadness and depression. I usually use “The Work” by Byron Katie. She has free resources on her website: thework.com. I highly respect this woman and she’s probably the one I look up to. I can’t recommend her books or her work enough.
What to do about this? Get Byron Katie’s book: loving what is and download her free resources. Also, seek help such as therapy, coach or mentors. These individuals exist for a reason and that’s to help us when we’re ready to grow or if we’re going tough times.
My Tibetan Monk Teacher gave me a great advice : “Just like you decide to quit smoking for your child’s safety, every time you have a negative thought say to yourself: I’m not doing this right now for my own child.”
10. Be very gentle with yourself: There’s nothing to fix about you – there are only wounds to embrace and love. It’s normal to feel doubt, fear, anxiety about your pregnancy and becoming a new mother. Watch what you say and how you talk about yourself. Being judgmental is not going to help you bring peace. Always ask the question: Is this thought giving me peace or stress? Is what I’m believing 1000% true. Everything is a process and everything you’re going through in your pregnancy and in your life needs to happen otherwise it wouldn’t be happening. So, I highly encourage you to embrace what is and be objective about what’s happening instead of dramatic and judgmental. This is so much easier said then done but it’s doable and it’s only a practice.
One thing I want to invite you to remember is that your child is going to be very thankful for all the inner work that you’re choosing to do right now because it will be reflected in your relationship with them.
I love you! I hope this helps you! <3