Updated: Feb 28
If we choose, our pregnancies can be a time of mystery, enjoyment and deep connection to ourselves, our bodies and our babies. But sometimes, getting there can be tricky within a society that prizes, and depends on, knowing so much! Join me, as we delve into the possibility of the unknown.
There has never been a time more difficult to be pregnant than this current time. And, no, I don't mean considering the pandemic and associated isolation, or the social upheaval or the rocky political climate that we are experiencing in the U.S. No, I'm confident that we'll get through all of this. As a species we've come this far right, and history hasn't necessarily been kind . . .
What I'm thinking about is the overload of information our society prizes. We love information, crave it, data points give us the warm fuzzies. We track our habits, our exercise regimens, what just moved at our front doors, the precise delivery time of our latest online purchase, how many times our latest social media post was shared or clicked on, or you fill in the blank!
And if you're pregnant, that list just grows and grows. We often want to know, and can know, everything we want about our baby's growth in utero from their expected size at birth, to their sex, to their predisposition toward certain genetic markers. Little is left to our imagination.
And when so much can be known, it's easy to get distracted.
Wait a minute, distracted from what you might be thinking. Isn't it wonderful that we can mitigate important health issues during pregnancy, that we have technology that can give us such valuable information? Yes, hands down yes!
The distraction comes in when we loose touch with the mystery of pregnancy and birth. Focusing on the data points of our pregnancies tends to lead to anticipated anxiety and can create additional stress.
One example of this anticipated stress is when care providers schedule an induction without medical cause. We are seeing this happen increasingly before the estimated due date has even arrived, putting a fixed and arbitrary date on the horizon. This can leave expectant parents feeling like something is wrong with them if their baby isn't born before that date, they can start to feel anxious about the induction process and loose touch with the connection and enjoyment they had been experiencing in their pregnancy.
When we focus on the minutiae and stressors of our pregnancies and lives, we can forget to enjoy the moment or find ourselves stuck in a fearful thought pattern, keeping us from being in the flow of the experience.
We can do with more connection, quiet reflection time and just being present in this moment, enjoying the experience of being pregnant. We can do with more curiosity toward pregnancy and the changes happening in our bodies.
We can invite peace into our minds, trusting that our babies are safe in our bellies. We can allow ourselves to take a breath, or two, or ten. Pause before we react or jump to make a decision.
So, what are some ways to avoid information overload and instead welcome some mystery and connection in your pregnancy?
Welcome a sense of curiosity and mystery toward your pregnancy.
Consider if there is any aspect of your pregnancy that doesn't need a data point, a precise measurement. Relish in the not knowing, the freedom of that mystery and just enjoy the ride!
When you are facing a data point moment, allow yourself a breath and moment to think.
It's always OK to take a beat, you don't have to have the answer right away. Ask yourself: What am I going to do with this information? How am I feeling about this test/intervention/medical option? Why is this being recommended for me?
Work with a doula or a postpartum doula.
Doulas are like walking google search bars specialized on pregnancy, birth and babies. They can answer your questions and offer relevant information. But more importantly, they'll be an objective, compassionate and understanding listening ear as you process the ups and downs of your experience. They will validate your experience, allow you time to reflect and encourage connection in your pregnancy.
Practice enjoying and connecting to your pregnancy.
Sit in a quiet and comfortable spot with your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly. Notice how your hands feel on your body. Feel your breath moving in and out of your body, nourishing all of your cells. Can you feel your baby moving or a body part poking up? How does your body and mind feel knowing that your baby is safe inside your belly?
Trust that you don't need to know everything.
Listen to your instincts, that inner Wisdom. If your inner knowing needs more information, then by all means go ahead and search it out. Don't let anyone make you feel like a bad parent because of what information you are seeking out. Ask questions that matter to you at your next prenatal appointment, and until then see if you can let those questions just be in the background.
You've got this! Listen to your inner voice and gut instincts. Allow the information and data points that make you feel good and safe, and leave the rest at the door! And as much as you can, enjoy this singular experience as you prepare to meet your baby.
Arielle is a Certified Labor and Postpartum Doula, and a Certified Childbirth Educator. In her role as Doula and Educator, she promotes a sense of curiosity and exploration during pregnancy, provides evidence-based education for childbirth and postpartum and offers support services guiding expectant families to claim their birth and postpartum experiences as their own. Arielle offers comprehensive Childbirth Services South Bay Area, Santa Clara, Palo Alto and San Jose metropolis areas, and virtually wherever support is needed.
To read more, check out Arielle's Philosophy page.