Pregnancy glow & postnatal depression
Pregnancy glow & postnatal depression
Conception, pregnancy and childbirth are magical events that happen everywhere around the world daily. Many women deeply enjoy being pregnant, even if they’ve had morning sickness, aches and pains from the physical changes or a really full-on labour.
In fact, when I was pregnant so many women looked at me in awe and said, “Oh, being pregnant was the best times in my life” or even “I’m so jealous, I loved being pregnant.” These types of comments would often surprise me, but deep down I understood what was truly going on.
Pregnancy Glow is a term used to describe a pregnant woman who is glowing, bright, vibrant and joyful during her pregnancy. I’ve also heard the term ‘pregnancy mask’, where husbands would say their wife was relaxed, sexy, vivacious, sassy, confident and fun during pregnancy but after the baby was born the ‘mask’ was lifted and she returned to her ‘plain’ self. When I was pregnant many women did say “Wow, you look amazing” and, “Pregnancy suits you, you’re glowing.”
In the last 10 years of studying the Ageless Wisdom Teachings I’ve heard Serge Benhayon share that pregnancy is a time when a woman is deeply connected to her sacredness and deep stillness within. At first I considered this as a blessing women were given during pregnancy, to be able to hold a body or a space that can truly support and nurture a precious and divine little baby to grow. However, I have come to realise that it’s not a gift or a blessing given to us, instead it is our natural state of being and pregnancy is a time where we are reminded of this: meaning that any women can connect to sacredness, stillness and the deep nurturing that we all hold within, and it’s not a requirement to become pregnant, have a baby or be a mother to connect to this. It’s also not something that is purely there for us to enjoy and feel comforted by, it’s also to be shared with everyone, for each person to feel that we all hold this and can connect to it and bring it into our lives.
As expected my pregnancy was a marvellous, exciting and a memorable experience, for my partner and I, and our family and friends. We celebrated and enjoyed every milestone and ultrasound where we saw this tiny little being move so joyfully and gracefully inside me. I enjoyed feeling more deeply connected with myself and my body, with a confidence and commitment to life. I also felt to be more caring, nurturing and honouring in my way of living, respecting the fact that I was carrying a precious little miracle inside me, and genuinely beginning to feel that I too was a precious miracle that also needed to be treated and held with such care and sacredness.
The birth of our daughter came as a surprise, with her arriving a little earlier than expected. It was still an awe inspiring and deeply amazing experience for all of us, including the medical staff. I felt deeply empowered from the moment I knew I was going into labour, and every step of the way. I was confident and steady with an authority and absoluteness and I felt like an experienced conductor of a large orchestra or a director of a famous play as I worked with a team of medical staff, my husband and a good friend to coordinate what I felt was needed. In this time I could without a doubt feel my connection with a deeper place inside me, to the power of my stillness and the sacredness I knew was there in pregnancy. I’ve heard that many women experience labour as a very memorable and powerful event in their lives where they were amazed at how well they handled it and how they knew exactly what to do, finding a deep place within themselves to make it all happen.
Not long after the labour I found myself completely alone. I’d received the care and support I needed post-labour and the baby was being cared for in the Special Care Nursery with my husband spending time with her. It seemed strange after having such a crowd of people all directed towards me, with such intent and focus.
However, there was a beautiful silence and a feeling of magic in the air, like God was in the room with me, wrapping his arms around me, holding me so preciously. I also didn’t feel like the baby had specifically ‘left’ me or that I was completely alone, and could feel her a couple of rooms away as if she was still inside me.
From my study of the Ageless Wisdom Teachings I’d heard that post-natal depression occurs when a woman disconnects from the sacredness and stillness that is so strongly present during pregnancy, going back to her pre-pregnancy way of living. Or, it could be considered as the time when the ‘pregnancy mask’ is lifted, or the ‘pregnancy glow’ stops. This was evident in the comments I received when I was pregnant, that pregnancy becomes this memory of an amazing time in a woman’s life where she felt absolutely fabulous.
Knowing these teachings, I was open to the possibility of feeling a change post-birth, some sort of a shift away from the wonder, confidence, vibrancy, joy and empowerment felt during pregnancy and labour. However, after the labour and over the next few days I felt totally marvellous and so much joy, love and magic in not only what we had experienced in the labour, but also in myself. I felt my capacity to not only be an amazing Mother, but to be a total powerhouse and joyful woman who was completely and wholeheartedly inspirational for all. My husband said, “many people talk about babies being a lot of work, but nobody tells you there’s so much joy and love” and we shared with each other how on top of the world we felt, like we were totally invincible, incredible and unstoppable and could achieve whatever we wanted at exceptional standards. We felt like superheroes, here to inspire the world to be a better place.
In this time I began to consider that I was hanging onto the sacredness and stillness that was a given during pregnancy, as I was aware that this was possible, and had talked with many esoteric practitioners about this. In fact, I had spent a lot of time developing and refining my life pre-pregnancy and during the pregnancy to live with more presence and more awareness of my connection to be able to make this possible.
About 4 days post-labour I began to feel and more clearly understand everything I had heard about pregnancy and postnatal depression from the Ageless Wisdom Teachings. Up until this point this information was just knowledge that I could consider as true or made up.
I was still in hospital and I woke up in the morning with a shock and feeling startled like, "Oh my God, what is that?" I immediately felt a rush of thoughts that made me feel uneasy, or even horrible. I don’t recall what the thoughts were, but it felt like noise in my head, worries, fears, anxieties and a sense that something was wrong. I immediately started worrying about the baby, and if everything was ok, as she was at the other end of the maternity ward in the Special Care Nursery, so far away from me. I wondered if my husband was ok, as he was staying on his own all this time whilst I got to be cared for in the hospital close to the baby.
I questioned the worrying thoughts I was having, as they were so far from what I had been living only yesterday. I said to myself I have not worried about these things previously, so why suddenly am I crippled with feelings of fear or even guilt that it’s my fault that the baby came early and everything is like this. I then started to understand what the midwives had been saying to me the last couple of days, about the ‘Day 4 blues’.
Day 4 Blues
The nurses explain the ‘Day 4 Blues’ as when most women experience a downer 3 or 4 days post labour. They say there can be feelings of depression, confusion or a sense of loss. It can be considered as the point when the excitement of labour and having a new baby wears off, and reality sets in that you’re left with this completely dependent, very needy and noisy baby to look after. It’s also explained as when the hormones associated with the placenta start to drop, because the placenta is no longer inside. In fact, some women will send their placenta away to be somehow dried and turned into pills that are consumed post labour to have a more gradual drop in the placenta hormones and less chance of experiencing the so-called 4th Day Blues or postnatal depression.
The morning I woke with anxiety I understood that this was the change I had heard about from the Ageless Wisdom Teachings – the loss of the connection that is very clearly present during pregnancy. I felt that there was a three-day period of grace post labour, to claim it as my own, and move and live in a way that honoured this. It was on this morning that I very clearly realised how my whole pregnancy I had not truly embraced the quality of sacredness and stillness as my own. I didn’t resist everything that the connection had offered, in terms of allowing myself to shine, feel sexy, womanly, confident and amazing, I just hadn’t clocked that to truly embrace this I needed to genuinely feel that this connection is equally available to me all the time, and not just when I am pregnant.
I began to feel how during pregnancy it felt easier to accept and allow the stillness and sacredness, because we can feel these qualities so clearly in the baby that is inside. In fact, I know that this is why most of us love newborn babies and go all goo-goo and ga-ga over them, because they remind us of our own preciousness and purity. This is why it’s so easy to never get bored with staring at a baby, even when it’s sleeping, because in this time we are truly feeling who we are.
From this point forward it was very clear to me that I had the choice to truly feel, appreciate and accept that I am this same preciousness and divinity that I very clearly feel in our daughter. I began to feel that it’s a choice that needs to be made in every single moment, and I mean like every split second. It’s a matter of considering what am I choosing to align to – to myself deep inside and the all that this brings, which asks me to sit tall, strong, open, and still.
When I didn’t choose me I very quickly felt myself get bombarded with everything else; my posture would slump and I would get a series of thoughts associated with doubt, concern or even analysing or planning or contemplating different situations. There was no being still and enjoying me and the moment, feeling this as enough – and instead this incessant head talk about everything would take over.
Embracing our connection
The next few days, and in fact weeks and months, have been a time of opening my eyes to feel and know when I’m connecting within and when I’m not. It has been amazing to see behaviours try to kick back in – behaviours that I had not engaged in for 9 months since being pregnant. These were often the tiniest of things that I had stopped during the pregnancy, but I hadn’t realised I was doing these things – let alone that I had stopped them – until they reappeared after the pregnancy.
For example, something as simple as looking judgmentally at my body in the mirror when I got out of the shower to make sure it was not bulging anywhere it shouldn’t be. When I noticed myself doing this after the pregnancy I was like, "Wow, I haven’t done that for ages." I then saw that it wasn’t about trying to stop the self-judging behaviour and that it was only present because I was not connecting within and choosing me.In fact, when I am choosing my connection I naturally look at my reflection with awe and marvel at my beauty, and I want to keep looking . . . I look for any window or mirror or even my shadow, where I can sneak a quick glimpse of how wonderful I am.
I now understand that my whole life I had been trying to stop certain unhealthy or unloving behaviours from the wrong approach. It’s not about convincing myself to make the right choice, to eat healthily, move gently and not talk negatively to myself or allow negative thoughts. Instead it’s about choosing to be connected to who I truly am, the loveliness, stillness and warmth that can be found deep within, and truly embracing and confirming this as who I am in every choice and movement that I make. Then when it comes to making self-caring choices – such as being aware of my posture and how I move, even how I speak, eat and what I choose to wear – the choice is not only very easy, it’s very natural, as it’s what will maintain the connection.
Experiencing all of this has allowed me to understand so much about pregnancy and being a mother, and how it’s easy to want to choose to be pregnant again, or have a newborn baby to feel how precious and lovely I am. However, if that is the underlying intent for choosing to fall pregnant again, I know exactly where such choices will end, in me getting my worth or feeling of value from my child, which is a total imposition on the child and ultimately very unsatisfying.
The only true way I will ever feel content with all of life is to make the choice myself to connect to the sacredness and stillness within and bring this out, making it part of every aspect of my life.