Finding joy in pregnancy can feel a little like finding a needle in a haystack. Pregnancy has so many fear inducing moments, it can be downright overwhelming. But it is possible to find joyful moments during this miraculous 10 month journey.
We as Black women have the honor of continuing the circle of life. We are the chosen vessels to bring forth the next generation of Black leaders who will positively influence society and move the needle closer to true social parity. Each generation we bring into the world will continue to be our ancestors wildest dreams.
In the midst of all the anxieties in pregnancy, how can you choose joy over fear?
Practice gratitude. There is always something that you can be grateful for during your pregnancy journey, no matter how small: the miracle of becoming pregnant in the first place even though nausea may be racking your body; the knowledge that your baby is growing healthily in your womb at your first scan appointment; your body’s ability to carry your child. Writing down just one thing you are grateful for each day, each week, each month will be hugely beneficial and you can refer back to these statements when fear creeps in and tries to play mind games convincing you that things won’t work out.
Savor each milestone as it comes. Each trimester brings its own challenges but also its own triumphs. From your first missed period and your growing bump in the first trimester to the so called ‘honeymoon’ second trimester when you start glowing and feel baby’s first flutter and kick. Each milestone is a clear indication that your pregnancy is progressing, in spite of the fear you may feel. In the third trimester when the finish line is in sight and Braxton Hicks may have you questioning if you can go through with labor and delivery, understand that your body is doing what it was designed to do- it is cocooning your precious baby inside you until it is time for their arrival into the world, not a moment before they are pre-destined to arrive. Savor each and every moment and know that your pregnancy outcome has already been determined. Your primary responsibility is to be the vessel to nourish and protect your child as they develop in your womb.
Understand and harness your power. You are more powerful than you think. You have been chosen to bring life and legacy into the world. The quote “to whom much is given, much is required” couldn’t be truer in pregnancy. You have the power to bring forth new life, new beginnings and much will be required of you- physically, mentally, spiritually but equally you can find joy in the fact that you were designed to complete this task – whether or not your pregnancy is straightforward or complicated. You have modern medicine on your side to support you should you require medical intervention. You will also have to draw on your inner strength to get though those emotional days where you may feel like you just can’t do it anymore. But you can. You are powerful: you can do it; you will do it and you will be so proud of yourself when you come out on the other side with your baby wrapped snuggly in your arms.
Arm yourself with knowledge. Most pregnancies progress without incident. You are more than 70% likely to have a pregnancy that ends with a healthy baby and that fact in itself should comfort you. The odds are in your favor. For some pregnant women, knowing the facts helps to reduce anxiety and gives peace of mind that everything will work out, so seek out these positive facts and don’t focus solely on the negatives.
Develop a daily practice of using affirmations during pregnancy. Positive affirmations can help alleviate any fears you may have around your pregnancy. Repeating affirmations daily will help you to turn negative feelings into positive ones. Affirmations have been proven to rewire the brain and strengthen brain areas that stimulate positive feelings, significantly reducing stress and anxiety. There are many pregnancy affirmations easily available online, or you can choose to write your own affirmations and include your partner in the process.
Black pregnancy is a beautiful thing to witness, and it is even more beautiful to experience. Fear is a normal emotion during pregnancy; however, it shouldn’t overshadow the joy of you bringing life into the world. Joy and fear can co-exist. Whenever fear tries to overpower you asking “what if it doesn’t work out?”, challenge these thoughts and ask yourself: “what if it does work out?”; “what if it’s wonderful?”; “what if pregnancy is one of the most joyful, life-affirming experiences of my life?”