Self-Care During Pregnancy

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I’m over 35 weeks into growing baby three now, and it’s safe to say I am more than a little tired and emotional as we get closer to due date!

The physical pressures of pregnancy are well-documented; big bump, restless nights and the need to visit the loo approximately 127 times a day (at least).


But pregnancy can also have a significant impact on our mental wellbeing, too. According to research by Tommy’s;

‘Women are more likely to be affected by mental illness during pregnancy and the postnatal period than at any other time of their lives’.

There are so many changes we don’t see, so many emotions to process and new challenges to face. It’s a time where looking after ourselves becomes even more critical.

Here are some practical ways we can practice self-care during pregnancy.

Seek Support.
Support can come in lots of forms - not just from friends and family but professional help, online communities and other new parents can be excellent lifelines pre and post-birth.

Tommy’s have developed a brand new, free, digital tool to empower and support mums during pregnancy and beyond - like a birth plan but for mental wellbeing (you can access it here).

It is available to all mums and focuses on mental health, self-care and identifying sources of support. A really great resource to add to your mental-wellbeing toolkit!

Everyone needs a bit of support and encouragement sometimes.


Set boundaries.
Pregnancy comes with lots of unwarranted advice and overstepping of boundaries.
Remember, it’s still your body.
This is your baby.

You don’t become public property when you conceive (even though some days it feels as though that is the case).
You get to make the rules and decide what’s best for you and your child.

Rest.
Easier said than done, but allow yourself time to rest. You don’t have to do it all.
Even on the days you don’t feel like you’re doing much of anything, you’re growing a whole human!

Time to nap, to do nothing, or binge-watch your favourite TV show is actually all time to give yourself a break and allow yourself the opportunity to recuperate and recharge.


Ask Questions.
It’s okay not to know, and it’s okay to need to know more!

This is my third pregnancy, and I’m still asking lots of questions despite having done this twice before.
Seek help when you need it, seek reassurance.
Challenge the things that don’t feel right to you; your peace of mind is important.



Don’t Compare Yourself.
Every pregnancy and baby is unique. The ups and downs are different for every mum and different for every baby. Your experience is entirely individual - every thought, feeling and reaction is valid.

Believe in yourself.
From the very first stages of parenting, we doubt ourselves, our abilities, our instincts. There are so many conflicting articles and opinions. So many things to remember. So much pressure on our bodies and minds to grow, nurture and birth something so special.

It might not always feel this way, but you are wildly capable. Even on the days you doubt yourself, you’ve got this.

You’re doing a great job, Mama.

____________________________

Illustration and blog post written in support of Tommy’s new digital wellbeing tool encouraging positive mental wellbeing for mums, not a paid partnership or ad.

TAKE A COMPLIMENT | DOWNLOADABLE PDF

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Compliments can be a bit awkward, they can feel a bit embarrassing to receive or we might feel a bit a shy in telling people the things we really love or admire about them. Deep down though, it’s lovely to know all the positive things people think about us, or to share kind words with others.

In a world of online trolls and where the kindness of strangers can get a little lost in the sea of upsetting news headlines, and the chaos day to day life, an uplifting comment or a note of praise can go a long way!

With that in mind I created this little tear sheet, a small rainbow of positivity to brighten up the day of your friends and colleagues and maybe even some strangers too.

Stick them up anywhere people will see them and take the compliment you need to hear - or tear off a little strip to pass on to someone else.

You have my full permission to save, print and distribute these! Upload your photos online with #stacieswiftcompliments and share the positive vibes there too :)

Download your free A4 sheet here.
(You’ll need to cut along the lines between each compliment to make them tearable!)

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The Little Things Are The Big Things

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You’ll know if you’ve seen my Instagram posts this week that it’s been a bit of a rough ride. 

Sometimes life throws more our way than we are prepared to handle; it catches us out and leaves us overwhelmed, depleted and bruised. 

These past few days I’ve been implementing all the emergency self-care I can muster to counteract this particularly shit time.

I bought myself flowers. Stopped trying to do it all. Took time away. Had a good cry. Talked through my feelings. Rested. Got my hair done. Read a new magazine. Watched some crap tv...

The whole hog.

But I’ve also been trying to really focus on the small pleasures that make me happy. 

Being mindful of the moments of joy that add up to a bigger feeling of well being.

Hot coffee. Clean sheets. Kisses goodbye. Matilda’s dramatic monologues. Chocolate. Arthur’s bedtime snuggles. Notes on the mirror. Good friends. Clear night skies. Messages from family. Nicely wrapped gifts. Our first dance song. My mum’s hugs. Watching my children play together. Books that make me cry. Park strolls. New drawings.

The little everyday antidotes to the hard times. The ones that make your heart fuller.

The big things.

What would be on your list?