Alas, the day came I was pregnant. And on that day, on that exam table , I cried. Shockingly, my first thought was not about the coveted bag of prenatal vitamin samples, formula coupons, and stretch mark lotion. I just kept hearing in my head this voice, questioning: “How am I going to do this?” That voice would grow a bit into a louder request for validation that I was making all the right decisions, or being the best pregnant person I could be. And that is where the seed…the idea of pregnancy as something we might be able to do “perfectly” starts to grow if left unchallenged.
In American culture pregnancy magazines focus on being “fit” and “modern”. We list what to eat, what to wear, what to bare, and how to decorate. We formulize pregnancy down to week by week developmental emails and yet hear from others:” keep your stress to a minimum and enjoy this time!” Today, as a Licensed Professional Counselor, I meet women caught up in the illusion of the perfect pregnancy. And they cry because it does not feel perfect despite their best efforts. In our Western culture we SELL the idea of perfection. Specifically, that there is a way for you to be free of any fault or defect and that kind of ideology demands you pay more attention to their product then your own feeling or experience. Please before you load up your digital media device or tote bag with books, magazines and articles or visit Dr. Google and get lost in internet tales and traumatizing You Tube delivery videos…buy a diary. Yes! A real paper (don’t forget fun colorful pens!) bound book.
Why? You are the first to monitor what you feed the baby so watch what you feed your mind and heart during pregnancy by going on a media management plan. Your values (or starting to develop your own values) for this pregnancy are more important than any publication on the market. Record what values you want to hold and implement for this pregnancy. You may even write or sketch or doodle about what people say to you (the oral tales) and your reaction to them, or how difficult it is to not just immerse yourself in what culture begs us to participate in: magazines, television shows, and books that promise to make you a hip pregnant person. Really? No! Resist the urge to follow the culture’s shared pattern of behaviors for this time and dig deep and design your own process for honoring how your body is created to grow life and how you are afforded these months to prepare for sharing what you believe and how you live with this new precious person!