Self-care is not self-indulgence. Self-care is self-respect.
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. Brené Brown
If a friend was facing an unplanned pregnancy, what would you tell her? How would you talk to her?
You are taught to be kind, patient and compassionate of others. The best starting point, however, is to be this way toward yourself. When your love and compassion includes you, it is complete.
To do that, start with the fundamentals — self-care. When facing an unplanned pregnancy and making a choice to place your child for adoption, consistent self-care helps you improve your health, reduce stress and think more clearly.
Where do you begin? Take small steps. Make a list of self-care you most need. Implement two reachable goals a week. According to a 2009 study by the University College London, it takes about two months for a new habit to stick so be patient with yourself.
Starting a new habit is usually linked to breaking an old habit. It’s usually easier to break an old habit if you have something new to replace it with. For example, replacing brownies and cookies in your fridge with bananas and yogurt.
How exactly will learning self-care help you when you’re expecting? Some examples of self-care during pregnancy and the benefits to you are:
1. Eat Well and Hydrate
You want to eat enough calories to make sure your body has the fuel it needs to support you. You also want those calories to be quality and nutrition packed. Also, you need more protein, iron, calcium and folic acid than you did before pregnancy. The way to accomplish this is to consume about 300 calories per day and take your pre-natal vitamin. Tell your doctor if you have special diet needs, such as diabetes, lactose or gluten intolerant, vegetarian or PKU. To make your pregnancy diet easy to remember, check out these pregnancy “10 Rules to Eat By.”
Benefits to you: Reduce pregnancy complications, reduce birth defects, lose weight faster after delivery.
During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body increases, allowing for blood flow to the growing fetus. Because of this, your body needs fluid to produce this extra blood and to maximize your overall health. It’s recommended you drink eight to 12, 8-oz. glasses of water a day. Also, avoid caffeinated beverages.
Benefits to you: Minimize swelling, decrease constipation, limit hemorrhoids, decrease fatigue, improve liver and kidney function.
Have you heard the expression “eating for two?” Well, you’re also sleeping for two. Your body is working overtime during pregnancy. You may feel more tired during different parts of your pregnancy. For example, many women sleep more during their first trimester. Lying on your side will likely be the most comfortable position, and being on your left side can have health benefits for baby and you, reducing heartburn, constipation and back pain and improving circulation.
Benefits to you: Improve your mood, increase energy, improve health, increase focus/concentration, improve memory, decrease weight gain, improve healthy development of baby, decrease labor and delivery complications.
3. Activity and Stress Management
For most pregnant women, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended daily according to the Mayo Clinic. Low impact exercise, such as walking is an ideal way to stay active during pregnancy. Before beginning or continuing any form of exercise, get your doctor’s permission as some types of conditions during pregnancy limit exercise and activity.
Benefits to you: Improve your health, reduce stress, improve muscle tone and strength, improve sleep, decrease weight gain, reduce bloating and constipation, improve labor and delivery.
Remember, when your love and compassion (and self-care) includes you, it is complete.
If you want to soar in life, you must first learn to F.L.Y (first love yourself) Mark Sterling
Author: Destiny Adoption Services
Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.