If you are going through the grueling process of trying to get pregnant and it just isn’t going to plan don’t beat yourself up about it. It isn’t your fault. You are not to blame. Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.
We have just returned from our first family holiday to Israel. As we walked down the beach with our baby in his pram I couldn’t help thinking back to the last two visits I made to Israel.
The previous one was in October, I was 20 weeks pregnant and while I was incredibly grateful to be pregnant I was also extremely anxious about the outcome of my pregnancy. As I looked out across the sea I thought to myself ‘I hope I have a baby on my next visit’.
The trip prior to that was last March two weeks after the loss of our baby and it was a bleak and miserable time. I was unsure what the future held, when I may be pregnant again and how I would cope with the heartbreaking loss.
What struck me was how different life was on each of the three visits and how quickly and dramatically things can change. You may feel like things are not progressing on your journey to parenthood, or you may have had a loss that seems crippling. This time next year things may be very different.
Time seems to be moving at a painfully slow pace. I have an app on my phone that displays a daily count down. Today it reminds me that there are 18 days to go – under 3 weeks. As if I need reminding. I am a professional day/week counter now. 18 days may seem like a remarkably small amount of time but I am a phenomenally impatient person. Waiting for the IVF to begin was torture. Waiting for the anomaly scan was pure hell. So you would think this should be a doddle!
I am well aware that we are on the home stretch. The finish line lies ahead. But my apprehension and desperation to get this baby out safely is astonishing. I have a horrid feeling that the baby will be later than my due date and then I will be climbing the walls!
Those with children remind me to enjoy the calm before the storm. To rest and relax. But I don’t want to, I want my baby here safe and sound so that the pregnancy anxiety is over! We are so close now. But a niggling fear that we could still lose the baby prevents me from the excitement and relaxation I should be experiencing. Come on time!!
20 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Ease Stress
The road to motherhood can be unbelievably stressful. With that in mind, here are 20 ways, backed up by good scientific evidence, to keep your stress in check:
1. Go For A 10 Minute Walk
While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins, green spaces, can put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” during which something holds our attention, but simultaneously allows for reflection.
2. Breathe Deeply
Any yogi knows that the breath — known as pranayama or “life force” — plays an important role in nourishing the body. Breathing exercises – or even just taking a few deep breaths – can help reduce tension and relieve stress, thanks to an extra boost of oxygen.
Simply make yourself comfortable and then try to picture a relaxing scene.
4. Eat A Snack
Stress-eating doesn’t have to be bad. Pick a snack that will fill you up — say, half an avocado, a handful of nuts or a hard boiled egg — because nothing is more stressful to the brain than feeling like you’ve run out of nourishment. Focus on your food: its texture, the way it tastes, how it makes you feel. Now you’ve turned your snack into a meditation.
5. Buy Yourself A Plant
Houseplants can actually help you calm down. Researchers have found that simply being around plants can induce your relaxation response.
6. Step Away From The Screen
Uninterrupted computer use has been associated with stress, lost sleep and depression in women. Make sure to take frequent breaks during your day of computer use — and try to shut offline at least an hour before bedtime.
7. Pucker Up
Kissing relieves stress by helping your brain to release endorphins.
8. Try This Naam Yoga Hand Trick
Applying pressure to the space between your second and third knuckle (the joints at the base of your pointer and middle fingers) can help to create a sense of instant calm.
9. Hang Up, Then Turn Off Your Phone
Mobile phones stress you out. Talking can even raise your blood pressure.
10. Put On Some Music
While classical music has a particularly soothing effect — it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even decreases levels of stress hormones — any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine.
11. Treat Yourself!
Eating or drinking something sweet is soothing because it stems the production of the stress hormone, glucocorticoid.
12. Or, On The Other Hand, Plug In
Yes, screens can stress you out. But used in the right way, there’s no reason you can’t turn to the Internet to get a little stress relief such as web-based stress management programs.
13. Chew A Piece Of Gum
Chewing gum doesn’t just make your breath better — it can relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress during episodes of multitasking.
14. Watch A Viral Video
A good laugh is a fine relaxation technique. What’s more, even if you don’t find the viral video your uncle Joe sent you to be that funny, just the anticipation that it might be will actually boost endorphins.
15. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Start with your toes and work your way up: tighten your foot muscles as much as you can, then relax them. Make your way up, tightening and relaxing each muscle until you’ve finished with your face. It may seem silly, but this practice can help reduce anxiety and stress.
16. Seriously, Turn Off Your Phone
Smartphones, in particular, are linked to increased stress, as more and more people feel pressure to respond to messages at all times.
17. See Your BFF
Friends aren’t just fun — your very closest ones can actually reduce your production of cortisol.
18. Eat A Banana (Or A Potato!)
Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress.
19. Try Eagle Pose
Many yoga poses are known stress relievers, as they open the shoulders, relieve neck tension and do away with many of the physical symptoms of stress. Eagle pose is a prime example of how a brief asana can target back and neck tension. Learn how to do the pose here.
Repetitive motions — like the fine motor skills used to knit– can soothe anxiety.
Try one today!
Obviously feeling nauseous and tired can be relatively unpleasant but everyday I feel blessed that I am in the position to moan about it. I always promised myself that I would refrain from excessive complaining as after losing our last baby all I wanted was to be pregnant again. In addition to that I am fully aware that there are so very many women out there who are struggling to get pregnant who would kill for some pregnancy discomfort. So I am basically thrilled to feel crap!
Yesterday I found, amongst the bills and boring letters, a brilliant postcard from my best friend. This is what it said. I have put it up at home to remind myself that a) I must try to be less negative about the outcome of this pregnancy and b) my best friend is so very thoughtful. Thanks N. Made my day!