The Art of Gratitude

2b9f5a11f4f6d5f8254d7365af6eb4c6I 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

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  • Reply
    May 1, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Ah glad I’m not the only one struck with the crazy pregnancy hormones. You write so well.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I smile and think how lucky I am when I am sitting in the sunshine just watching my boys run round like crazy loons all healthy and strong. And when the neighbour’s clematis starts to flower and run over in my to garden. And when my littlest boy tells me he “appreciates” my hair which makes me laugh as he hears the word and still doesn’t know how to use it in the right context. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a few minutes out and breathe and be grateful for all that you have.

    A lovely post.

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