The nursery is currently under construction and not yet complete – almost but not entirely. Several months back my husband Bernard ripped up all the carpet in our house and replaced it with hardwood. Upon doing that, he discovered some water damage on the floor by one of the walls in what will be our son’s room. He then had to rip that wall down, rip out all the old wood and reframe, put up new drywall, mud, paint, put up new molding, and is now in the process of rebuilding the window jambs and sills. He is doing all this by himself I might add, not because of pride but because the area that he is working on is too small to fit more than two people plus all the tools he needs. Since the nursery isn’t complete, all the stuff that I received from my baby shower is piled up around the house, along with all the things that were in the room before construction began. While I am getting larger the space in my house appears to be getting smaller. In addition to the housework, Bernard is starting a new job next week at a new company which means orientation, and getting acclimated to a new environment and new co-workers. Did I mention, I am less than one month out from my due date?
Oddly enough, despite all of this, I am calm. Me, the type A, control freak, who likes perfection and being prepared. I am the most relaxed I have ever been in my life. Would you believe me if I told you that there was a part of me that knew it would be like this? I firmly believe I am being tested and therefore, I have spent a great deal of time being mindful of where I exert my energy and what I choose to get upset over. I read a lot at the beginning of my pregnancy about the adverse effects stress can have on a pregnant body and unborn baby. It can make you uncomfortable and cause high blood pressure, but for a baby, it can induce preterm labor or a low birth weight all of which I didn’t want. Therefore, I do deep breathing, and I rub, read, sing and talk to my belly, I focus on relaxing areas where I hold tension – my jawline most especially.
What I have noticed as I have become more zen is all the people that surround me on a day-to-day basis who are not zen. Those that seem more concerned than me with when the nursery will be done? What’s Bernard’s progress? What is the holdup? Those who want to know if I have washed the baby clothes? If, I’ve sterilized the bottles and breastfeeding supplies? Everyone around me seems to have all these expectations of what I should be doing, and how I should be doing it. If I have experienced any stress throughout this pregnancy, it has been my interactions with others. I find in those situations I allow my mind to go elsewhere and recognize that the person is projecting onto me their own issues and expectations and that has nothing to do with me.
Here is what I have come to understand throughout this eight-month-long journey, I cannot control everything. I spent my life from the time I was little until I became pregnant trying to control everything around me. It was how I coped with the unpredictable. Unpredictable use to scare me a whole lot more than it does now. Since becoming pregnant, I have done a lot to release myself from my need to be in control.
How did I do it?
- The first one may not resonate with everyone, but because it has been essential in my journey, I feel it is important to mention it. I am a Christian, and I have spent a great deal of time cultivating my relationship with God throughout this journey. When I fear or feel anxious about something I pray about, I put my trust in God and find that my need to control and panic eases almost immediately.
- Mindfulness, as I mentioned earlier has also been a huge help in managing my need to monitor and panic. I try to be present in the moment and acknowledge what I am feeling at that time. I deep breathe, I journal, I release tension, I move around, all these things help me to be mindful.
- I look for solutions to problems rather than just harping on the issues. I cannot move the baby stuff into the baby nursery and nest just yet, but I can wash the clothes and organize them by size, which I did. I can make freezer to crockpot meals for post-pregnancy dinners, which I am in the process of doing. I can be pro-active but go about it in a leisurely way not in a panic-stricken way.
These three things have helped me immeasurably over the last three months, and while I relate them to my pregnancy, I feel they can be implemented for those who are not pregnant as well. Here is the thing, I am never going to be a wholly laid back person, I have a type A personality, and I do believe that if you prepare ahead of time, you can alleviate a whole plethora of problems. But what I have come to realize is how I approach these situations strongly impacts not only the outcome but my well-being.