We all have those mile long lists of things that need to get done before baby arrives, you know the one, it includes painting the nursery, making sure all the shelves are secured to the wall and cleaning supplies are out of reach of small children, stocking the freezer with ready-made meals, buying the newest and greatest baby gadget on the market, and packing the hospital bags. Often we can get consumed by the ever growing list, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. We forget to take a deep breath, relax, and indulge in some self-care. For those of you who know me personally, know that I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant with my third and am currently in the midst of buying and moving to a bigger home around the same time baby is due; the stress and anxiety going through my brain is ridiculous. The irony of this blog post is definitely not lost on me, I’ve been actually laughing at myself as I wrote this. So how can we as pregnant women de-stress and relax? It’s not like we can grab that glass of wine anymore..
Its amazing how deep intentional breathes can relax your body and allow the stress and anxiety to melt away. The best part is, breathing exercises can be done at any time or anywhere. When taking those deep through the nose breaths, you are increasing blood flow, improving posture, calming your nervous system (reducing the fight or flight response), and pausing in the midst of chaos to become focused and grounded. Bonus is, if you can learn to take deep intentional breathes while pregnant, it will become second nature and will help when you are riding those long waves of contractions when it’s time for labour, WIN- WIN! Here is a very easy Breathing Technique I have been using called the 4-7-8 Method.
Get Outside and Exercise
Sunshine and Vitamin D is essential. The more fresh air you take in the more “clean” oxygen you are taking in which increases the serotonin (the happy hormone) you inhale, the happier you become. Going for a walk or any sort of exercise helps get those muscles moving, blood pumping, and help decrease any discomfort you are feeling such as backaches, relieves stress, and builds up stamina that is needed for the labour and delivery of your little on. Fresh air also gives you more energy and a clearer mind. After spending a few minutes outside you may notice an extra pep in your step and ready to take on the task at hand that was bogging you down a few minutes before. Being able to get outside may not always be possible when we need it the most, so opening a window and taking some deep breaths while standing beside it is a great compromise.
Take a Bath
This one is my favourite. While it’s recommended not to take a bath that’s hot enough to raise our body temperatures to 102.2 degrees for longer than 10 minutes, a bath is a great way to wash all the anxiety and stress away. Turn the lights off, light some candles, play some of your favourite music, read a book or watch a movie, pour yourself some bubbly (bubble bath that is), and just relax back. Turn your mind off! Ignore the doorbell, and your phone. Soak in the ambiance, romance yourself. If you have any other children, this may be difficult, but I have had great success using this technique after mine have gone to bed for the night. My husband knows I needs a “mommy time out” and he is “mom duty” for the next hour or so!
Sometimes getting down on all fours and scrubbing those stubborn stains off the baseboards or making some delicious backed goods (after all stressed spelled backwards is desserts) can be the best way for a person to work through their stress and anxiety. Bonus is if you’re in the late stages of your pregnancy as it’s said that being down on all fours can help shift baby into a great position for birth. It’s amazing how therapeutic scrubbing a floor or pounding down some risen dough is, for me at least, it’s when I do my best thinking, and am able to more often than not work out a solution for what is causing me to be stressed out or anxious.
Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, so why does the nursery have to be Pinterest perfect? Self-care is so important in any stage of life. If you can learn a way that works best for you to de-stress now, it will become a lifelong skill you can fall back on for the years to come. Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time for many women, but it also is a beautiful time to reflect and start bonding with your unborn child. So don’t let stress and anxiety control your pregnancy, take some time to enjoy the dessert 😉
Heidi, Client Care Specialist , Yellow Bird Birth Inc.
Let’s talk local and community for a minute.
Last night I had a great evening attending the Fraser Valley Boss Ladies networking event and ended up sitting beside a sweet woman who not only makes the most ADORABLE pies In A Jar but is also the creator of Loving Local in Chilliwack, BC. She creates events/markets that bring vendors, live music, food trucks and so much more together. I told her that she was awesome and how big of an undertaking that must be! But honestly, I love her idea of bring local people together to create a community of support and empowerment. For business and personally. She wrote this on her page:
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success ~ Henry Ford
I love this as it relates so much to building up your village around birth and raising children together. I’m not talking communal living here, although how sweet would that be?! I mean having people around you who build you up daily, pouring into your life and you into theirs. They sit with you over coffee and listen to your struggles, they help you discover the answers, and shine joy back into you. They come alongside as your children grow to be beautiful role models and help guide them through the harder times. Did you have this growing up? Aunts and Uncles perhaps, or maybe family friends? It made all the difference in my life… especially as a teenager, but you know what? That village was created long before I became a teenager with the trust and love already established. I want this for my children.
Pregnancy is tough. Birth is tough. Raising children is tough. It’s time to build your village.
If you don’t already have people in your “village”, I want to challenge you today to reach out. Build relationships by joining groups (online and in real life), talking to your neighbors and creating a space in your home that is open for others to come in. It starts with you. Go and be local.
Also, check out Loving Local’s event in August called “Made In The Valley”. I will definitely be there!
-Amanda, Owner & Doula
Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!
Yellow Bird Birth is ecstatic to announce that Jennifer will be joining the team starting in January!
She will be our lovely POSTPARTUM Doula and we know you are going to ADORE her!
Hello there! My name is Jennifer and I am a birth/postpartum doula. A little bit about myself first, I love singing, cooking, hiking, snowboarding and all things birth and postpartum.
My love for birth and postpartum began when I had my own three children. Through experiencing three entirely different births and recoveries, I felt a strong pull towards women/parents during these times that ultimately led me to become a Doula. As women venture into the “fourth trimester” they can feel many different emotions, and I strongly feel that this time is so very important to the parent and family. My areas of knowledge are in newborn baby care, breastfeeding/formula feeding, preparing good sleep habits, food sensitive babies, and also babies who tend to have fussy/spirited temperaments. I am excited and honoured to assist you in your journey of parenthood, its an amazing ride!
Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth!
Enough with parenting books!
I have had enough! Let’s get rid of these parenting books which tell us how to carry, sleep, feed and play with our babies. How many of you have read one of these books just to feel down on the way you are raising your children?
I was a new mommy and was recommended a sleep training book (I won’t say names). I started to read about how a baby shouldn’t depend on soothing noises, comforts of their mother, or milk… at this point I was bed sharing with my little guy just to survive night time wake ups. It told me that I needed to train my child to be independent, to learn to fall asleep on his own, and for him to figure out that mommy would not come running at every cry. How sad is that? I felt like a horrible mom! I felt like I was teaching my baby to be too needy and depended on his mom and dad. I admit that I even tried to sleep train at 8 months and sat in the hall way crying. I spent many hours over those months rocking him and snuggling him just to get him to close his eyes. We had a good routine and even though it was a lot of work, I look back now 4 years later and don’t regret any of that time! Of course my second child was an amazing sleeper, she would lay down and be sound asleep within minutes, so I guess the book was meant for her…
I read a parenting book once that told me my child should be trained in first time obedience. That I needed to run my home as if we were in the military. When I ask for something to be done they need to obey immediately. While this would make parenting much easier (not having to ask so many times), I also realize that if my husband treated me this way I would feel very low and discouraged. While I didn’t want to encourage this super strict behavior in my family, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated when my toddlers wouldn’t respond instantly and give me their full intention. I expected much more than they were capable of at their very young age. I believe that a child needs boundaries and rules, they need to practice respect and being a positive part of a community, but they also need grace and forgiveness.
I wish we practiced what our grandmothers did and follow the advice of the experienced women around us and the mothers that came before us. It amazes me the wisdom that can be found by sitting listening to women who have been there decades previous. Let’s follow our instincts and raise each child the way we believe is natural and instinctual.
There are many more examples but I would prefer to focus on the good and not the bad. This is where Sarah Mae comes in. This is one of the only books on parenting that I recommend. Her blog and book have changed the way I parent! Her style of loving her children has been such an encouragement. Each paragraph I read would make me more and more excited to be close to my babies. She talks of grace and love and beautiful things.
I went upstairs and looked at my sweet little one, who is now four, curled up under her covers peacefully. I said, “Do you need me?” She nodded. I knelt down, crawled into bed with her, and snuggled up close. “Lullaby, and goodnight…” I softly began to sing. I rubbed her head and nuzzled my nose into her hair, and felt the delicateness of her soft skin. She lay there precious and still, with heavy eyelids, and I kissed her head and thought, “How many times have I rushed bedtime? How many moments like this have I lost?” –Sarah Mae, Maybe Your Two Year Old Just Needs You
If you are looking for some light and joy in your parenting journey I suggest reading what Sarah has to say. I promise it will give hope and encouragement in times of need.
Birth Doula and Mother Of Two