Prior to being pregnant I defined self-care as listening to my body, exercising, taking hot baths, taking time to be still, eating well, treating myself to the spa, setting boundaries, and prioritizing the right kind of people in life. With that being said, some of these things were paired with a set of ideals. Eating well for example usually meant a lot of green smoothies, kale salads, gluten-free pasta/bread, organic dark chocolate, and a whole lot of kombucha.
Now 20 weeks pregnant my perspective has changed. Looking back self-care was a bit of a luxury whereas now it has become a non-negotiable necessity as I grow this little human inside. With that has come a whole lot of grace and space to allow a new normal to take place. In the first trimester, listening to my body meant eating grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, lasagna, spaghetti with garlic bread (garlic bread was a deal breaker), and burgers with yam fries (a whole lot of yam fries). Green smoothies and kale salads were seriously not happening! What I realized through this wild and wonderful process is that our body knows best. When we have the courage to trust that wisdom it does not lead us astray. AND that even though these foods might not necessarily make the cut for healthiest choices of the year, it’s what my body needed to be well at that time. We can be so hard on ourselves as we latch on to certain ideals which I quickly thew out the window as full on pregnancy took place. Listening to my body was the only way I knew how to get through those first three months.
Setting boundaries was something that set in on a whole new level right away. It was as though something kicked in for me to know that I only had so much energy to expend while growing a human being in addition to running a thriving business. I got really clear about my limits and what I had to give and wasn’t afraid to say no. It’s been a real blessing for me to set parameters around my work and to feel good about ending my day at a reasonable hour. As someone who has a tendency to be a bit of a workaholic not because I work to work but because I love my work, this was new for me. It has been a freeing experience to step back and not respond to emails in a matter of minutes or hours and has allowed me to reflect upon the kind of business and lifestyle I want to continue to create and cultivate. One that prides itself on excellence of course but on balance, nourishing ourselves while nourishing our children, and ultimately self-care.
Exercise has been a total non-existent part of my life for the last 20 weeks which ironically enough I am really ok with. The funny thing about pregnancy is that everyone has advice to share and the information around you is bountiful about what you should and shouldn’t do. Again in a perfect world one would exercise, eat well, take their pre-natal vitamins everyday (there was a period where I couldn’t handle taking anything), meditate, write letters to their baby, and embrace the glorious journey of being pregnant. I remember spending a few days with my mom on Gabriola Island in the Summer. She asked every day if I wanted to go for a walk. A WALK. We are not talking a hike or a run, just a walk. Each day my response was the same, “no thank you.” At that time I was so tired and usually nauseous that all I wanted to do was rest and I am grateful that I gave myself the space to do so.
As someone who struggled with an eating disorder for nearly 10 years, pregnancy has also been an incredibly healing and empowering journey so far. I can honestly say that I have wholeheartedly embraced the changes in my body and that I really do love the skin I’m in. Pregnancy has softened me and has allowed me to tend to myself in a whole new way. It has also been an extremely liberating experience of letting go. There is so much that is out of your control during pregnancy and really in life. The way we choose to engage with that ultimately creates our experience and I have chosen to ride the wave of change with as much grace as possible and to welcome this new chapter with an open mind and an open heart.
No matter where we are in life we can always choose to listen. To listen to our bodies honestly and truly, to honour what it is we really need, and to listen to that little voice inside. After-all isn’t this what we would want for our children? Perhaps then it starts right here.