by Cassandra Vore
As a mother, I know the excitement and the nervousness of welcoming a new life into your body, home, and heart. We often prepare for our baby’s arrival by painting the nursery and going on a shopping spree. However, when we focus our energy on the material and physical preparations, we miss the first opportunity to be proactive parents. Indeed, parenting does not begin at birth, but long before.
Consciously attending to the complete journey, from conception through birthing, is an immense and sacred parenting task that can be embraced in many ways, and may be overwhelming at times. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Strengthen your intimate and social relationships
Foster communication with your partner. Discuss the fears, hopes, dreams, and plans each of you has for your growing family and learn to support one another, even when your ideas diverge.
Do you have friends who make you laugh or calm your spirit? Nurture those relationships and the positive ways they make you feel. At the same time, discontinue or avoid stressful relationships with friends or extended family. Stress hormones directly impact your growing child. Take this opportunity to put your child’s needs first.
Don’t forget to ask for or accept offers to help, both now and after the baby comes. Accepting help does not mean that you are incapable. Instead, your loved ones experience the joy of giving and you receive the extra nurturing you need and deserve.
If you’re the grandparent, nurture your children on their paths to parenthood and don’t be offended if they don’t follow yours. We all seek our own footing on this universal journey and your unconditional love and acceptance is the greatest gift you can offer.
2. Nourish your mind, body, and spirit
Spend time outdoors connecting with nature as you marvel at the miracle of nature growing within you.
Walking, yoga, swimming, and other low impact exercises are great throughout pregnancy. Chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, and many other alternative therapies can also help you stay healthy and fit.
Attending to your spirit can easily be done through meditation, hypnosis, affirmations, and prayer.
The food you eat also nourishes your baby. Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy, whole foods diet with lots of variety. Avoid processed foods and toxic substances.
3. Prepare for your birthing time and infant care
Search out information on the Internet, in books, and in magazines. Is the amount of information overwhelming? Look for categorized lists of helpful resources at http://www.superiorbirthingresources.com.
Read or watch inspirational stories of childbirth and avoid fear-inducing labor stories. Start with Journey Into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth by Sheri Menelli.
Invest in a complete childbirth education class that fits your philosophy, has a complete curriculum, and can help you become an informed health care consumer. This process will allow you to welcome your baby into the world in the way that is right for you and your family.
Explore your feelings and the research about issues such as breastfeeding, vaccinations, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing. Be prepared ahead of time so you feel confident with your choices.
Pregnancy is a sacred time when new life is being created and nurtured. This time period offers parents an opportunity to release fears, heal emotional wounds, and bring balance to daily life in preparation to meet their child. The preparation can be a lot of work, but then again, so is the work of parenting. Fortunately, it is truly a labor of love. Enjoy your journey!
Cassandra Vore lives in Skandia, Michigan, with her husband and son, surrounded by extended family and a vibrant community. A Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis instructor and creator of Superior Birthing Resources, she offers holistic, natural-focused resources to expectant and new parents. She can be reached at (906) 942-7010, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Spring 2012.