Dear Fellow Mama-Bear,
You are so strong and truly a miracle. Your body was able to grow a baby and now you are raising a tiny human. Your body is beautiful, with each and every stretch mark, curve, scar.
Your body stretched in ways you never thought possible, it transformed into the perfect home for a baby.
Your body knew exactly what that baby needed without you having to think about a thing.
Sure, you may have bags under your eyes and battle wounds all over. You may be in pain and bleeding. Your nipples are probably sore and inflamed.
But you are INCREDIBLE. And your body is beautiful, capable of miraculous things.
I was 19 years old when I had my son. And as much as I wanted to enjoy the newborn phase, it took me a while to embrace it. My family had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I was having a baby as a teenager. And because I couldn’t party anymore, my friends disappeared. I would just cry, and cry, and cry. I would lay on the couch all day with the blinds shut and a crying newborn. I’ve never felt more alone than I did at that point.
Looking back now, I can see everything that transpired in my life from an objective view point and see the Divinity that was that point in my life, along with how much I believe my son saved my life from going down a dark path.
Fast forward five years, I became pregnant with my daughter. I remember looking back and having so much compassion for my younger self, just not knowing any better. This time around, I would make my pregnancy and postpartum experience as pleasant as possible. Sure, there are many uncontrollable factors at play.
However, there are many things we can do to assist in making our pregnancy and postpartum experience a little smoother.
I had a night and day experience between the two of my babies. Below is a list of the most helpful tips and tricks I incorporated into my pregnancy and postpartum experience:
1. I surrounded myself with friends and family. I made a conscious effort even if I didn’t feel like it to be active among my circle. I wanted to avoid the feelings of loneliness at all costs. In return, I felt so supported in my journey and I really bonded with those close to me.
2. Get out of the house pre and post labor. Yes, the doctor may tell you not to take your baby outside or in public places for a few weeks or even months. This was where my postpartum depression kicked in. So, I made sure to get out and just walk around my neighborhood or in nature. No heavy exercise and nothing that would’ve exposed my baby to anything harmful. When I couldn’t get out because I was just too tired, I went back to number 1 and invited someone to spend time with me.
3. I allowed people to help me. When someone asks if you need help with anything, or if they can bring you something or clean for you, say YES! We think we can do everything on our own. And maybe we can. But boy, does it make life so much easier when the laundry isn’t overflowing and the house isn’t a mess or when there’s a fresh dinner someone brought over. Those little things made the world of a difference and I am forever grateful for that help. Think of how happy it makes you to help another person. This is how other people feel when they offer to help YOU. Accept their gift!
4. YOGA. Certain pregnancy-friendly yoga poses are so beneficial. I read a book by Deepak Chopra called “Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives” that included pregnancy safe yoga poses. Yoga helped alleviate stress, it helped my flexibility and I believe it helped me heal a lot faster postpartum. Disclaimer: Get your OB/GYN’s go-ahead for yoga and always listen to your body. Stop right away if you feel any kind of discomfort whatsoever.
5. Lots of nutrient dense whole foods. There’s an endless amount of benefits to eating nutrient dense whole foods. Sure, I gave into some weird cravings at times but I made sure about 85% of my diet was clean. This included lots of fruits and veggies, organic meats and nourishing foods like lentils or sweet potatoes. Our hormones are all over the place to begin with so eating foods that support our hormones instead of disrupting them is key.
6. Use the power of visualization. Like I said, there are many uncontrollable factors in life but when you can train your mind to go where your desired outcome is, your better able to keep your calm as the tides change. Your mind is like a muscle. It takes some conscious effort but I promise it works! I visualized myself going through a natural childbirth with no interventions. I repeated the affirmation “I am going to have a fast, easy, safe, and feel-good labor” probably a million times. I activated my inner strength and will to be able to go through a natural birth without any pain medication. With my son, I was induced and had an epidural and my body did not take it well at all. I wanted to be as natural as possible and that it was.
These are just a few things you can do that may benefit your pregnancy and postpartum experience. Every woman and pregnancy is so different, so always listen to your body. Get quiet and tune into what you’re feeling. That is the beginning of the path that’ll direct you where to go. Remind yourself daily even when you don’t believe it or feel it, that you are so powerful beyond anything you can imagine. Your body is capable of amazing things. And one last thing, you GOT this!!!