So here you are, blossoming with life, growing a human being, it’s no small undertaking. Your body will stretch, grow, and awaken to new sensations, all in a matter of months. For some, pregnancy is hard, there are restless nights, nausea, vomiting, and for others they seem to float through, no pesky pregnancy ailments in sight. No matter how your pregnancy manifests, taking care of you is a vital part of the process. Self care in pregnancy can, and should, look different than your pre-pregnancy routine. It’s a time to dive deeper into your intuitive self, into your primal needs, and into growing, not just your belly, but your experience in the world.
As a birth doula, when I first sit down with a family, one of my first questions to my client is what are you doing for you? I know the diapers will be ordered, the crib assembled, and all the tiny perfect outfits will be washed, folded, and put away in anticipation. And those are important, and fun things to do, but often in pregnancy you can become so consumed with what baby will need, that you can easily put your own needs to the side.
So, what should you be doing, or can you be doing? As long as there are no medical barriers, pregnancy is a time to be creative! It is inherently the most creative time of your life. Have you always wanted to paint? Take a class, and tap into your inner artist, as you simultaneously create life. Is an instrument calling your name? Pick it up, go to a lesson, have fun, be silly, and just learn to play. Creativity is flowing through you, quite literally, so tap further into yourself, and into those deep reservoirs of creativity you have, and let them flow.
What about pleasure? Ah, pleasure. What does that mean to you? Pregnancy is a time to find pleasure however you can, both sexually, and in the simple things in life. If you are with a partner, try sensual massages for foreplay, ask for what feels good, sometimes this changes in pregnancy. It may be found on sunset beach walks, coffee (decaf-wink wink) with a friend at a new coffee shop, or maybe splurging on a book you’ve had your eye on. However you define pleasure, I encourage you to tap into that during your nine months of growth, and learn more about yourself than ever before. Above all leave any insecurities at the door and moving deeper into self acceptance through the empowerment that pleasure can bring. You are creating life, no small feat, pleasure should be all yours!
Tapping into your self care needs in pregnancy can sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s a lot of work growing a human, while also growing yourself. But, if there ever was a time, it’s now. Part of the reason creating a self care routine in pregnancy is so important is that it will carry you through into the postpartum phase, or the 4th trimester, and will undoubtedly be part of your birth story. See, these things are all connected. Because, during labor, when you’re asked to push yourself harder than ever before, when you are met with the pains of childbirth, whether through a cesarean, or a vaginal birth, and you must dig deeper than you think you can, the connectedness to yourself is what will help guide you through.
Finding pleasure in pregnancy, tapping into your creativity, enjoying getting to know this new version of you will not only shape who you are today, but will transcend into all aspects of your life, and your relationships. So, I’ll suggest to you, what I suggest to all my clients: put down the pregnancy related books, grab a journal, find a quiet place, and start writing about what makes you feel happy, alive, grateful; and then go out into the world, and do more of that, whatever it may be, and glow.
Words by Kimberly Zuleger
Photographed by Seth Smoot represented by beyond creative mgmt.