We’ve heard it a hundred times that stress during pregnancy is bad for your baby, which for most of us moms, well, stresses us out! Because there has not been one pregnancy since the beginning of time that came with zero stress. At least not any kind of a realistic, attainable reality for the overwhelming majority of us. So when a well-meaning mom hears that she’s hurt her baby it piles on the mama-guilt that seems to come effortlessly from the moment we see those two pink lines.
Stress can come at us in all kinds of forms. Relationship stress can be at an all time high during pregnancy or we can experience a sort of honeymoon phase. You may also be experiencing higher levels of antepartum depression or anxiety. Every couple and even every pregnancy is different. Financial pressures often increase, or at least the anticipation of them, which is a leading cause of stress even unrelated to welcoming a new little person into your home. But even if all your bills are paid, in advance, money comes in, your sweetie thinks you hung the moon and you are well-nourished by good food, regular massage and blissful prenatal yoga, there will still be stress.
Even something as benign as driving in your car and someone stops short so you slam on your breaks… your adrenaline spikes and for a moment your body is in total panic and stress. Something we all deal with, and recognize that it’s temporary, but your baby feels all of those emotions, pressures and worries, too. But rather than try to barricade the floodgates to prevent these natural hormones from coursing through your veins, instead let’s look at it from another angle:
If life stress is inevitable, could there be an upside to it? I propose that there is a cycle to stress and many of us were never taught how it feels and how truly self-regulate. When we experience those feelings of stress, there should be a natural completion of that with relaxation, centering and affirming ourselves that everything is, in fact, ok. The rise of the conflict, real, imagined or somewhere in between, and then the peace, validation and calmness that would be the balance to it all. We can teach our babies how that feels right from the get go.
Take advantage of it now, pregnant or not, and show your child that after every stressful situation there can be a calm and a peace, even if it’s just from within. Imagine the emotional wisdom that could be there if we could teach this to be as normal as the sun rising and setting each day, that after we experience distress, it is expected and something you actively create to feel calm.
So next time you’re heart is racing and you’re feeling like the current situation is a bit much, consciously allow that release and reset in. You’ll certainly benefit from it. too! Remember, example is the best teacher so even if you’re just starting out with baby steps and only getting it 1 out of 20 times, start there and keep going. Imagine how wonderful it will be when you’re at 20 out of 20 times you’re pursuing that CALM.
What have you found that’s helpful in dealing with stress in pregnancy?