As a pregnancy coach for over 25 years, and a birth doula for more than 14, I’ve come to realize the vital importance of mindfulness during this period of growth.
So I wrote my new book, The Mindful Mom-to-Be to share my insight and help women transition into motherhood with mindfulness and empowerment. After all, you're not just birthing a child — you’re also bringing a new mother into the world.
Here are my favorite tips for enjoying your pregnancy with mindfulness, and nurturing the new mother within you:
1. Take time each day to stop, unplug, and acknowledge all that’s happening.
Your pregnancy is a miraculous time — every day new things are developing and your body is working hard to support the changes.
But in today’s world, disconnecting from work, tech and social media and simply enjoying the moment doesn’t always come easy.
Take time each day to stop, unplug, and acknowledge all that’s happening. Practice being present with yourself and your baby. Bask in this miracle that's growing inside of you and be in awe of your body for being so capable of carrying this child.
2. Remember: the better you take care of yourself, the better you'll be taking care of your baby.
For the nine months that your baby is growing inside of you, it’s as much a part of you as your internal organs. The better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be taking care of the baby within. In other words: healthy mom, healthy baby.
Remember that the foods you eat, the products you use, and the way you feel are all part of the foundation that’s building your baby. At this time, you’re already being a mother by the way you care for your body.
3. Research, read and seek out advice during your pregnancy — but also trust your motherly instincts.
You can search all over the world for the perfect guru to tell you what's best for you and your child. But when it comes down to it, I believe that everything you need is already inside of you.
Research, read and seek out advice during your pregnancy — but also trust your motherly instincts. Start playing around with what feels right or resonates with you.
4. Don’t forget to breathe. (Pregnancy is exciting, but it can be filled with fear and stress!)
Next time you’re in a stressful situation, stop and notice your breath. Most likely you either aren’t breathing or taking short sips of air. But the slower and deeper you breathe, the calmer you will become.
Try this simple breathing exercise the next time you’re feeling anxious: Place your hands on your baby, count for four to six breaths, and breathe deep into your belly. As you exhale, breathe out through your mouth slowly for the same count. Do this for a few rounds and notice how you feel.
5. Nurture your relationship with your partner.
Your relationship with your partner can influence your child’s future relationships. Take this time to heal anything that needs mending. Work together to become a team and get on the same page about values, morals and parenting styles.
6. Rock your authentic self.
During pregnancy, you're going to have a million people projecting their views onto you. And if you aren’t clear about who you are and what you stand for, you might get swept away and make choices from a place of fear.
Plus, the more comfortable you are with who you truly are, the more you’ll accept and embrace your child’s authenticity. After all, those who are hardest on themselves are usually hardest on others.
Where are you not fully allowing the real you to be expressed? What can you do to live more from a place of truth?
7. Parent yourself.
As they say on airplanes, you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others. The same goes for your pregnancy — if you’re constantly running around without stopping to focus on yourself, you’ll become totally depleted and of no use to anyone.
When you’re a parent and your child is hungry, you'll feed them. When they’re tired, you’ll help them get to sleep. When they’re having a bad day, you’ll comfort them. This is a no-brainer — it’s what parents do!
But how many of you actually “parent” yourself? I mean really tune into your needs, and take care of yourself?
When you parent yourself, you’re doing much more than giving yourself much-needed attention. You’re setting an amazing example for your children that you care for yourself, which is an act of self-love. Take the time to be that loving parent to yourself — before you become a parent to your little one.