Three times in the last few days I have cried over terrible events in the world. 2 savage attacks, and a horrifying accident. I’m not going to mention the details, in case you’ve been able to avoid them. I’ve cried for the people involved, the horrors they have endured, and inevitably imagined myself in their shoes, fearing for the future my children will grow up in.
Those of you who know me know that I’m not really into the smushy side of things. But I do truly believe that motherhood opens our hearts to the world. That bringing new life makes us deeply invested in what’s evolving around us, and that our mothering urges extend beyond our littles. We are emotionally raw, softened by the hormones that prompt nurturing behaviours. Our empathy and compassion are high, as it makes sense for us to cultivate a peaceful society for our children to grow up in. I believe this begins in pregnancy, after all, we are already mothering our babies, perhaps more intensely than ever.
But. Whilst it’s only natural for us to feel a connection to those caught up in tragedy, it’s hurting us. We are resilient, of course. Motherhood seems to bring us strength we never imagined we had. My amazing mama gang often describe this sentiment when they talk about their labours. Women are undeniably strong.
And, of course, we can use this strength to make some of our society at least a bit better. Maintaining this sisterhood with mothers and others across the world reminds us to be kind, to teach our children kindness and and gratitude, and to raise our voices about the issues that matter to us, to in some way advocate for the vulnerable amongst us.
But ultimately, there are times when we must seek to protect outselves from this constant stream of bad news. And pregnancy is such a time.
Not to be unrealistic about the state of the world, or to turn a blind eye. Not to deny the existence of horror around us, but to know that our emotional wellbeing is important, and to be cherished. Knowing that this precious moment in time demands a sense of calmness and peace.
There is evidence that chronic stress in pregnancy affects our babies’ physical development and regulatory systems, with potential lifelong consequences. Of course, we don’t really need research to tell us that carrying our usual adrenaline fuelled state of being into pregnancy feels uncomfortable. Many of us flock to pregnancy yoga and relaxation groups during this time, seeking that calm, serene positivity, an escape from the difficult realities of this life that makes us feel better.
Our instincts tell us that our feminine energies are taking over. After all, most of us live in a man’s world, and challenge ourselves to channel more masculine traits as this is often required in order to succeed. But there is nothing to prove in pregnancy. You are already achieving the greatest possible feat. You are growing life. And respecting the biological urge to find a sanctuary of safety and love takes discipline and strength in a world like this. Good job that, as I mentioned, women are strong.
So I urge you, pregnant mamas, turn off the news, uninstall the Daily Mail app, and turn your attention to the good in the world. Because it is all around us. Be good to yourself. Soak up the love of your partner, your family and friends, and send that oxytocin hit to your baby. Move in to a bubble where all is well. You and your baby have a lifetime available to to consider the plight of others. Allow yourselves this precious time to know only love, and your child can repay this to the world a thousand times over.
Wow. Turns out I DO love the smush.
Promise I’m done with that.