SELF CARE. SELFISH OR NOT?
It was only during pregnancy that I started to be more aware and conscious of self-care and the importance of it. Before then, the phrase ‘self-care’ would have screamed selfish or self-indulgent to me. During pregnancy though, I had more care for myself than I ever had before. I did everything I possibly could to take care of my mind, body and soul (and my growing baby). From baths every night to weekly pregnancy yoga classes, from daily morning meditation practice to pregnancy massages. Taking care of ourselves is not a luxury, it’s an essential. And it’s extremely important during pregnancy.
I found out we were pregnant (I always say we) at about 3-4 weeks. It was the most surreal feeling seeing positive on the three (yes three) pregnancy sticks. I felt very sick for the first seventeen weeks of my pregnancy, although I was lucky enough to never be sick. I took this time to nurture myself with a daily morning yoga and meditation routine which would set me up for the day, I found it gave me time to rest and recharge. I would try having early nights and I learnt to say no. For someone who used to be a social butterfly and out most school nights, saying no was a big step for me. Due to the nausea, I swapped my three big meals a day for about seven small snacks instead. I traded toast for bananas, mackerel salads for cheese and crackers and cereal bars for cherry tomatoes (I craved cherry tomatoes). I listened to my body and what my body needed, my body had. I have to say though, during my whole pregnancy I treated myself to one too many afternoons teas, forget the saying ‘eating for two’, my mum said I was ‘eating for three’…oops.
This trimester I felt on top of the world (as many pregnant women do) the sickness had gone, I had the best night’s sleep most nights and I was finally enjoying being pregnant. I have always been a tired person and able to sleep anywhere, so although the tiredness hadn’t fully disappeared, I managed it and every single day would have a thirty minute lunchtime nap at work after my cheese and crackers. Every night I would enjoy a warm bubble bath and really pamper myself with time out. I loved every minute of my pregnancy during this trimester. I did a lot of reading and research and I actually felt like I was a mother already. I joined a wonderful weekly pregnancy yoga class with Naomi ‘Yogababe’ I signed up to a water birth class and a hypnobirthing class and I was so excited for my birth, my husband and I just couldn’t wait to meet our baby. I felt I truly embraced pregnancy and felt so connected to my body and my baby.
When I was about seven months pregnant I developed excruciating hip pain. My body struggled to cope with the weight gain, I found it hard to walk, stand, drive and get in and out of bed. I saw my GP who signed me off work for two weeks (before that I had taken about three sick days in about ten years) my GP prescribed me medication and referred me to a physiotherapist. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even use my prescription because I was so intent on not taking any pain relief, not even paracetamol, prior to my birth. My way of thinking was that it would hinder my chances of having the natural birth I hoped for (and very fortunately had). I wanted to choose a holistic route as possible for my hip pain, so I went on to have osteopathy and reflexology. One session of reflexology worked wonders. The woman I saw worked her magic and I would recommend this treatment to any woman with any kind of suffering in her life. It was so transformative. During this trimester I had two of the most amazing pregnancy massages at the Thermae bath spa (as a birthday treat from my husband) and at Beauty at The Bay which I can’t recommend enough. I really took this time to pamper myself and rest as much as possible prior to my baby’s arrival. All the time I kept up my daily meditation, baths, reading and weekly yoga classes to keep my mind and body well looked after and nourished.
YOUR GROWING BABY NEEDS YOU
I hope you’ve found lot of self-care tips throughout this blog and are really enjoying your pregnancy journey, after all your pregnancy journey is just the beginning of your motherhood journey and you deserve to be looked after and loved. If you’re still struggling with the whole idea of self-care, then try taking a different approach to it. Instead of thinking of ‘you’, think of your growing baby. Your growing baby NEEDS you to be well enough and healthy enough and rested enough so you can in turn provide them with the wellness and health they deserve. Self-care starts with you, and remember it is not a luxury, it is an essential.