We’ve all heard the line, “Big girls don’t cry.” Oh, but they do! Pregnancy is such a life-changing event–Hormones are surging and the mind and body are coping with all the big changes that are happening and that are to come. The feelings may be varied and wide-ranging, depending on your circumstances. I like to think of a pregnant woman as an entity; Your senses are super attuned to everything around you. Your sense of smell and taste are extraordinary and your intuition deepens….it is almost like having super powers. Your emotions are also scaled to fit–They are BIG emotions. You may find yourself reacting to things in ways you never did before. A mundane event, like a stranger picking up something you dropped, becomes a hallmark moment. A sudden slight, or bump in the arm in public garners a fierce, protective reaction. A slight criticism sends you into gloom. No worries! Even as you sit back and cry while watching a soap commercial, these emotional changes are perfectly normal!
If you suffer from depression, symptoms, without treatment, may persist through pregnancy. Consult your healthcare provider. Check out this link for more info on depression.
Your emotions are a powerful tool. They can help you become more attuned to what is happening around you and what is happening inside you. While this is true at all times, no where is this is especially true during pregnancy. When we don’t allow ourselves to feel or have no idea why we are responding the way we do, we can become confused and even more upset. We may forget to trust ourselves and second guess our own feelings and intuition. Usually there is some basis to our emotional state–Something is tipping us off. We just react bigger then usual. I believe that our emotions can be guides to what is truly bothering or can be signposts to what is right in our world. You can take this time while you are pregnant to become introspective. Maybe it is time to examine why you feel certain ways and delve deeply into what is happening. Maybe your body is just signalling you to rest more. Perhaps you just need to expend energy–Exercise or get to that crazy cleaning that you really want to do. Find ways to listen to your body. Nurture yourself first. This is where yoga can help.
Your breath is your energy, your life force. We can learn to alter and ‘control’ the breath, which in turns enables us to control how we react to situations. The slow deep breathing we practice cues the body to calm down. This in turn cues the mind to calm down. As a result, the swirling chaos of emotions begins to lessen and subside. We are able to think more clearly and figure out what has set us off. When you are feeling over-whelmed and you have the space to do so, take a comfortable seat. Even if you don’t have the time and space in a hectic moment, you can do a mini version of this for a few breaths.
Take a really big inhale and let it out completely…and I mean completely, big sigh and all! Sit tall in the spine and grow long. Let your shoulders come down and back and let your heart space lift and open. Allow your neck to elongate and let the tension at the top of the back melt away. Start to tune into your breath, breathing deep and full in and out through your nose. Send the breath all the way down to your baby, filling completely. Exhale completely and fully, letting go of tension as you do so. Tune into this rhythm. Try to create and even inhalation and exhalation, perhaps by counting how long it takes to inhale and then how long it takes to exhale. From there, try to even out the two. Allow the throat to be open and soft and notice a gentle ocean sound as you breathe. Whether if it is just for a few moments or several minutes, let this deep rhythmic breath calm your mind. Allow this breath to release tension in the body. When you are through, take another nice deep inhale and then fully let it go. Notice how much clearer the mind is.
Move your body!
The benefits of exercise for the pregnant woman are many. It is good for the body, the mind and the spirit. The simple act of taking a walk or moving the body can do so much to lift one’s mood. Yoga is ideal, because it combines breath work with movement. Prenatal yoga provides the benefit of exercise and the helps calm the mind helping you find a sense of peace within. Many postures, especially forward bending ones, can even alleviate depression. A simple forward bend is Paschimottannasana:
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front. Legs come as close together as feels comfortable; You want to have them far enough apart to accommodate your growing baby. If you have discomfort in this position, sitting on a small pillow may help by raising the hips. Activate the legs. Heels are reaching, feet are pressing, as if there is a wall in front of them. The back of the legs are pressing to the floor as the front of the legs lift and press to the back of the legs. Make sure that the back of the knees are not flush against the floor. Lift the pelvic floor, engage and lift the torso as arms reach to the sky. Let the shoulders come down–no tension. Inhale length. As you exhale, leading with the heart, begin to fold forward. Keep the heart lifted. Remember that it is about finding length. Grow through the tailbone with each inhale and soften into your length with each exhale. Find this space for a few breaths, and then inhale back up to sitting.
Incorporate movement and breath into your days. Allow yourself to rest when you need rest and be active when you have the energy. In the midst of emotional chaos, breathe and find your center. Your life is about to change in a very dramatic way….don’t be hard on yourself. Surrender into yourself and go with the flow.
© mahamamas.com and Janet MacFarlane, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet MacFarlane and Mahamamas.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.