There are so many things that I didn’t do during my first pregnancy due to stubbornness and resistance. It took almost 3 years and a lot of work, conversations, prayers, tears, and the unconditional love and light that Lincoln brings into my life that helped me soften into my role as a mom. Plus I learned that with resistance I only get more resistance and ultimately struggle and unhappiness. I also was desperately trying to cling onto an identity that it was time for me to graduate from, and resisted the opportunity to let my self be reborn and recreated through the birthing of a child. (Sorry to everyone in my life who I made things more complicated for during this process. Thank you for standing with me and loving me anyway. )
Anyway…this post is about how to empower yourself in your pregnancy and to make things easier and more pleasant for this part of the journey. These are things I wish I would have considered and spent my money on instead of being a grouchy pregnant lady and they have supported me in this pregnancy and I want YOU to know about them.
A pregnancy pillow . And maybe even if you’re not pregnant you should get one. Literally one of the greatest things I’ve ever bought. Due to some consistent discomfort I’ve had in my pelvis this time around, this has made sleeping much better. Especially at the end. Also great if your partner doesn’t like snuggling (or complains it’s too hot to snuggle with you longer than 3 minutes) or if you need something to snuggle with.
A chiropractor that specializes in prenatal care. See the aforementioned pelvic pain. Going to see a chiropractor regularly has supported me in that experience and has also helped me keep my posture neutral as my body shifts around and grows what I can only imagine will be a linebacker. My belief also is that so much of postpartum healing (think diastasis and pelvic floor issues) start during pregnancy with the way you carry your body.
Maternity clothes. (I’m not linking this because there are literally thousands of options). This may be a little different from the first time because my body grew differently the second pregnancy. (read faster, and bigger). At this point I have a limited selection of what I can wear in my closet (where as last time I lived in yoga pants and those stretched with me). And I’m grateful for the few cute pieces I have! Find piece you like and make you feel good. Thankfully we are out of the decade of 80’s maternity wear where the only options were giant bags with sleeves and large lacy collars. Since it’s summer most of the year here in Houston, dresses have been my favorite go to option, and allow me to be super comfortable.
Body Oil. Alright so this is a repeat from the first time. The practice of abhyanga is something I practiced in my first pregnancy and on and off for the last few years. It’s a sweet way that I take care of my physical surface, and I rub oil on my belly (and other parts) every day. It’s a reminder to what I’m creating and taking care of everyday. While oil might seem like it would be too oily, it actually absorbs better into your skin than lotion so there isn’t the leftover just sitting on top of your skin. I like doing this after a bath or shower when my skin is still damp. Coconut oil is also another good option, and because of it’s properties tends to trap heat in your body more, which for me in this pregnancy and in Houston, isn’t ideal until the week we have winter.
After birth support. It seems like there is a lot of stuff about what to do before the baby comes, during labor and delivery, and even what to expect with your baby once she/he arrives. There isn’t a lot (or a lot of women in America) practicing extensive self care post baby. This book is incredible, and while I’m not following it word for word, it’s giving me the support and permission I need to let my body go through the healing process after baby arrives.
Asking for support. (also no link of this one). I over estimated my energy capacity in my first pregnancy. I wound up sick a lot. (I think I had a cold every 6 weeks or so). I was exhausted and wasn’t able to do a lot of the work I wanted to do to get my nest ready for baby bird. This time, I allowed myself to be taken care of by my husband, family, and community in a different way. I didn’t over commit myself and erred on the side of doing less rather than doing more. My energy has been much more steady and consistent, and I’ve had far less emotional breakdowns. This is probably a good practice generally, even if you aren’t pregnant.
Movement. This could be anything. I don’t recommend signing up for any new high impact activities, and keeping your range of movement and your body moving is good for you and baby. Good for blood flow, good for hormones, good for your mental state.
I hope this supports you in someway in your pregnancy, or helps you support somebody else in theirs. Remember each is different so listen to your body and give yourself what you need!