I thought that it was about time to write about my second trimester. Baby Roro is due on 7th April, so I am into the home straight now! HURRAH! So, here goes….
I was waiting eagerly with baited breath to start feeling amazing once the first trimester was out of the way, everyone kept saying “oh the first is the worst, you will feel better soon!”. Unfortunately, I didn’t, and actually much of Trimester two was about moving through negative thought patterns. Something I really struggled to cope with.
Having negative thoughts about oneself is, sadly, a common experience for many people. Having these thoughts consistently though is dangerous territory to get into because it can easily spiral out of control. The mind is a very easily influenced organ, and that has been proven over the last few decades by scientific research into meditation:
“In the last several decades, the scientific study of meditation has provided increasingly concrete proof of the inseparability of body and mind. It has also demonstrated ways we can literally change ourselves and our world through practice. Meditation practice is associated with changes of specific brain areas that are essential for attention, learning, and the regulation of emotion. Maybe this shouldn’t be such a surprise. When you exercise your muscles in the gym, they become larger as well as stronger….”
And so, just as regular meditation practice can change the way we react to situations and think in a really positive way (in as little as eight weeks according to research), so can regular negative thought. At about 18 weeks pregnant or so, in particular, I was having recurring negative thoughts about myself. Most days as I got up and looked in the mirror I would say to Ross “I look disgusting”, or something similar, and I felt really sad that I was thinking that about myself. It was scary for me, because I have put a great deal of work into developing my mental resiliency over the years and I was scared that I was losing that strength, and that love I had developed for myself. At the same time, it was important for me to acknowledge those feelings, I didn’t want to just push them aside, I wanted to give them a voice. Being truly mindful and present requires this of us. If I am having a bad day, then I want to let myself know that that’s ok, and then, most importantly, move on. Feeling is feeling, whether positive or negative, every emotion I experience means something to me because it is part of my journey through life:
“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.” Thich Nhat Hanh
That period of a week or two was really horrible for me, I was upset a lot and struggling with the changes that were happening to me. But, I carried on, because I knew that it wouldn’t last and that soon I would be strong enough to feel better. And after a week or so I was! I think those severely negative moments had coincided with the start of a run of sleepless nights, being woken by the baby doing some yoga at 3am and then not being able to get back to sleep. As well as restless leg syndrome, which apparently affects 20% of pregnant women, and some INSANE itchy skin… !!! I was really exhausted, I looked really exhausted, and I had loads of work on. I definitely feel like I maybe had to go through that particularly bad few weeks to realise that I am able to turn myself around, still, by relying on my meditation and yoga. Now, I still have bad days and I still think sometimes “wow, look at my giant face!”, but I say these things with a smile because I don’t actually care, or feel badly about it. It is actually amazing seeing my body expand and relax, every day little bits of me become softer, and I finally have some BOOBIES 🙂
So, on that note, onto some much happier things! First…..THE BADGE!
When I got pregnant one of the only things I was genuinely happy about on a day to day basis was my “Baby On Board Badge” – which meant that I would hopefully be offered a seat on the smelly tube, by a kind London soul. In my first trimester I REALLY needed it because I felt ABSOLUTELY SHIT and like the life had been sucked out of me from about my 8th week onwards. And people were so happy to jump up and offer me their seat, I was amazed! And sometimes, I will admit, I didn’t even NEED the seat, but I still took it 😉
And then, as the winter drew in and people were cold, and tired (I can vouch for the fact you don’t need to be pregnant to be tired on the tube), I noticed that people didn’t really offer me their seats. Even though quite a few times I really needed one, being me, I was too embarrassed or scared to ask. I didn’t want to be the reason someone had to stand up on their tube journey.
Then one cold Monday morning, after I had been working all weekend and hadn’t slept really at all, I had a bit of a moment! I was in positive spirits, even though I was exhausted. I got on the tube and I thought “I really want to sit down”, but being me of COURSE I didn’t dare ask anyone! And of COURSE no one looked up and saw me. It’ s sad trait of many Londoners on the tube – in their own world (iPhone!), heads down, shoulders hunched, eyes bleary…no one wants to look up and see a pregnant woman looking at their seat longingly. So I waited and I thought “soon someone will look and see me and offer me their seat”. Whether anyone did see me, I don’t know. But no one offered me their seat. And so then I started to feel really shit. I was really tired, my back was aching, and I started to get upset thinking of how sad it is that either (a) no one had looked up from their FUCKING IPHONES once to see me, on a 35 minute tube journey, the tiny screen was all-consuming and sucking them into their tiny little world, no WAY would anyone bother looking up to see if anyone worse off than them might need to sit down, or, (b) people did see me and didn’t care. The more I stood there and thought about this the more upset I got and then I started to cry. A few tears at first that I was able to wipe away quickly before anyone saw, and then it got worse!! And I could not stop it!!!!! And at that point someone saw me and asked if I needed to sit down, luckily I was getting off at the next stop and when I did I properly had a massive cry on the platform and a really lovely man came and spoke to me and was so kind that obviously made me cry even more! hah! Honestly, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME! I then carried on crying as I walked out of the tube and up towards Westminster like a complete NUTTER!! Luckily my BFF was there to answer my phone call and tell me it was all ok (thank you Pie Pie!!)
Moral of that story is, I have learnt the hard way, I just need to grow a pair of balls and ask someone for a seat when I need it. Or invent a badge with Sound 🙂
So, what else has been Happy?! Well. The baby loves the same things as mummy…
I HAVE GREAT NEWS!! Practising Bikram Yoga pregnant is a BEAUTIFUL experience. When I am on my mat, in the hot room I feel strong, powerful, confident and beautiful. Being pregnant has even improved my standing bow! My teacher Sindy said the other day (after one set of the posture),
“So it appears the funnest way to improve your standing bow is to get pregnant!”.
Because I don’t want to kill myself in class I am focusing with renewed joy on the alignment of every posture, my breath is paramount, even more so now. I go in and out of every posture with my breath in a slow, controlled manner, using my strength. It’s not really about improving on any postures now, it is just about maintenance, keeping me strong, and especially so about my mind. I need my practice so, so much. The postures I am enjoying the most are definitely Standing Bow, where I am stretching forward so much, I am able to almost always keep the shoulder to chin connection; Balancing Stick, because I feel the baby really relax into my hanging belly; Triangle, because it feels GLORIOUS for my hips, and Camel, for the beautiful release it gives me. We miss a few postures in the Pregnancy Series, including Standing Head to Knee (which was my absolute FAVE)– so during this posture I try to keep my focus forwards on myself, but almost always end up sneakily shifting my eyes left or right to whoever is next to me (usually Fed, Briar, Andy or my sister) sending them all my energy and smiling so much when they inevitably finish the posture, touching their forehead to their knee, I can’t help but grin from ear to ear and tell then in a hushed tone that they just killed it!! It has actually given me a brand new appreciation of the incredible strength, determination and focus that this posture requires….witnessing it in motion is incredible. I 100% recommend pregnant ladies to either continue with their yoga practice during pregnancy, or find a gentle introduction to it.
Teaching spinning and yoga pregnant is also a really special experience; I know that most people love that there is a baby in the room too. One fellow yogini said to me the other day that she had missed the baby’s energy in class recently, and I thought, what a LOVELY thing to say! And with spinning it is a brilliant way to get my class to go FASTER! No way you can get beat by a pregnant woman haha! But also it enables me to stay fit and strong, which will come into play massively during the birth and thereafter. I am so so grateful to my body for allowing me to carry on with the things I love. I know that, if I am feeling bad, I can always rely on those endorphins to pick me up…And the baby loves it too! I think I will give birth and the baby will immediately go into Half Moon 😉
I still find it so strange that I started building Imperfectly Pure at the same time as Baby Roro….and I think for a lot of women, nurturing projects that we hold dear is a natural desire. I want to see my little venture grow and blossom. But at the same time, I need to try and store up the energy surges I get. And being me, and a Capricorn, I find this out the hard way! After a few weeks of sickness again and feeling really tired I have finally relented and cut down on Imperfectly Pure and Face Föda. And making that decision has been such a relief. I don’t want to rush through my final trimester, I want to be able to rest and spend time with my friends and family. Now, when I do feel full of beans I will be saving those beans in the baby jar 🙂 I have also cut down on teaching, and after my nutrition exams I will have much less on my plate. I am finding that I just want to be at home with Ross, as I do feel quite vulnerable a lot of the time, and also because I know that soon the time for just us will be much harder to find.
And what about my #bellygains?!? Well, it’s definitely getting bigger! which I LOVE! The baby moves all the time, and I had the loveliest thought the other day that I currently have two hearts inside me, one that is mine, and one that is my babies; they are both in there together, beating together, one being nourished by the other. That really struck me as something quite special, I just can’t get over the fact that the baby is in there, and growing, and getting stronger day by day. It is the most amazing feeling to feel the baby shuffling around in there, and even see it! During one class a few weeks ago my friend Andy was teaching and ran over during savasana as the baby had been dancing! It is just incredibly mind-blowing!!!
So, finally, I will end with just a few of the things I am relying on daily to keep me feeling good:
- Prunes & psyllium husk to keep things moving
- Loads of greens – in my smoothie, with most meals, and shots of Clean Greens in the afternoon
- Homemade soups – another way of getting lots of veggies in
- at least 2 litres of water per day
- A homemade Turmeric Face Mask for my INSANE FACE – this is the only thing that calms my poor red face. 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp turmeric powder & milk to bind. I keep it in the fridge so it’s really cold and leave on my skin for 10-15 mins most days. The turmeric works to reduce inflammation and redness, and promotes skin healing, whilst honey is a great skin rejuvenator, helps to draw moisture into the skin .
- A thermometer, so I can measure the temperature of my bath water! I make sure my bath water is no warmer than 35 degrees for the perfect bath for my baby
- Aromatherapy..I have LOADS of essential oils that I use in my Face Föda, and love trying different ones in my oil burner. There has not been loads of research into how Aromatherapy affects your mood, but there has been some, and it is positive. I certainly feel the effects
- Coconut Oil! Luckily I have not got any stretch marks yet….I am applying coconut oil all over myself daily to keep my skin supple and moisturised
- Meditation – at least twice a day
- Cuddles with Ross, Kenny & Gloria – Gloria in particular has been so cute, wanting to sit on the bump, or lay near it, or getting into bed with me! I think maybe she thinks it is her baby too
- Hypnobirthing relaxation tracks to listen to every night
- Two amazing books: “Orgasmic Birth” and “Yoni Shakti”, two amazing reads about the power of birth that are reaffirming to me that I am strong and my body is made for this 🙂 I know that when the time comes for me to give birth to our baby, I will be able to do it.
So that’s it! Trimester Two is over and in 11 weeks my due date is here. I am proud of myself so far, so now is the time to rest and relax, and I cannot WAIT to meet Baby Roro.
Lots of love