“Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.” – Gloria Steinem

Finding your pregnancy mojo

“You’re glowing!”

This compliment has become ubiquitous, and for good reason: pregnancy can indeed be astoundingly beautiful.

But what if you’re well into the second trimester, often considered the honeymoon period of pregnancy, and you’re still just not feeling it? At all? Maybe you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, possibly even still nauseated…or simply at a loss as to what to do with your hair, now way fuller and veering on out of control. Whatever the reason, you feel like you should be ecstatic about being “ripe with child,” but you’re anything but.

First of all, this probably goes without saying, but if you’re not feeling well—physically, emotionally, or otherwise—check with your medical caregiver to make sure everything’s fine, so that you can start treatment if it’s not. For example, anemia (even borderline) isn’t unusual during pregnancy, and can contribute to a major lack of zest.

Then try out some of these tips:

Know and accept that it’s totally OK not to love, or even like, being pregnant.

Society puts a lot of pressure on pregnant people (and new parents too, but that’s a different subject) to “savour every precious moment.” Maybe this pregnancy was a total and not-entirely-welcome surprise, and you need time to come to terms with the idea of being a parent. Even if you’re genuinely thrilled to be travelling this new path in life, pregnancy can sometimes be truly uncomfortable…or even downright suck. The good news to remind yourself of in this case is that it’s a temporary state.

Get thee some bodywork.

Massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic… Because these practitioners work holistically, they go beyond treating specific aches and pains, and move you toward overall balance. Ask your caregiver, doula, or friends for recommendations for practitioners experienced in working with pregnant women, and if you find someone you like, go regularly if you can afford it. (Hint: these services make nice baby shower gifts to ask for, too!) Many practitioners offer receipts that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement or write off at tax time.

Spend more time in nature.

Even if by nature, we’re talking the tiny neighbourhood park. Sure, maybe this idea is less appealing if there’s an ice storm on the way or it’s mosquito time. But being out and about regularly in the natural world can lower stress and anxiety, increase energy, and even sharpen your brain. And taking a little time now and again to observe all those little (and big) seasonal changes can be a sweet reminder of the cyclic nature of our lives.

Explore Ayurveda.

And learn about how you can better support and nourish yourself, during pregnancy, postpartum…and throughout any season or stage of your life. There’s tons of information online and in books. You can even meet with an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, or an Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor.

Splurge on a gorgeous new maternity outfit.

Yes, it may feel ridiculous to spend so much money on something you wear for only a few months. But it’s worth it if it makes you feel as beautiful as you are. Alternatively: if you have any friends who’ve been pregnant, ask if they have any maternity clothes they’re ready to part with. You could end up with an entire new-to-you wardrobe!

Treat yourself to a new haircut or colour.

Or a free consult at a makeup counter, a facial, or a maternity photo shoot!

Change up your fitness routine.

If you’ve not been getting much (or, um, any) exercise, try to head out for a short daily walk, or look into a prenatal yoga or pilates class. Or if you’re still running five days a week or pushing hard in those spinning classes, you may actually be depleting your energy reserves. See how you feel about slowing down or cutting back the high-intensity workouts for now.

Naps!

That is all.

Go out dancing.

Or go hear some live music. Who knows—you may even feel inspired to dance during labour!

Or…turn inward and experiment with meditation or mantra.

You can find in-person guided meditations in most cities, or try a free app such as Insight Timer. Or just sit comfortably for a few minutes and pay attention to your breath.

Stop depriving yourself.

Did you give up something you absolutely love when you found out you were pregnant? Like…that morning coffee you used to live for? Or, I don’t know, Reese’s peanut butter cups? Obviously you want to take the best care of yourself possible while you’re pregnant—you know this or you probably wouldn’t be reading my blog—but for the most part, a “forbidden” treat now and again won’t hurt and may do wonders for your morale (and mojo!). When in doubt, definitely check with your doctor or midwife, but if you get the green light, go for it. And go for the absolute best version of whatever it is (whatever “best version” means to you). Buy your coffee beans from the local third-wave roaster. Or real Reese’s cups, not some imitation version with less sugar.

Go beyond the “what to expect” and the comparisons of your growing baby to fruit.

And immerse yourself in reading about the introspective side of pregnancy and parenthood. Or about how other cultures honour these stages in life. Check out books such as Birthing from Within, Labyrinth of Birth, Sacred Pregnancy, and Sacred Motherhood, to name but a few.

Wishing you joy and peace!

Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash

About the author: I’m Heather Marr, a certified birth doula in Montreal, mom of two, and eternal wanderluster. When it comes to pregnancy, birth, and new parenthood, it’s about the journey AND the destination. I’ll support you every step of the way.

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