Pregnancy is by far the strangest, most wonderful thing that has ever happened to my body. I know it’s not exactly uncommon, but it’s almost impossible to describe and I certainly found it impossible to imagine before I actually went through it. Given the intense physical changes I went through (and unfortunately I faced a few bumps – pun intended – along the way), I found that it taught me a huge amount about my wellbeing. Below are the most important lessons I learnt during my nearly 10 months of nausea, heartburn, occasional inability to walk, broken sleep and recurrent migraines, all while feeling this little life growing and eventually wriggling in my belly.
Lack of sleep really does impact your cognitive function.
Call it pregnancy brain, but I could feel myself finding it harder to think clearly as the months went by, and I’m pretty sure this was due to the fact I didn’t have a single unbroken night’s sleep while I was pregnant. We emphasize sleep as the first pillar of wellbeing in our training sessions and having involuntarily become an experiment in sleep deprivation, I can confirm that good, solid sleep is the key to thinking and working well. Here are a few of my mid-pregnancy tips on how to cope if you find yourself in a situation where sleep just isn’t feasible for you!
Movement almost always helps
I say almost because if you have certain physical ailments, rest is the way forward. However if we’re thinking about energy levels, mood, general aches and pains, a bit of movement works wonders. For me, yoga, dancing and walking every day kept my endorphins flowing, woke me up when I’d slept badly and helped me appreciate and accept my changing body rather than feeling frustrated.
Feeling good matters so much more than looking good
Pregnancy hormones can make you look pretty good. Your hair gets thick and shiny, your skin is more rosy and you have a cute bump that suddenly means all the societal beauty norms of skinny waists don’t apply to you (hurray!) However, this can coincide with feeling pretty rough. I had so many very well-meaning, kind comments about how ‘well’ I looked when I felt awful, and all I wanted to do was make a sign that I could wear, informing people of all the various symptoms I was experiencing that day…I made do with grumbling to my husband and sister instead.
Our bodies are incredible, functional things
As a woman, I would say it’s almost impossible not to judge our own bodies on how they look above what they can do. The same applies to most men too. Witnessing the changes my body went through to enable me to create another tiny human was the most powerful reminder I’ve ever had that our bodies exist to do things, not to look a certain way. Pregnancy is obviously an extreme example, but if you take a moment to appreciate how your body can move, digest, regulate your temperature etc. it can really change your relationship with it. You’ll notice that when we think about the signs of being healthy, only one of them is visual.
PS. In case you were wondering, I am now the proud (if exhausted) mum to a gorgeous 2 month old who is doing very well! He won’t be attending workshops but if you’re lucky you might see him at the end of a remote training session.