The Pregnant Woman - The Stereotype and the Truth
Today I want to talk about the stereotype of a pregnant woman in our western societies and what I feel is the truth and what is needed so we can enjoy ourselves as pregnant women.
In our society there’s a stereotype of the pregnant woman, who may be emotional and eat funny things, but who is definitely happy and beaming like the sun most of the time, taking it all in her stride as if it were no big deal. We feel that this is what is expected of us. We are expected to just stay who we are and keep on doing what we do while at the same time creating another human being inside our bodies. Women also have many expectations on themselves about how you should be and feel and look when you are pregnant. I feel that all of this creates a lot of stress, sadness, frustration and isolation for pregnant women.
Nobody teaches us what it really means to be pregnant. In fact, pregnancy is a time of continuous change. As your baby rapidly evolves inside of you, so you evolve on your way to motherhood. The responsibility and love you feel for your baby can lead to feelings of guilt and stress. You might feel afraid of how the pregnancy and birth will go. The new situation might create unease and fights within your relationship or you might be a single mother from the start and feel overwhelmed. All of this is a normal part of pregnancy, yet I feel that hardly anybody talks about it.
Another aspect of what makes being pregnant difficult in our society is the medical system. Of course it also provides many good things, but on the other hand pregnant women are often feel intimidated and frightened by what they are told by doctors and in that vulnerable state of wanting to do everything right for their babies, let themselves be pushed into taking decisions they don’t feel good about and that often have negative effects for them and their babies.
I wonder what would happen if we could be more present with ourselves during this time of change and actually notice what is going on with us. I feel that presence and awareness is what is needed in the first place to ensure a happy and healthy pregnancy. Yogic practices are great tools we can use for this.
As a pregnant woman, we are responsible for our unborn babies, we are their protection. Yet somebody needs to protect us in return. Pregnancy is a time when a woman can come into her full strength, yet it is also a time of great vulnerability. What if we can learn to honour what we feel and put our needs and our well-being before our own and everybody else’s expectations? Would that create more ease and happiness for us and our babies?
Tune in to yourself and listen. What do you need? What will give you that?
And then trust yourself! If something doesn’t feel good to you, it is not right for you at this moment. Is it really important that your partner or doctor thinks otherwise? Don’t argue, don’t fight, just take gentle action in a direction that feel right for you and your baby. You know best!
The truth is, once pregnant, you will never be the same. To have a happy pregnancy, you will have to abandon many of the ideas you have of yourself and let go of some of your habits. Your whole life will change. If you accept that and embrace that, stay present with what you feel and have compassion for yourself and dare to live your own truth, there is nothing in the way of a wonderful pregnancy and birth, which will be your own rebirth as a mother as well.
I wish you the very best for this challenging, yet wonderful time and I would love to hear about your unique experiences!