I'm sitting at a cafe in London, 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. It’s been quite a journey and I’m eager to give birth to my little boy. This pregnancy has been an emotional roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. But overall, it’s been an incredible learning experience.
1. Love Yourself
Accepting my changing body was probably my biggest challenge. Although I've managed to exercise throughout my pregnancy, I can't ignore that I look different. Some days I love myself and my body. Other days, I can only see my body swelling up with cellulite (which is totally normal during pregnancy), and it’s brought up a lot of insecurities. For example, I was worried my husband wouldn't be as attracted to me, and I’ve been more jealous and controlling than ever. However, I’ve learned that it’s important for me to express my feelings and insecurities with my husband and the people closest to me. Most of all, I’ve learned to love my body for all of its strength and the ability to bring life into this world.
2. Practice Self-Care
I decided to take better care of myself. Women give up so much during pregnancy, so I decided to invest in something that would help me feel better in my own skin. I bought a package of massages, had my nails done every couple of weeks, and got a wax every month. I arrived at my office a half an hour later every day so I could go to the gym and walk to the office in the morning. I put myself first and set new priorities.
3. There's no better time to eat healthily
It's common for pregnant women to eat whatever they want because they know they’re going to gain weight anyway.
As soon as I found out I was expecting, I promised myself I wouldn't go down that road because I didn't want my pregnancy to be an excuse to overindulge or eat junk food. It wasn’t just because I didn't want to gain more weight than necessary, but I was also concerned about what eating poorly would have meant for me and the baby. As a recovered binge eater (if it’s ever something you truly recover from), I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. I was constantly hungry, my hormones were going crazy and I was craving and eating all the wrong food. I felt guilty at the time, although looking back, I now recognize that sometimes you just have to let it go.
The thought of the baby not getting enough nutrients (and too much sugar) was motivation enough to set me back on track. When you are pregnant it's important to get the right balance of nutrients for you and for your baby. Prenatal nutrition affects your child's health for years to come and I felt responsibility to do my best to protect him. A diet high in sugar (not just table sugar but carbohydrates and high glycemic-index foods) can make changes to your baby's genes putting them at a higher risk for metabolic diseases in adulthood.
I started a food journal, tracking what (but not how much) I was eating. By allowing myself to have an occasional treat but paying closer attention to my diet, I cut down on sugar and processed food, and eventually stopped craving them.
4. Be Present
I was born a planner and am the type of person who likes to know what, when and how everything is going to happen, assessing all possible scenarios. Although this attitude has generally served me well, I sometimes tend to look forward to the next thing without really enjoying what I'm actually experiencing in the moment.
Being a mom-to-be and on the verge of having my life turned upside-down has helped shift my perspective. As much as I've wanted the pregnancy to be over and to finally hug my baby, I have started to appreciate every single last moment of "freedom" that I have. Whether it's dinner alone with the husband, wandering around the city with no destination, going to the gym whenever I want or meeting friends last minute, I've been able to enjoy these experiences more in the last 6 months than I would have normally.
I'm hoping that the mindset I've adopted in the last few months will continue. Living in the present is something that I've always had trouble with and it will be more important than ever once my little one arrives.
My Key Takeaways
Pregnancy is an exciting chapter in life but it's a scary one too. Here are the key takeaways from my experience that I hope will help you during your pregnancy/ies:
- Love Yourself: Don't be afraid to express your feelings and to share your insecurities with the people around you, especially your partner. Feeling inadequate and struggling to accept your body can be part of the process and dealing with it will only make you stronger.
- Practice Self-Care: You are creating a new life and it's a big responsibility. So, take care of yourself like you've never done before and allow yourself some extras: massages, you-time or whatever makes you feel better. You deserve it.
- Nourish Yourself: Your body needs the highest quality resources to manufacture the most amazing thing—a person!
- Be present, and enjoy every moment of your beautiful life!
Take good care of yourself!
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