Powerful, often conflicting emotions, can feel like a troublesome part of pregnancy. Hormonal and physical changes, as well as the associated stresses of pregnancy and having a baby may cause pronounced mood swings. Common and normal feelings include:
Excitement, joy, elation
Gratitude, enrichment, love
Ambivalence, impatience, vulnerability
Confusion, self-doubt, insecurity
Guilt, shame, burden
Sadness, grief, resentment
You may feel beautiful, sensual and voluptuous. Or, you may feel fat, unattractive and asexual. Pregnant women often have increased sensitivity, a heightened sense of perception and awareness, and notice stronger reactions than usual.
These emotions can be especially troublesome if you are not eating or sleeping well, have experienced psychological problems in the past, have other health problems or pregnancy complications, do not have sufficient support from family or friends, the pregnancy was not planned, or there are other major stresses in your life.
First and foremost, know you are not your emotions. They usually come after thoughts; some call them thoughts in motion. Look at emotions as sensations in the body without the story, that come and go like waves, or like the sun, clouds and rain. They are never permanent but change like the weather. Emotions are a part of you, they all are a sacred part of being human; but see your true essence above and unaffected by it all. Just as there is the perfect warm sunny day with a cloudless blue sky, there are thunderstorms with great wind and rain, and blizzards with snow; there are periods of darkness and periods of light. You can absolutely be in charge of how you feel rather than at mercy to your emotions. You can learn to embrace all of your sensations without attaching to any particular one, and ride the waves of life with grace, ease, and a deep sense of joy. It takes regular practice, yet so doable.
Most of the supplements and herbal remedies I recommend are available on my customized online holistic apothecary. Find the best supplements that have gone through my thorough screening process there. Look in the category for mental/emotional well-being or search them individually. My online dispensary is a convenient way for you to purchase my hand-picked, professional-grade, whole food supplements and other natural health products. Ordering is simple, and the products will be shipped directly to your home or work within a few days.
40 Ways to Manage Emotions in Pregnancy and Beyond
1. Seek balance in your emotional life, instead of going for highs, and the lows that follow.
2. Get extra needed sleep in pregnancy by going to bed earlier, sleeping later, and/or napping during the day, as well as allowing periodic rest from a hectic routine.
3. Make sure to eat a nourishing wholesome organic diet that includes fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and other protein like free-range pastured beef, lamb, poultry, and eggs. Many feel best completely off gluten, dairy, soy and all forms of cane sugar; instead go Paleo, an ancestral whole or real food diet high in pastured organic animal protein and healthy fat, plenty of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, with free use of herbs, spices and healthier sugars like raw honey.
4. Get natural sources of omega fatty acids like wild Alaskan Salmon, and healthy fat in cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil.
5. Stay hydrated with at least 64 oz/day of filtered, spring or well water.
6. Limit or even better, avoid processed foods, refined white flour and sugar, refined vegetable oils, and artificial colorings and chemicals.
7. Take a good all natural whole-food based prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement.
8. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
9. Engage in at least 30 minutes 5 times per week of regular moderate exercise like brisk walking, dancing, swimming, cycling, low impact aerobics or other such activity you enjoy and are accustomed to.
10. Get plenty of fresh air and adequate exposure to sunlight.
11. Set your circadian clock by spending at least 20 minutes outside with nature in the early morning each day.
12. During the day get out in bright natural daytime light, or if can not go outside, use 150-200 watt incandescent bulbs or full spectrum fluorescent lamps that supply 2,500 or more lux and keep the light within 3 feet of where you are sitting.
13. Become intensely conscious of the present, and acutely sensitive to your feelings and inner experiences, using all of your senses. Get real curious. Observe, watch and allow whatever comes up without judgment or thought.
14. Try to stay away from things (like certain books, movies and news), situations and people (like those who are angry, stressed out, negative, pessimistic, critical, fearful or demanding) that agitate your mind, raise your internal tension, bring you down and worsen your emotional state.
15. If someone who you are close with continually criticizes, belittles, demands or negates your feelings, try to give positive straightforward suggestions about approaches that would be more helpful to you, or consider having this person come with you to some professional counseling sessions.
16. Surround yourself as much as possible with calm, centered, and positive people, things, sounds and places that inspire, uplift, relax and restore you to inner peace and serenity.
17. Periodically rub the essential oil of rose into your pulse points and spray rose water on yourself throughout the day.
18. Treat yourself to a massage each month, or ask your partner or friend for one regularly. Include a few drops each of any combination of the essential oils of lavender, orange, citrus blend, rose, St John’s Wort and/or chamomile. Make your own mixture in a bottle of almond oil.
19. Bring more art and music into your life.
20. Try to allow time each day to do something you enjoy, and something that makes you laugh.
21. Collect at least 8 deep, soul-nurturing hugs per day.
22. Keep a journal or diary as a way to be honest with yourself about your feelings and increase self-awareness and understanding. Try to write free flow without editing, draw and write poems as you are inspired.
23. Share important feelings with your partner, a close friend or family member, transformational life coach or a professional therapist. Suppressed emotions are ultimately more damaging and they can cause all sorts of physical, psychological and relationship problems if not properly dealt with.
24. Periodically release pent up emotions with a good cry, followed by a good hug. Do not hesitate to share with your friends and family so they can be more sensitive to your needs.
25. Get out of your head and into your body. Put on some music like African drumming and start dancing and moving to the music as if nobody is watching. Dancing will help you move through the tough emotions of grief and anger, tap into your inner joy, your playfulness, your aliveness, even your sensuality and sassiness. Toddlers embody and move their strong emotions with temper tantrums, reset and then get back to playing. Many indigenous cultures dance their emotions in community drum circles.
26. Make the practices of authentic yoga, (especially gentle, prenatal and/or restorative), meditation, breath awareness, visualization, and yoga nidra/progressive muscle relaxation a regular part of your daily routine, even if just for 20-30 minutes each morning or evening. There are many books, audio CDs and hypnobirthing MP3s for pregnancy to help you learn these important life skills, and now there are wonderful phone apps like Breathe and Calm.
27. Check out the emWave personal stress reliever from the Institute of HeartMath for a wonderful hypnotherapy and biofeedback tool to lessen your body’s reactions to stress.
28. Surrender to and embrace the cycles of life and its ups and downs and ups again, and know that day always follows night, and light always comes after darkness.
29. Take a soothing bath each night, or when stressed, enhanced with 1 cup of Epsom Salts, and few drops of essential oil of lavender, orange or rose or a few fresh rose petals and lavender. Light a few of your favorite candles and enjoy some quiet, relaxing “me” time.
30. Sprinkle a few drops of the above essential oils on your pillow or put them in a diffuser next to your bed to promote a more restful sleep and reduce irritability.
31. Make a commitment to unplug as much as possible, to reconnect with yourself, others and the world around you….and feel so much better. For incredible insight and guidance breaking the common modern addiction to the iphone and computer, read the book “How to Break Up With Your Phone” by Catherine Price. Wear Shungite or Black Tourmaline jewelry to mitigate EMR exposure.
32. Avoid overscheduling yourself.
33. Change work hours to avoid rush hour traffic and allow more time to get places.
34. Be clear about your priorities and rearrange your schedule to protect the health of you and your growing baby.
35. Ask family and friends to help you with chores or child care.
36. Treat yourself to hired help and healthy take out meals.
37. Let go, and delegate work responsibilities that you can. You do not need to do everything.
38. Rescue an affectionate and playful dog and or cat to snuggle and have fun with.
39. Schedule a Breathwork session and allow yourself to experience its wonderful life changing benefits!
40. If you feel depressed, anxious or are troubled by strong feelings and emotions that persist or worsen despite these suggestions take renowned holistic integrative psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan’s online course – it is a life saver. For more personal guidance, consult your physician or midwife or schedule a consultation with me. If you are feeling overwhelmed, or do not even know what questions to ask, I can help you! There are many ways to heal emotional pain and trauma naturally and holistically, whether or not you need medication.
Life is stressful and always has been. Eliminating all outside stress, especially that which we can not control, is not an option. We can only work on changing our outlook about stressors we cannot change. This involves deep profound and rewarding transformation, cultivating spirituality, and an attitude of surrender and acceptance. Realize that very little in life outside of our own way of thinking and behaving is in our control, and know that everything happens for our ultimate benefit, even if we do not understand why. You can learn to activate your own relaxation response to stressors and quiet your nervous system with breath awareness and relaxation techniques, mastery over your thoughts, and also by modifying what you can in your day to make it less stressful and more in alignment with your core values.
Understanding what your body is capable of can begin to give you the confidence you need to begin planning your natural birth. My Love Your Birth course can help you prepare for the entire process from beginning to end.
You’ll equally learn how to cope with and handle labor pains…so much so that you can love your experience no matter how challenging.
The right preparation really begins with a shift in mindset, not just about labor but in what you and your body are capable of doing.