Monday, May 1, 2017

Maternity Monday: 3 Ways to Maintain Balance Before & After Baby

I have been very lucky during my pregnancy. I haven't really experienced any of the typical, awful  symptoms (knock on wood!) that many women go through, making an already hard 9 months, even harder to manage. A few of my cousins are due with their babies within a few weeks of me and have both been continuously nauseous, sometimes all day long, so I will have to thank my tiny handsome guy upon his arrival for sparing me ;) However, I have not been NOT lucky enough to escape endless bouts of the flu/sinus infections, nor have I gotten this far without significant moments of feeling overwhelmed (holy mood swings -- sorry Family!) and out of balance. I know that's pretty common among expecting Mom's, so I wanted to share a few of the things that are not only helping me feel more balanced now but those which I plan on utilizing after the baby arrives.


I was shopping at the mall recently (shopping in person? I know, weird) and I saw a sign for a "Stroller Strides" class, aka a stroller-based fitness program designed for Mom's to get a full-body workout with their babies in tow. I know it sounds cheesy but in reality, the idea is kind of genius. Before getting pregnant, my work outs were such a staple of my routine (running and yoga, specifically) and helping me stay grounded so it's really important to me to find a way to fit it in after the baby comes. A fellow blogger recently said that it's been helpful to her as a new Mom to prioritize 1 thing you did before babies which I thought was smart and reasonable. I can think of nothing else (other than traveling with my husband) other than regular work outs that would help keep me sane ;)

The stroller class is hosted by FIT4MOM, an organization that provides classes and support during every stage of Motherhood and gives women an opportunity to have a workout and support that is flexible around the schedule (or non-schedule) of having children. I love the idea that their workouts are specially designed around new Mom's because not only is that what the body needs to transition back into your normal exercise routine but you're working out alongside other women who are going through the same things you are so it's a great way to meet some new people in your area. Read about all of their programs here.


I started to introduce some essential oils into my routine about a year ago. When my girlfriend was hosting yoga for us in my backyard, she would always bring a few different scents to diffuse during our class and I noticed what a big impact it had on my stress levels. My intrigue only increased when I started going to Yoga by Degrees on a regular basis where they end class with a cold lavender-peppermint scented towel. I kid you not, it's the best part of the hour session and every time I would think, I should just make these at home...totally possible now that I have a significant collection of my own.

I have also found oils to be a great complement to being pregnant (as long as you're using them correctly & safely!). Some essential oil benefits include improving immunity, speeding illness recovery, balancing hormones and natural air cleansing. I was looking to combat all of these so I spoke to a friend who works for Doterra about which scents she would recommend and she was very helpful because TBH, I didn't know where to start. I have been using the balance and lavender scents in my diffuser regularly and sometimes, I can almost notice an immediate shift in my mood. If you're not sure which ones do what, here are some of her tips:
  • For sinuses, I would recommend Breathe.  It's a great way to open your airway and clear some of the pressure. Many people also help it to keep airways clear during allergy season.
  • I started using oils for stress and anxiety so I am a firm believer in the Balance scent and it is  amazing in the diffuser (even guys like it!).  Other options for stress are Frankincense and Peace.  Frank and Peace come in 10 ml roller bottles which are diluted with coconut oil and come with a roller bottle top. Easy application!
  • For relaxation, there is nothing better than Serenity blend.  It has lavender, cedarwood, ho wood, vetiver, roman chamomile and a few other oils. 
  • Anything citrus is good to lift your mood, including Elevation (Joyful blend), Citrus Bliss or Cheer.  I am in love with Cheer.  Layering Cheer and Peace is like heaven!
  • I would mention DigestZen for anyone. It is a great blend with strong scents of Anise, but just a few drops applied topically to the stomach area is perfect for indigestion, nausea or gas. It really helps with that discomfort!  


In general, I have always found if you write down one thing down every day, it can be a cathartic and a healthy healing process. For me, it's always been nice to look back on my journal, even just a few months later to read how I was feeling, because you won't always remember the little things. 

I think this idea is especially important during pregnancy...not only will documenting the experience allow you to capture fleeting observations during the 9 months, but preparing for motherhood is such an emotional roller coaster so expressing your feelings can ease stress, and in turn boost your physical resilience. My husband and I have been keeping notes of some of the significant moments in this journal about our relationship pre-baby, vital moments during pregnancy and we're ready to fill the blank pages for when he arrives. I will be proud to pass it on to him when he's older and for now, it's a beneficial process for us. 

Expecting/Current Mom's...
What are your tips for maintaining balance through all of the chaos?