By Hind El Aoufi, Co-Founder
Pregnancy is a very special time. A time to actually take time for yourself. A time to connect with ourselves and our body. A time to prepare for life.
It’s also an exceptional time where we feel that we are losing control over our body. Our body takes control naturally and we can only surrender to life growing inside us.
Pregnancy and becoming a mother is not merely a physical journey. It is an emotional and spiritual one too. Because it is more than physical, it requires a holistic approach.
I’m sharing with you my top 5 tips for pregnant women, as rituals to care for yourself, holistically during this special time, before your ‘me’ time becomes ‘us’ time. 😊
5 Self Care Tips for Pregnant Women
Take that extra nap and indulge. Tiredness and sleepiness are signals our body is sending us to rest and recover. You are growing a baby inside and that’s huge (and energy-intensive). Besides, when Baby is here, it won’t be a choice anymore. Recharging on sleep now before Baby takes over is probably the biggest self-care indulgence you can totally do right now. You may think you don’t have time for extra sleep. But with a child on the way, you are never going to have more time in your life than what you have now (until you hit retirement perhaps), so MAKE the time to rest! I love the wisdom of Ariana Huffington, who wrote the bestseller The Sleep Revolution, on the need to redefine success through well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving, starting with sleep and its transformative power:
2. NOURISH YOURSELF WITH HEALTHY FOODS.
This really makes a big difference. It means to listen to your body and to your cravings. Often they are also a signal of something your body needs. If you are craving certain unhealthy foods, try to think of a healthy alternative to satisfy the craving. For example for sweet dessert cravings, opt for sweet fruits. For salty chips cravings, possibly opt for popcorn, kale chips, baked potato, or salted nuts.
For me, I was obsessed with raspberries and kiwi. OBSESSED. I would go everywhere to find them. I would then add a teaspoon of raw culinary argan oil for the extra nutty flavour and healthy fats me and baby need for proper growth. People may tell you to eat fish oil tablets, but they made me so sick. Culinary argan oil is plant-based and has the perfect ratio of omegas 3, 6, and 9.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.
It’s important to keep up with gentle exercise, stretching or yoga, and ensure that your beauty routine is baby-safe, with no toxins or chemicals. To me, taking care of my body meant going for regular swims and soaking my growing belly in pure argan oil. Massaging our skin with argan oil is a centuries-old Moroccan tradition that we pass on from mother to daughter as a healing and preparation ritual. Argan oil is packed with vitamin E, and is amazing for skin nourishment and wound healing, as well as stretch marks prevention and scar healing. For me, using argan oil was a special ritual, connecting with my own growing baby bump, whilst knowing it’s all-natural, healthy, and baby-safe.
As a pregnant Moroccan-Australian, I remember I had run out of my own pure argan oil in Sydney and was looking for other moisturisers as my skin felt itchy. The most famous creams and oils were full of toxins, synthetic additives or chemicals. Even the most popular pregnancy oils had nasty chemicals including petroleum (which can potentially be carcinogenic and it blocks pores). This shocked and saddened me, and was part of what led me to co-create youforher, to provide Australians with quick and easy access to baby-safe, high quality, pure argan oil from Morocco.
4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVE.
It takes a village to raise a baby, and it takes a village to raise a mum. With COVID and the anxiety around social connections, this one is harder than usual. However, a phone call with your best friend, your mum, or anyone who makes you feel loved is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give yourself. Pregnancy is full of self-doubt, questions, and uncertainty. The moments of connections to loved ones will make you realise that you are not alone. Your circle of love will bring light to your worries and you can feel the positive energies connect with yourself.
5. BE KIND AND TRUST YOURSELF.
This one is the hardest one, however, having gone through a difficult pregnancy myself, I learnt that it is the most important one. This gut feeling, intuition, motherly sixth sense is strong and will guide you when you are confused. It is very hard to do so, and we sometimes get overwhelmed with so much advice, from good intended friends, family or even midwives. Ultimately our inner voice is perhaps the one we need to trust the most, despite all the fear and anxiety we might face.
“There is no love more intense than the love we have for our kids – and where there is intense love, there is also intense fear lurking beneath the surface.” - Ariana Huffington.
Kindness to self goes hand-in-hand with trust. It is important to be kind to ourselves despite all the expectations we might have built in our heads, and be grateful for the miracle of life growing inside us. One of my favourite quotes comes from American writer John Steinbeck,
A perfect pregnancy and a perfect mum doesn’t exist. However, great ones do exist, once we let go of the perfection expectation and give ourselves kindness and trust. You’ve got this mama!
Hind, youforher co-founder