Self Care – Birth Prep Challenge – Week 10
Self Care is the foundation of The Oxytocin Method. 10 weeks closer to meeting your precious one on this side of the belly. Wow - I wish I could hug you. I wish I could tell you how much you joining in this challenge means to me! I wish I could tell you how important loving your progress is for you and your birth.
Journey with me one more time for a very special challenge of Esali Birth Prep.
Importance of Self Care
Not only do we often struggle with our own inner thoughts - but in the modern age of social media it is oh so easy for others to attack us - often so passive aggressively. It is so easy to compare their poetic moment to our bigger picture. It so easy to see their beautiful capture feel like ours is not worthy. It is so easy to spill a fleeting thought onto a screen for permanency affecting the entire day of someone else. We've moved our sacred personal journals into the abyss of impersonal online disconnection. Oh, and how you thought movement daily and nourishing meals was a tough thing to add... I would suffice to say emotional well being is the hardest of all... and the most important... and rivals food to be the most rewarding. Though, really, each part of care is equally important. Our nervous system (the direct impact of our self care regimen) is the power source for our body... its our spirit. If we cannot create time and care for the place our spirit lives, then how can the rest of our body thrive and complete all their necessary functions?
Let's be sure to take every moment with intention. To know that ALL of us have wonderful moments and ALL of us have horrible moments. We also ALL have the in between moments that make up the majority. The beauty is the connection we find with our environment and the healing we receive from surrounding ourselves with love not only from a positive group, but from our inner thoughts as well. Removing toxic relationships from our life can often be so difficult - I know this all too well - because in some ways we fill a void with these relationships. Maybe we're helping them through something and feeling good about that. Maybe they're giving us a few moments of peace to recenter away from the family so the family's return home is welcomed and joyous. Maybe we feel we need their financial security. Maybe they glorify us in some way... praise us for something we've done. Maybe we feel we need their skills or even just their time. But in the long term this results in emotional instability and a life of hurt that we may not only feel ourselves but also project onto other people. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is toxic to us and what we're actually benefiting from through our gifts to them or their gifts to us. Its a vicious cycle - but one you want to remove yourself from as best you can the moment you see it happening in your life - even if its just for a short term.
Everyone needs a break. Everyone needs help. Everyone deserves love and time and this equally means the time to give to yourself and no one else (and to allow others in your life this time also). The time to feel replenished in love and prayer and a moment of re-centering. Self care builds oxytocin and which means better relationships (and a more natural ability for spontaneous birth). What is so very important to remember is that this is especially a part of birth prep that is completely equal for moms and dads. Mom is gestating this baby - and dad is supporting her. You both will equally be parenting and the more respect you provide to each other, the more you receive and the better able you are to provide that patience, love, respect, and time for your children wholly together. We cannot assume we deserve anything more than anybody else no matter how the previous years, months, or days, have played out. We must take today and make the choice to continue on together in the future - for us and our children.
Here's the thing. We've been doing self care since the beginning of this challenge. Every time you nourish your mind and body, you care for yourself and care for your baby. This week is just a bit different because we add in self-respect and confidence in knowing our limit and practice providing others with that grace as well. This week, we continue to do all that nourishes our body, but we take this one step further and we take a moment for ourselves with a nurturing bath at least three nights a week, journaling daily, and relaxation enjoyment each night - and we give grace to others the way we want this world to provide to us.
Bath time for pregnancy
Bath time not only provides us with a muscle relaxing agent, but its also a special time we get to close the door, dim the lights, turn on some soft music, and have a little me-time without spending anything extra. Even when there are older siblings running around that might want to join now and then, they can usually be quieted with a warm bath as well. If you have support, this is the perfect time for them to do their part and give you 30 minutes to yourself. 30 minutes of the 720 minutes of daylight isn't too much to ask - especially if its only three times a week. Don't forget, you will be trading this time and providing each other equally with self care moments regularly.
Journaling in pregnancy
Whether its jotting down your pregnancy dreams or taking notes on your growing baby - journaling helps you to release thoughts that reduce the body's ability to relax and thus encouraging your to build oxytocin. When I'm not feeling so positive, I also have a journal special for thoughts I feel discouraged about thinking but need to release them... I throw those thoughts, literally, in the trash because I don't mean them but they can sometimes cloud my mind and they are not productive thoughts to look back on and ponder. The mind is an interesting organ. It is important to note that many times the negative thoughts stem from a life imbalance - poor eating, poor sleep, poor support...etc. We not only feel better when we live better, we think better, too.
You can use familiar cyclical patterns for journaling as you would throughout menses by taking the morning hours to plan for the next day, and the evening hours for reflection.
- Dreams & Symbols
- Today I will _________
- Tomorrow I will _________
- My work day was _________
- The kids are __________
- Pregnancy is enlightening because _________
- Daily Food Logs
- Daily Movement Logs
- Daily Rhythms, Appointments, & Tasks
- I would like to birth _________
- My birth team is _________
- Care Provider/ Birth Team Questions & Thoughts __________
It doesn't matter what you're relaxing to, taking 15 minutes every day for some type of relaxation allows these techniques to become habits that you're better able to recall in times of stress. A few options include:
- Tense and Release - tensing each muscle throughout the body and releasing the tension to notice the difference and go deeper into a relaxed body state. Tense and Release Talk Through
- Fear release - acknowledging fears that may be holding you back from truly enjoying your experience and progressing through labor. Fear Release Talk Through
- Visualization - Placing yourself in a relaxed state through guided walk throughs by relating sensations and thoughts to calm environments. Visualization Talk Through
- Forgiveness and Prayer - Taking moments to give thanks for every moment of your life - every challenge and every opportunity and equally smiling and loving those that do hurt you and do seem to feel toxic in your life. Forgive yourself for ways you feel inadequate, unwhole, or less than what you want to be and allow yourself to grow spiritually and move forward.
Keep in mind, relaxation doesn't have to be perfect because you're rarely going to be in the "perfect" setting to start in when you need to relax. When you can master the art of relaxation in most situations, you'll be better prepared for reducing stress at any time.
Schedule Self Care
If you have a busy life, self care must be something you actively schedule. You will eventually get into all of these habits, but until then - they must be intentional.
You are worth this time.
Your baby is worth this time.
As a mother, a father - a human being - you must be well rested and nourished in order to nurture those around you. Same goes for siblings and anyone supporting you - EQUALLY. They must have this self care time as well. Alternate days, or times, to provide both of you the opportunity for something that makes you happy and nurtured - just for you. Don't forget to make relationship care time as well. When you're individually nurtured, your relationship can be provided with the attention it deserves so that your children are provided with healthy communicating and loving adults.
We all need our breaks - don't skimp on yours!
Thank you so much for joining in this 10-week challenge! Did you miss a week of the challenge or need a recap? Check out the previous challenges by becoming a member of the Esali Birth Online Community (for FREE) and join the Esali Birth Prep Challenge course:
Week 1 - Make Tea for Birth
Week 2 - Just Breathe for Birth
Week 3 - Move for Birth
Week 4 - Hydrate for Birth
Week 5 - Sunshine for Birth
Week 6 - Healthy Fats for Birth
Week 7 - Poop for Birth
Week 8 - Detox for Birth
Week 9 - Sleep for Birth