One of the best pregnancy benefits I’ve experienced thus far has been an increased awareness of my body. I think this occurs naturally for most pregnant women, but to varying degrees depending on the degree to which you let it affect you. As with anything, I realized that there were two ways I could decide to respond to this increase in body sensations. I could either choose to be annoyed with all the physical changes or allow this experience to give me a heightened understanding of my incredible body! I bet you can guess which one I chose…
In the past, I thought of my body mostly as a vessel or container. I didn’t pay much attention to it and expected it to function at all times. If it was sick, I expected it to push through. If it was tired, I expected it to ‘get over it’. That way of tending to my body phased out around age 25 when my body DEMANDED that it be taken care of. It went into full-on rebellion, gifting me with 2 years of physical pain, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. And let me tell you, when your body wages war on you, YOU LISTEN!
Let’s just say that I got the message and employed every resource I could think of to make it stop. I got a therapist, found a chiropractor, did physical therapy, hired a life coach and started Network Spinal Analysis, all within the period of a year. It was slow going, but over time I learned how to care for my body and it responded in the most amazing way (translation: I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life and now trust that my body has the capacity to heal itself.)
Surprisingly, the body awareness that came with pregnancy was on a different level (more like a class titled Body Understanding 201 vs. the 101 learning I had to do in my mid-20’s). I have enjoyed taking care of myself these last few years, so with a little encouragement from my husband (and the gift of open time on my calendar), I entered into a period of radical self-care for my body. It sounds easier than it actually was. I had a lot of guilt at first as my gremlin whispered a constant stream of nasty messages in my ear:
- You are being WAY too self-indulgent!
- What a waste of your time this self-care is, you should be producing something!
- Are you really going to nap AGAIN? You already slept 10 hours last night!
I eventually was able to ignore the messages after my husband reminded me at dinner one night that the most important thing I could do for our family right now was to grow a healthy baby (which starts with taking care of myself and remaining in a sound emotional state). What a smart man I married! Somehow that released all the guilt and I was able to view growing a baby as my job for 9 months. That was the best perspective shift I made all year!
Since getting to MN, I’ve taken my current ‘job’ very seriously, engaging in a variety of wellness practices that help keep me centered. On any given day, I both take a 30 minute walk and do one of the following: Prenatal Yoga, Prenatal Massage or Network Spinal Analyis. The combination of these 4 things has kept me in an amazing state of being these last 5 weeks. I have none of the anxiety that existed early in the pregnancy and I’ve developed a strong connection with both my body and the baby. I am proud of the work I’ve done and am curious about the impact it will have on both my labor and the baby’s demeanor.
Since this post is getting a bit longer than I prefer, I’ll give you a teaser that my next post will talk about a very cool experience I had that was a direct result of my increased body awareness. Stay tuned for that!