Why do We take ‘Better’ Care of Ourselves as Women, when We are Pregnant?

by Nicole Ricketts, Childcare Worker, Goonellabah, Australia

There are many ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for a woman when she is pregnant, as we all know. For example, most doctors will recommend that you stop drinking alcohol (or at least cut back significantly) and stop smoking while pregnant. More and more women are now doing this, as we understand more about the effects these things have on ourselves and on the baby.

But then, what happens after the baby is born or perhaps after we stop breastfeeding?

Commonly, we as women tend to start back up again with these things/habits we know are not good for either a developing baby or ourselves. It’s like after the baby’s body is separate from us, then we think that anything we ingest in our bodies won’t affect them.

But what if it still does? It’s like, ‘while I have another little person in MY body I had better look after MY body because I have a huge impact on the making of this little person, but once this little person is out I can go back to treating MY body however I want.’ Surely how we are with ourselves affects those around us all of the time.

And then, what about that ‘little person’ that’s inside our bodies ALL of the time? Us. Me. I live inside my body ALL the time.

Do I not need just as much care and nurturing as if I was carrying a baby? We must ask ourselves, what is going on for us as women that we feel we can’t or won’t give ourselves the same self-care and love unless we are pregnant?

I have been pondering on this question, as it was not something I had even looked at for myself when I was pregnant with my son. 

I had an ‘easy’ first trimester when I was pregnant with no nausea or sickness, and combined with the fact that my pregnancy was unexpected, I rushed around trying to organise and prepare for everything. I even took on extra work because I knew I would have to slow down towards the end of the pregnancy. I went back into a job that I didn’t really like just to earn extra money, so that caused some added stress.

On top of that, I spent hours painting the inside walls of our house and doing every pregnancy yoga and Pilates DVD I could find to ‘prepare’ my body for the physical changes I was about to go through, but really it actually hurt. I would come away after the DVD usually feeling more tired and tight in my body than before I started. It was just another box that I thought I had to tick while pregnant. In short, I completely overrode what my body was asking of me.

Looking back, what I did was what I thought women were supposed to do for themselves because of the pregnancy and the baby they are carrying. In actual fact, in my eyes I thought I was being so much more caring with myself, but with the awareness of my body that I now have I wouldn’t have done a few things that I did, i.e. the yoga DVDs.

Recently I was asked the question ‘What would I do differently in my 1st trimester if I were to become pregnant again?’ well, it got me pondering and what I came up with was a big realisation. It started with… I would definitely be listening to my body more:

  • If I had nausea or felt unwell, I would take time off work (which I do now).
  • I would sleep and /or rest when I felt to (some days I even do this now).
  • I would take the time to cook myself yummy nutritious food for my body (which I am doing now).
  • I would be making decisions for me, by me, considering and feeling into my choices deeply rather than blindly following what ‘a book’, my mother, my midwife, society etc. would tell me. If something didn’t feel right to me, I would listen to my body and pay attention (which, yes, most of the time I am doing now).

So, I started to feel that what if all women lived their lives as if they were pregnant ALL of the time? Why wait to be pregnant to feel how precious and nurturing we can actually be with our bodies, when we listen to what we truly feel?

Since becoming involved with Universal Medicine and attending presentations by Serge Benhayon I have discovered that I am extremely precious, and the natural way I treat myself now is very gentle and loving. The biggest thing that has changed for me is that I give myself permission to follow through on what my body feels or asks of me first, without worrying about what other people are doing and whether I’m doing things in the same way as they are.

In the past, I wouldn’t want to ‘stand out’ or ‘get it wrong’. I have realised I spent A LOT of time working out how I was going to be, say or look based on how I thought others would see me and possibly react to me. Wow, no wonder I was tired all the time, it is exhausting trying to read people’s minds all day!

In the way I am now living, the little baby that has been inside of me all along – ‘me’ – is no longer being ignored. I make sure she is looked after and nurtured all day long, and in return, I feel more vital, joyful and alive during my day. Now, I actually have so much more energy! We make an awesome team!

If I do become pregnant again one day I know I would even take the love and self-care to the next level, because I now realise what an important role it is to bring another human being into this life.

But first and foremost I know I must never forget how special and important I am.

I now know so much about what it means to truly love the woman I am and care for my body, and all that this ‘love of me’ offers a child. I see the difference it makes now to my son who is aged 3 (something I will share in more detail in another blog).

I am inspired by feeling just how amazing it would be to love myself and a baby within equally.

246 thoughts on “Why do We take ‘Better’ Care of Ourselves as Women, when We are Pregnant?

  1. Those little moments of looking after ourselves are so important – resting or stopping when we are tired, putting on the sweater when we are cold, going to the bathroom when we need to…this is all part of self care and can be refined in its detail more and more…When we heed these little things, we then feel like we are really looked after, and this gives us more energy – it actually feeds us back. A win win situation!

  2. As women we can generally find that it is so easy to nurture and care for others, but then we fall short of looking after ourselves to the same degree. This very common but non-sensical thing to do is one that I too can relate to and can put up my hand to say I have done it and sometimes still find myself doing this in various ways. To me this exposes that we do not value ourselves and appreciate ourselves enough, for if we did then we would not neglect ourselves in any way whatsoever.

  3. Nicole this is a great article! I love how you have exposed how we as women will look after ourselves when we are pregnant but then tend to forget about this once we have given birth – it is like the whole focus is just on the baby when in fact we are equally as important.

  4. Pregnancy brings an awareness that how you care for and nurture yourself affects another and this is true for all of us whether we are pregnant or not.

  5. Appreciating the sacredness and preciousness of ourselves as a woman calls for us to nurture ourselves as our own inner developing being.

  6. ‘Why wait to be pregnant to feel how precious and nurturing we can actually be with our bodies, when we listen to what we truly feel?’ It is interesting that being pregnant the messages from our body tend to be more insistent and thus we seem more willing to listen and respond but what if we were to pay greater attention to what our bodies are communicating all of the time? For me I know that the more willing I become to pay greater attention the deeper the quality of care that I lovingly support myself and my body with which impacts not just my quality of life but also those around me as I no longer feel constantly stressed, anxious and exhausted.

  7. “So, I started to feel that what if all women lived their lives as if they were pregnant ALL of the time?” – what a great question and standpoint Nicole, yes the child carried inside a woman is precious as is the woman too in her ability to birth life or humanity. The sacredness of every woman’s inner being is what we carry as women and is this preciousness, and this being or quality is worth caring for and deeply honouring, pregnant or otherwise. I know that when i connect to my sacredness i feel it as if i were carrying a child and treasure my body knowing what it holds within it.

  8. I found I connected with and cared for my body better than ever before when I was pregnant. But then all that care went towards the baby and showed me that I only cared because I knew it affected someone else.

    1. Me too but what I am recognising more and more is that how we care for ourselves, or not, actually affects everyone around us as others often have to pick up the pieces if we are not caring for ourselves e.g. at work if we are not able to perform our work to the best of our ability because of being unwell either physically, mentally or emotionally.

  9. This blog really makes me ponder on how much I do love myself as I do want to love my future child if that is what we feel to have. It is also a little too simplistic of us to think that we can change a way of living completely whilst we are pregnant and won’t have any remnants of our past way of living and also thinking that what we ingest and drink is the only things that can affect our child. How we are does also affect our child after it is born, when we are in self-loathing or don’t like ourselves, push ourselves or are in drive to get something done I can imagine this is observed by the child too and experienced as not confirming the beauty that they are. So there is so much more to this in every way and thanks for writing this.

  10. Interesting to look at what stops us from taking care of ourselves.. the thoughts that say ‘I don’t have time for this’, the dismissing, the overriding.. all the ways that we’ve got used to treating ourselves and that we know are harming. Eventually it feels like we get sick and tired of always feeling tired and not cared for, and feel the messages from our body more strongly. When we’re more open with ourselves, and take better care of our bodies, we start to feel a greater sense of purpose because we’re better equipped to handle whatever comes our way, and connected to a sense of feeling what is needed in any moment.

  11. Our bodies have so much wisdom to share if we are open to listening and honouring this, ‘I have discovered that I am extremely precious, and the natural way I treat myself now is very gentle and loving. The biggest thing that has changed for me is that I give myself permission to follow through on what my body feels or asks of me first’.

  12. Listening to the wisdom of our body and heeding its guidance is the only support we require to know how to truly take care of ourselves and from this solid foundation, we can then offer true care to another.

  13. “Why do We take ‘Better’ Care of Ourselves as Women, when We are Pregnant?” – that’s such a great question to ask apart from the obvious, but also for the insight it generates into the level of worth we are holding for ourselves as a woman too. And even if like me, you are not pregnant or have never been pregnant, i find it remains a very valid and relatable point for all women to consider.

  14. This is so true, we really do feel more justified to take better care of ourselves when we are pregnant. No-one argues if you choose not to drink alcohol, go to bed early, stay in, put your feet up, have a nap in the day, go to the loo when you need it – I mean how absurd is it that we don’t honour any of those impulses as our normal!

  15. This is something we often miss as women, we’ll take care when another directly affected but can easily not do so when it’s ‘just’ us, but us is important for us allows the quality of who we are to be felt in the world no matter who we are, what our role or where we live. We all matter all the time.

  16. This would be a great exercise for us to practice, ‘what if all women lived their lives as if they were pregnant ALL of the time? Why wait to be pregnant to feel how precious and nurturing we can actually be with our bodies, when we listen to what we truly feel?’

  17. I’m in my first trimester of pregnancy and have been very unwell. This has meant that I’ve listened to my body more than ever before and it has been an incredible blessing that has changed me forever.

  18. Not only are we hurting ourselves when we are uncaring of ourselves after pregnancy, but also our children because they can feel it, just like everyone else can. And we need to start to see how it can hurt our children just as much when we don’t love ourselves and are hard on ourselves all the time.

  19. How we are with ourselves does affect those around us all the time, so we have a responsibility in how we live and the choices we make, ‘It’s like, ‘while I have another little person in MY body I had better look after MY body because I have a huge impact on the making of this little person, but once this little person is out I can go back to treating MY body however I want.’

  20. Listening to how we are feeling in our body and honouring that through deepening our level of tenderness and self-care is one of the most nurturing things we can do for ourselves that supports us to value our true worth and the preciousness we are.

  21. I love this article. It’s so true! I have always looked after myself but nothing like the way I have since being pregnant! I’m now sleeping more, resting and putting my feet up as much as I can. Before I would go for runs to de stress, now, it’s a gentle walk and a cup of tea.

    1. Yes I have to say I too have found this article quite a reminder of how much better I looked after myself when I was pregnant and how I can reignite that tenderness now – with not a pregnancy in sight!

  22. I love this because it makes us question what it would be like if we considered ourselves the most precious thing ever – how then would we look after ourselves? And would it be different?

  23. “In the way I am now living, the little baby that has been inside of me all along – ‘me’ – is no longer being ignored.” I love that idea, it is never too late – the little baby is still in there and we can nurture ourselves for no reason whatsoever – simply that we are worth it.

  24. Pregnant women can look and feel amazing. Their sacredness really seems to kick in and this isn’t only for themselves, but obviously for their growing baby, but also their family and wider community.

  25. I remember with my first pregnancy I had morning sickness and consumed ginger biscuits to try to allay it whilst painting the house we were about to move into. Not much loving care there then!

  26. There is no doubt that I feel so much better when I am looking after myself. Taking a rest when my body feels tired, making nutritious meals and going to bed when I feel to are just some of the loving movements I have brought into my day which are supporting me no end but probably the most significant change is the letting go of others and what they think an ongoing process but definitely a change that my body is enjoying and benefitting especially the vitality I feel in my body.

  27. It’s almost like women have to convince themselves they are worthy of their own love and care. I am still working through breaking down the reasons for this myself and what I keep coming back to are ideals and pictures, believing there is a way I am supposed to be and because I don’t meet this ideal or picture then my value is less. I know it is possible though to love and care for ourselves without any conditions as that is the true nature of love, it is unconditional.

  28. I was having a conversation with a friend one thing we discussed was how we can treat our friends with more care and love than we do ourselves and how this is something that is not ok. Bring it back to love and care for ourselves means we can truly have this for another.

    1. That is very true Natalie, it’s not just children we hold as being more precious and valuable than ourselves, it’s friends, colleagues, family members, and even our pets. It can also be our car or home with the level of care we give our material possessions being higher than the care we give to our own body.

  29. In my experience of pregnancy, there was no other option than to be in complete obedience to my body because anything else just felt too hideous. Many years later and I can see myself moving and acting in ways that I never would have accepted during pregnancy and if I ask myself why there would need to be a deeper exploration of the ideals and beliefs that I am running with which justify an overriding of my body – to make it do what I want rather than listening to and being obedient to what it wholly and absolutely expresses as the truth.

    1. Our body is incredible, wonderful and amazing. How and why we override its conversations I don’t know but a dedication to being willing to listen and learn is an excellent first step to turning that around.

  30. “But first and foremost I know I must never forget how special and important I am.” I love this blog as it reminds us of that we are so worthy of tenderness, love and deep care.

  31. It is interesting how often the situation of having to look after another person brings to the fore our lack of impulse to more deeply love and care for ourselves and that we need another to start to implement this. Developing our awareness and listening to our body enables us to feel how precious and delicate we are within and that when we bring our attention to the detail in our self-care the more nurtured we feel and the more we value our true worth.

  32. Love the highlighted difference between ‘my’ and ‘all’ – this really brings to light the fact that we keep our bodies insular – we don’t consider the knock-on effect of our actions within our body and the huge reflection our bodies carry. Certainly when we have a baby – we seem to be more conscious of our actions, but surely we have this opportunity to consider our bodies are not just for us all of the time.

    1. It’s a good point HM that we justify our own self neglect because ‘it’s just us’ which comes with an attitude that ‘we don’t matter’ when actually everything we do has a huge effect on everyone and everything around us. Looking at it this way self neglect is a form of selfishness!

  33. How awesome it is to be able to explore, nurture and learn more about who we are via our bodies wisdom but also how this greatly inspires everything else in our lives to especially our relationships. Feeling our bodies and moving in a way that lovingly cares and supports who we are is a game changer for life.

  34. I was recently hugely inspired by a woman who was very pregnant, ready to go into labour, but who did not ‘feel’ pregnant. What do I mean by that? Her belly was very full, you could see that her pregnancy term was almost complete.
    But she did not walk or move like a pregnant woman.
    Instead, she moved and walked as the woman that she is.
    That made all the difference. It was a difference that was profound and inspiring.
    I realised that every other time I have seen a pregnant woman walking and moving as the pregnant woman first, the mother to be, enhousing a child – and then as herself. The woman she is, is left behind while she takes on the incubating role.
    But what I have now witnessed is the way it ought to be – the woman first who then is pregnant and hence nurtures herself, her unborn baby and everyone else from the woman that she is.

    1. How quickly we jump into roles and leave ourselves behind, whether it is mothering, work, being a partner, or friend. How very inspiring to meet this lady who honours herself first as a woman! The consciousness that somehow someone will miss out on what we have to give unless we sacrifice ourselves is very untrue, as is the consciousness that it is selfish to consider and care for ourselves. The world does not fall apart when we love ourselves. As this woman shows, her deep honouring of herself as a woman first and the love she holds herself in brings a fullness of who she is and inspiration to all those around her. Living in love (including self love) is alway a true win-win situation for everyone.

  35. We do the same when we’re really ill: suddenly we feel the fragility of a body we so often take for granted, and feel compelled to deeply rest, nurture and nourish it. I know that deeply taking care of myself makes me feel amazing: more solid, more consistent, more surrendered and at ease with the world and whatever’s going on. But often I’ll find ways to sabotage it, by doing what ‘I’ want to do, often putting pictures and expectations about how I want things to go or be, above how I actually feel.

    1. Thank you Bryony, I have seen this in myself that being unwell gives me the permission to take care of myself and let go of giving my power to the ideals of being there for others and placing what I need to get done ahead of myself. Even though I am much more honouring and self caring of myself now I can see from your comment that I still am unable to truly allow myself to attend to my own needs with love and care because I am still placing everything and everyone else before myself,

  36. It is also great to consider that just like baby our bodies are very tender and precious, our bodies are built from millions of small cell that are very delicate so we do need to handle our bodies with the utmost love and care. I always notice the difference in how I feel after moving roughly and moving tenderly, the first makes me feel sore and tensed and moving tenderly leaves a warm feeling in my whole body.

    1. You have given such as simple and practical example Lieke and this is exactly what we need to do…living in a self caring way and being gentle with oneself must be made real and practical and simple 😉

  37. Great points here, a stop moment sort of question to ask ourselves, why is it we can take better care fo ourselves when we are pregnant than when we are not, like it doesn’t matter the rest of time….it is something that I did as well….what has been fab is starting to care for myself when I was pregnant allowed me to feel the benefit and change in doing so and I have not looked back. True care and support for myself, because I deserve it and so does everyone else around me.

  38. Very exposing to feel the willingness to take better care of another (when they happen to be inside us) and the lack of true regard for ourselves as women. It is only now 30 years after being pregnant that I am committing to deeper levels of self-care and can feel my body saying thank you.

  39. Because it is easier, the feedback is more immediate and any taking care works better than before and after? (In response to the heading of the blog)

  40. When we are pregnant we become aware of our responsibility to care for ourselves as this will also care for the child we are carrying and the presentations of Universal Medicine have made me aware of the simple and obvious truth that in caring for myself in my every day and every way is to equally care for all those around me.

  41. Great point Nicole, women are so good at nurturing when there is another being to nurture. I feel that when we claim that nurturing for ourselves we get to feel the beauty that a women offers another.

  42. We may take better care then because our body supports us more when we are pregnant, making it easier at that time as there is somebody else to protect as well.

  43. It is interesting how we often seek answers outside ourselves and try so many things that are considered supportive for women during pregnancy and forget to feel within us if it is really supportive or feel whether everything we are trying to fit into our day is truly nurturing for us.

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