It's been a ride and what a ride it has been! I have learned more in the past 9 months than I thought was possible. I have a lot of takeaways but the biggest is how to be a better human. To take care of me because intern I am taking care of someone else (inside). Just days away from baby Popso's big debut, I wanted to share what's been helpful in all trimesters but especially in the 3rd and how I've stayed grounded (most of the the time).
This list is NOT just for pregnant people (I just happen to be pregnant) but for anyone who is trying to live a more intentional, grounded life.
1) Self Care: Whether it be a bath, quiet time spent in the backyard, time spent with close friends or family, or with a good book, I feel the most sane and grounded when I make time to do good for me. Mama Note: When you care for you, you care for the baby. Rest when you need to. Give yourself permission to take time out of each day specifically for self care.
2) Hydration: Starting the day with water and then moving onto caffeine has made a big difference in my energy, hydration and overall mood. When I start with coffee, I notice I usually won't have water until the coffee is gone which could be anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours. If I'm really on my game, I'll juice a lemon to add to my water or add some Calm Magnesium Powder. Mama Note: The more hydrated we are, the more fluids are in the amniotic sack. More fluid in the sack = healthier living space for the baby.
3) Vibrant Food: Although I've been honoring my body's wants and needs (and it's need for more), my day is far more productive and my mood & state of being is elevated when I make it a point to eat colorful, real food throughout the day. Mama Note: baby is growing and developing and is using every bit of nutrition we consume in that process. Baby can get a lot more from a nourishing, balanced meal than fast or processed foods.
4) Sleep. Although sleep has been difficult in this last trimester, I notice when I make it a point to intentionally get into bed at a decent time and do my evening rituals (read, do my evening essential oils regimen & put lotion on my belly), my sleep is better & so is the following day. Mama Note: Sleep keeps us level headed and clear minded. Decent sleep creates less chances of hormonal freakouts which means less stress on the baby (we dictate their environment). Also, people who do not get enough sleep consume over 370 more calories than people that do.
5) Exercise: Although my motivation is sometimes lacking, I know how important it is to move my body. I stopped doing yoga a few weeks ago, because for me it felt right. But I've been getting as many long walks as possible and it makes me feel strong, empowered and ready for childbirth. Mama Note: My midwives say that we have to train for childbirth and compared it to climbing Mt. Everest. Make a point to get moving in any way at least 20 minutes a day (they recommend 1 hour).
6) Meditation or Intentional Time With Eyes Closed: It is such an important time to feel grounded and connected to all that is happening in our bodies & minds. Wayne Dyer's "I Am" meditation has been a favorite for a while. I like it because there is an explanation on how to use the meditation and beautiful music that takes me to a very peaceful places. Believe it or not, Russell SImmons has a meditation app with chanting that's really great too. Some people might feel right at home closing their eyes and sitting in silence for a certain amount of time or using a mantra (repeated word or words). Whatever speaks to you is right for you. If time is an issue, set a timer. 3 minutes is better than none. Mama Note: This is a great time to connect with your baby. Place your hands on your belly, send them some love, tell them how excited you are to meet them. Meditation is also a way to stay present and level headed throughout the day. Lots of emotions can come up. This time with ourselves helps us to process, take what we need, and leave what we don't.
7) Talk About It: Talk about your feelings, with your partner, a family member, a friend or a professional. It's natural and healthy to get it out. When you're expecting a new life & your body is rapidly changing, there are a lot of thoughts and ideas swirling around. It's my job to be a good listener, so at times it can be difficult giving myself permission to let someone else hold the space, but there is nothing better than talking and sharing. Mama Note: When we bottle up our emotions and feelings, the more possible stress we can put on ourselves & the baby. Keeping everything bottled up inside, at some point, will give way to a meltdown. Meltdowns should be avoided if possible. Stress = the cortisol hormone and there is a laundry list of ailments and inflammation that come from cortisol. Do it for you and the baby.
8) Breathwork or Intentional Breathing: As a part of our birthing classes, Mike and I were taught some breathwork exercises to do together. Ones consists of holding a space for each other by slowly & audibly breathing through the mouth. The other involves using the same breathwork but he is in charge of bringing awareness to anywhere in my body that could be harboring stress or tension, by using gentle touch from head to toe. Think full body scan but with a partner. Noticing our breath and using it as a tool is the greatest way to be and stay present. The best part is, breathwork an be done anywhere. At your desk, in the car, as part of your morning or evening routine. Start with just a few breaths & build from there. Mama note: With all of the preparation wheels spinning it's important to bring ourselves to the moment, because it's the only place we can make the next right choice. Breathwork will also be critical for childbirth so do as much practice as possible.
9) Be Social: It's easy to stay home especially with Netflix at our fingertips or when the rain and clouds come, but I've found being social and getting out into the community has been very therapeutic. I feel off when I am not interacting regularly & home begins to feel like a self-made quarantine. Mama Note: When we're with people that we love and are inspired by, we produce good hormones and good feels. Baby can feel that too!
Photos by Mike Popso