25th January 2020.
At the beginning of the month, I promised myself that, in January, I would make time to honour my final month of pregnancy in a realistic way. Most of my checklist items included reframing thoughts (and sticking to them). Looking ahead to this last week, I can already feel the benefits from the changes I’ve made.
I feel calmer and more centred. I can catch my breath and listen to my body. I am ready and relieved that I started putting these things in place when I did.
I’ve always heard women expressing feelings of exasperation, exhaustion and frustration toward the end of pregnancy. While I’ve had some discomforts and unpleasant side-effects, I’ve taken it in my stride, knowing it was all part and parcel of bringing our baby boy into the world. This week hit me hard though, as my midwife confirmed that baby F has begun engaging.
The pain and discomfort took me off-guard. My calm state was interrupted with negative, limiting thoughts like: ‘What if I can’t do it? What if I’m not as strong as I thought? What if he ends up being “overdue” and I’m in pain for the next 5 weeks?! Immediately my mind raced from 0 to 100, thinking up worst-case scenarios, telling myself ‘I’ll ALWAYS be pregnant’ and wondering if I should say my goodbyes to any form of life until well after the birth when we’d established a routine (whenever that might be!).
Stop, Erin. Breathe.
On day three of this next-level discomfort, I noticed the negative thoughts and self-talk taking place in my mind. I observed it for a few moments before reminding myself of the truth: I am choosing to view this as painful, negative and debilitating when in reality, my baby is getting ready in position for birth… How incredible that both he and my body instinctively know that he should start his decent.
Rather than resisting the pain, I embraced it – every twinge, every ache, every reflux. I knew that the best thing for my body was for my mind to relax and I told myself something I’d learned many years ago about meditation:
Meditation is a tool that we practice so we can call upon its benefits when they are most needed.
After all, they do say that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If we don’t equip ourselves with the tools needed to navigate this life and dedicate time to truly knowing who we are, aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice or compromising our ideals?
I am facing one of the biggest mental and physical challenges that I will ever experience in my life. The years I have spent practising meditation, mindfulness and self-development have equipped me to deal with this in the best possible way. It really is now when I need the benefits that I am grateful for the years of work I have put in.
To anyone reading this, please take this as your sign that it’s never too soon to start. Whether you delve deeper into who you are or learn the skills to stay in control, you can be sure that your future self will thank you for investing in your health and wellbeing.