I had (conveniently) forgotten that being pregnant can make you feel a little bit crazy. And overwhelmed. There are some days when I feel – physically and mentally – as though I’ve scaled Everest – and not in a triumphant way, but in an ‘every fibre of my being is shattered’ way (and there is of course, also the emotional maelstrom to contend with). So I’ve been developing a new little positive habit….
Hormones make you feel things most acutely: there are extremes of happiness: the little one moving inside me); an intense rush of love for my daughter (is it just me, or does being pregnant make you fall even more in love with your existing child/ren?); a burst of affection for my husband. And there are extremes of brain-buzzing anxiety (I am good at worrying); exhaustion; even tears (and not just when every single baby is born on One Born Every Minute).
Now, don’t misunderstand – I am thrilled to be pregnant. I know how lucky we are. It is just being at the mercy of your life and hormones is tough at times. Any woman who juggles work, commuting, childcare, running a home with all its attendant domestic admin, and so on – knows just how exhausting life can be without throwing pregnancy into the mix.
I am trying to do two things: at the end and beginning of each day, I take a brief moment to talk to my baby (in my head, mostly, but sometimes we’ll have a proper chat) – even if it’s just a ‘hello my little bug’. And I am trying to practise gratitude. Not in a hippy dippy way – not because there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my style – but in a more matter-of-fact fashion. The pure appliance of science (or research) has convinced me. I keep reading how people who feel grateful are happier, healthier and less stressed, even more productive. (If you need further convincing, watch this. I cried. Obvs.)
So at the end of every day I think of three things I feel grateful for that day. There are constants: my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends. But it might, for instance, on any given day, include: watching my daughter (dressed as a fairy, standing on a chair for no perceptible reason) and her beloved daddy whistling together (she’s three and she can whistle a note!) – quite honestly the cutest thing I’ve seen this week; the joy of working with hilarious, bright people who make me laugh every day; discovering a new murder mystery/brilliant new book (this week’s it’s The Carriage House, which is wonderful and has echoes of Austen); the sweet peas my dad planted in my garden for me (and the kitchen cupboards he painted – yes, the man is a god in our house); clean sheets on my bed; seeing my baby happy and healthy on the scan; a perfect day at the beach complete with picnic; that my little girl has inherited my imagination and tells herself stories as she bumbles around; that when we visit my parents we sit for ages around the table, laughing and chatting; when one of you lovely readers leaves a comment or sends us an email (thank you!); cherry tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella (yes, really); the magnolia in bloom at Kew Gardens….
Try it. It’s surprisingly easy and effective. I’d love to know if works (and what you’re grateful for! Ideas always welcome.)
Images: via Pinterest