When approaching mental health during pregnancy, I feel a triad of mind, body and soul is vital. The goal being to find a balance between feeling mentally well, keeping physically healthy and feeding your soul.
Pregnancy and the thought of bringing a little life into this world is a big deal and comes with great responsibility. So it is understandable to feel overwhelmed, especially if this is your first pregnancy.
Consider starting a journal.
This is a great way to release your thoughts, fears or dreams and it can be something special you can share with your child at a later stage. Your journal can also act as a form of a to-do list, introducing some order and control into a time filled with emotion (and porridge brain!).
In my practice, I have come to realize that a fear of the unknown, is one of the key sources of stress and anxiety. In a previous article I referred to mindfulness, where we aim to let go of the past, try not to control the future and focus our energy on the present. Pregnancy is a perfect example of a time where we need to take things day by day and to accept that we can only do so much to prepare and be “ready”. Aiming for perfectionism will only cause stress and disappointment.
Your best is good enough.
Focus on what you do know and can control and let go of the rest.
This however can be especially difficult to do if you fall pregnant after previously experiencing a pregnancy loss. The process of incorporating the new pregnancy into your life, knowing the loss you have previously experienced is complex and filled with mixed emotions. Perhaps find out if there are any support groups in your area for moms to be going through a similar experience. Or it might even be worth setting up a few sessions with a psychologist to assist with navigation through your feelings and fears. The goal being to find a balance. A balance between grieving the loss of your unborn child and celebrating the new life on the way.
Now is the ideal time to start or continue treating your body well. If you exercise regularly, continue. If exercise isn’t really your thing, maybe introduce a short walk a few times a week.
But either way, keep moving! This will benefit your body, mind, soul and the baby.
During my pregnancy I joined a pregnancy yoga class. This was a wonderful way to exercise, focus on my breathing, meet other moms to be and bond with my baby. Eat as healthily as you can. Your body and baby deserve it. Do some research into healthy eating during pregnancy. If you feel good about yourself, you will be in a better frame of mind leading to increased energy and motivation.
We often tend to neglect our soul and our spiritual being. During this special time in your life, stop and ask yourself:
What feeds my soul? What revitalizes me? What makes me smile?
The answer might be your faith or singing or gardening, or painting. Whatever it is, put time aside and do more of it! Focus on increasing positivity and gratefulness in your daily life. Aim to cleanse yourself of negativity whether it be internally or externally. End and start your day by listing all the things you are grateful for. Take some time out alone. This assists with an internal peacefulness and greater self-awareness. Set aside a few minutes a day to meditate and be mindful.
In summary, remember that this is your unique journey. Avoid comparing yourself to others and aim to approach your pregnancy holistically. May the union of mind, body and soul enable you to have a wonderful and balanced pregnancy. And may this balance within you, foster a balanced and unbreakable bond between you and the new life you have created.
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