As an expecting mom, you’ve probably dreamed about what it might be like to feel a baby inside you, to watch your belly bump grow as you imagine life with your future child. Along the way, sharing the excitement and challenges of pregnancy with friends and family has always been considered a big part of this experience. How could we ever imagine that such a normal part of life would become so deeply cherished…and so painfully missed?
According to an article in The New York Times, researchers are now realizing the serious health effects of Covid-19, as well as pandemic life conditions, on pregnant women and babies. One study is currently tracking more than 200 women through pregnancy and for 18 months after childbirth, gathering data on the health of these women and infants.
Lead investigator “Dr. Jelliffe-Pawlowski and her team have analyzed the data from the first group of women, and they are finding ‘absolutely incredible’ levels of stress and anxiety…. ‘Sixty percent of women are experiencing nervousness and anxiety at levels that impede their everyday functioning,’ she said, citing preliminary data.”
In these strange times, when so many people are feeling isolated and lonely, pregnancy can feel especially difficult. Physical and emotional changes are being experienced in a vacuum. The social network of friends and family that have traditionally provided strength and support for pregnant women has been removed. Supportive hugs from friends and relatives that would normally be abundant are now completely absent. It’s natural to experience anxiety in such conditions. Yes, you are incredibly grateful to be expecting a baby, and of course you truly appreciate the amazing blessings in your life, but damn, this is hard!
Mama, it will get better. We promise. And you are doing the right thing by staying home and safe, as challenging as it may be. It’s true you’re missing so many of the joys that pregnant women have always taken for granted, but you are going to be okay. You are brave and strong, and we want to help you celebrate your pregnancy with a few little gifts that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Here are some treats that are not just fun but also important ways to support your emotional and physical health.
- Would you like a pregnancy spa day? Of course you would! Here are some fun and easy ideas from Everymum for creating a relaxing, soothing, pampering atmosphere right at home: DIY Prenatal Spa Day.
- Aromatherapy has been proven to reduce stress and create a feeling of well-being. Why not add a prenatal aromatherapy self-massage to your spa day? Here’s a recipe from Nikole at Health Nut Nutrition that’s safe to enjoy during pregnancy: DIY Belly Oil for Pregnancy and Postpartum.
- The stress of the pandemic is leaving many of us with a need for a cocktail. Here are some fun and easy mocktail recipes from Casey at DIY Playbook that are even better than the real thing: Refreshing Mocktails for Pregnancy.
After your spa day you might be in the mood for some decadently delicious treats. FittaMamma shares some extra healthy dessert recipes created just for pregnant women. Each of these yummies offers the extra nutritional boost you need right now, but they’re so incredibly delicious you won’t realize how good they are for you: Healthier Pregnancy Treat Recipes. Also be sure to check out the variety of mouth-watering healthy recipes developed by Victoria at Preggie Veggie.
- We all know about the powerful benefits of meditation. This beautiful guided meditation from Yogi Candi will help you to relax and bond with your expected little one: Guided Meditation for Prenatal Bonding.
- If you’re in the mood for learning more about how to bond with your baby prenatally, we’ve discovered some informative and interesting podcasts that highlight discussions with experts in the field. (Shameless plug: Jackie and Susan are special guests on the Stork Storytime podcast, all about reading to babies in utero!)
- Finally, if you’d like to connect with your baby by reading, you can start with Belly Books, written specially for the purpose. And then try singing the lyrics as a lullaby! As you know, research shows that talking, reading and singing to your baby prenatally creates a beautiful bond that strengthens and enriches your relationship with baby when he or she arrives.
So if lockdown has got you feeling like a fairytale princess locked in a gloomy castle tower, we invite you to turn that tower into a cozy sanctuary. Look at this extra time as a gift, and use it to connect even more closely with your baby without the distraction and noise of the outside world.
The more you can relax, the more your baby will relax inside you. The more you talk, sing and read to your baby, the more he or she will become accustomed to your voice. You can build memories and share love now, in this quiet time before the world returns to normal. When baby arrives, you’ll know in your heart that you helped each other survive and thrive during these months, and your bond will be all the stronger for it.