We’re all about to be hit by an onslaught of January self-improvement articles, headlines, tips and motivational strategies. Never mind that you are completely fried emotionally and physically from holiday travel, family dynamics and far too much roasted meat, now is the time to get off your lazy pregnant behind and into a prenatal downward dog.
Americans are suckers for a good come-back. And January is every lay citizen’s chance to make that redemptive turn. Quit the carbs, the ice-cream, the nail-biting, idle screen time, midnight peanut butter binges, obsessive online shopping; quit feeling bad about yourself, quit procrastinating, quit not being able to quit.
But quitting is an awful way to quit things. It’s been fairly well established that the diet mentality tends to backfire. The fact is, it’s usually a better idea to add things than take them away. So, in lieu of a New Year’s pregnancy cleanse and purge, I’d like to offer you MORE.
Twelve Good Things To Do To Your Pregnant Self in 2011:
1. Lather yourself with organic oils and body lotions with bogus claims about reducing stretch marks. Studies have shown that women who regularly use all-over body lotion are actually more comfortable in their own skin. Actually, that’s a lie. There are no studies. But the point is we can get so detached from our bodies in the winter and when we’re all preggo’d out, this can be a good way to get back into it.
2. Eat more chocolate. There are actual health benefits to eating real chocolate; a reduced chance of pregnancy complications and reduced depression among them.
3. OK fine, take a prenatal yoga class. But think of it as a treat, not a chore! And don’t worry if you’re a beginner. Yoga teachers don’t care. No one cares. This work-out comes with a built-in acceptance component. Embrace it.
4. Watch more late night TV. Seriously. You’ll be going to bed early soon enough. Laughter is good for the fetus.
5. Dress exclusively in stretch Lycra: your body is awesome and deserves all that hi-tech cotton fabrics have to offer.
6. Ignore everyone and don’t go out. Pregnancy can be a time when you just pretty much want to nap and daydream. Do it.
7. Get a prenatal massage. I know they are a bit pricey, but one good massage when you’re so huge you can’t touch your own toes? There may be nothing better.
8. Go buy some good books and get rid of any pregnancy or baby guides that are making you stressed. Get a novel or a momoir. Reading about real women’s experiences can help expand your idea about the many ways pregnancy and new parenthood play out, rather than making you feel like there is one perfect (unattainable) template for this phase of life.
9. Have more sex. What’s good for you is good for the fetus.
10. Have less sex . Pregnancy can lower a woman’s sex drive. It’s normal. It’ll come back. Don’t torture yourself.
11. Lie around on the couch with your friends doing nothing. Like the way you did when you were a teenager. Reduced stress is part of a healthy pregnancy. And a sense of community (a.k.a. the decaf coffee klatch) is good for your psychological well-being.
12. Sleep during the day. Not always possible I know. But when you can, please, for goodness sake, do.
photo: Bettina N/Flickr