Preparing for anything worthwhile in life takes work. If you think of the things you have poured yourself into, they have all required thinking, planning, and feeling through, whether it was a career, a year traveling the world, or a great relationship. Which is why it’s a little odd that we don’t always expect preparing for pregnancy to take any amount of sincere effort. Here’s some very real talk; preparation is just as important when you are trying to get pregnant. As a fertility acupuncturist finally seeing a trend toward open conversations about fertility, I think one reason women don’t discuss preparation as much as we should is because we tend to think of pregnancy from a limited biological standpoint. Pregnancy seems like something that just happens, right? Until it doesn’t.
After over 16 years treating fertility issues, I can promise you that pregnancy is first and foremost about change. Change in itself often requires that we stretch emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is even more true with pregnancy. Your body changes, your priorities change, your mentality changes, and the way you approach your life transforms too.
So how do we prepare for all of that? I believe an important key is mindfulness. True preparation requires that we slow down, shut off some of the noise in our lives, and learn to listen more to what matters. Becoming more present when you are preparing to become pregnant is really all about knowing yourself and finding clarity. So if you’ve just started to try, or you’re going through any ups and downs during your path to conception, here are some ways to cultivate mindful preparation regarding this changing landscape in your life:
1. See opportunity.
As I said before, change is the big unavoidable thing when it comes to pregnancy. One thing I suggest to patients is that they learn to deeply listen to all of the change that is going on inside their hearts and to be aware when something needs to shift. This is particularly true if your path is a little tougher than expected and you find yourself having to make hard decisions or more significant lifestyle changes. See this period of your life as a chance to positively look at your relationships, your work life, and your support system and understand that any opportunity to realign is actually a gift in preparation for the next part of life.
2. Get real.
There is no one reason for whether conception is easy or not, a myriad of factors affect your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Your diet, for instance, is probably one of the biggest things that you have completely within your control when preparing your body for conception. Start by being aware of what you are eating and drinking and how it makes you feel and affects your health. If you’re preparing to carry a child, you need to be as strong and healthy as possible. Do a check-in on all aspects of your lifestyle and start to live in a zone of healthy preparation.
3. Keep everything in perspective.
As much as getting real requires examining lifestyle factors that need to be changed, don’t go overboard. There is a certain amount of trust that you need to have in the process of becoming pregnant. Women who do not conceive right away or who experience an early miscarriage often default to feeling shameful about their bodies and ability to bear a child. Keeping in mind that you are a whole, beautiful human being who will be fine no matter how your process goes is a very important thing to remember. When you love yourself, you can endure things that come your way. Each of these things is essential in preparing to become a conscious parent who is prepared for the ups and downs of life with children.
The truth is that preparing for pregnancy is not something we talk about a lot. It is a huge life transition that sometimes our society leads us to think just "happens" by itself. That might have been true decades ago, but women today often live stressful work-intensive lives that require we pause before walking into pregnancy. We owe it to ourselves to prepare and to feel empowered during this phase of life.