A 3 Part Blog Series on the Pregnant Pause
by Stephanie Dawn, ASLP
When I first realized I was pregnant nine years ago, in my second trimester or so, I remember feeling fortunate that I was a self-employed counselor who worked out of my home and could take breaks and look after myself daily, without anyone watching over me. Recently, my sister gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl in New York City and worked full-time in an office up until 4 weeks just before the birth. I remember thinking “I don’t know how she is doing it, maintaining that pace, in that city, when she is 8 months pregnant?”
In our culture, slowing down in pregnancy doesn’t come naturally for women who work full-time in a hustling and bustling metropolis and truth be told, they may not even know how! Nor does our American work culture regard a pregnant mama as I do: worthy of reverence and in need of heaps of time off and TLC. The responsibility lies upon ourselves, then, to make our wellness a priority. In my work with expectant mamas, slowing down, caring for oneself, listening to the body, mind and spirit is a crucial daily, even moment to moment, practice. Not only is it important for the health of the Mama and her pregnancy, but it is also an opportunity for the Mama to tune into this new life that is within her, long before her baby is earth-side. I believe a conscious pregnancy leads to a conscious birth leads to a happier new Mama. What does a conscious pregnancy mean? Pregnancy and birth are some of the greatest rites of passage we as women get to experience in a lifetime and yet, if we walk through this time in an unconscious way, not tuning into the moment, or being mindful of our emotional, spiritual and mental journey, it will pass us by and the depth of awareness that is possible is missed.
I asked my friend and colleague Kelli, whom I would call a conscious Mama, about her energy levels in this, her third pregnancy. She spoke of needing 1-2 hours more sleep (she is now in her second trimester) and while she enjoys a brisk walk or practicing her vinyasa yoga, she said she equally needs to make dedicated time to rest. She says “Slowing down for me can’t necessarily mean less activity being the mother of 2 girls 6 and 4. However, when I say slow down, I mean lessen my presence in the “rat race”. I don’t want to be on Facebook as much anymore.”
When I asked Mama-to-be Jane, a high school teacher, how her rhythm of life had changed, she said “My rhythm of life would appear the same to an outsider but my focus has shifted dramatically. During this first trimester I am forced to slow down once I get home from work because I have very little left to do anything. I also feel that there are other aspects to the slowing down that are more reflective. I’ve become acutely aware of how much stimulation I usually need (watching movies, reading, Facebooking, etc) and have been opting to spend less time with those and more time with quiet. It feels good and it feels like an important way to prepare for the enormous changes that are about to come.”
Both Jane and Kelli are tuning in to that invisible cord that pulls us inward, that causes us to take note of the moment, to turn within and spend “more time with quiet.” To pause, to listen, and to give to ourselves in perhaps ways that we may never have before. As a mother of two, these pregnant pauses served me well in my pregnancies and births and acted as a primer to maintain the path of wellness and excellent self-care that I need, for myself, my work and my family. So go ahead, draw that bubble bath, take that walk and breathe deeply into the pause that refreshes!
Stephanie Dawn, ALSP is a Mother, Speaker, Educator and Spiritual Counselor supporting Mamas and Papas in the prenatal and postpartum period via prayer, counsel and Sacred Birth Coaching. She is the author of the Sacred Birth Workbook, Childbirth Preparation for the Heart, Mind and Spirit, which is now also available in Italian. Contact Stephanie for a complimentary consultation by going to www.stephaniedawn.com.