A State of Calm
The emotional changes a woman experiences while pregnant may, in fact, cause her the most discomfort—both directly and indirectly. The stress that may be experienced due to negotiating the upcoming lifestyle changes or deciding which stroller to purchase is often managed differently by a woman with extra hormones floating around. Notes Warhus, "It stands to reason that as your body goes through significant changes during pregnancy, so do your emotions. It's quite common to have a mixture of feelings that may range from euphoria to fear to sadness."
Warhus has spent many years reassuring her own patients that emotional stress does not seem to have a definite negative effect on pregnancy outcomes. "Still," she warns, "stress may have effects on you and your baby that medical science does not completely understand." For example, stress can lead to an elevated heart rate or elevated stress hormones, and a fetus may very well "feel" these changes within your body.
Mindful exercises such as yoga or meditation can be beneficial not only during these nine months, but at any point in your life when you are feeling more anxious than usual. Some days, calming music and a good book (that has nothing to do with parenthood) can make for a more relaxing afternoon than navigating the aisles of Babies "R" Us again in search of the perfect pacifier. And last, but certainly not least, a good maternity massage never hurt anyone!
Store clerks' eyes will bulge if they believe there's even a remote possibility that you'll deliver in Aisle 9 between the pickles and the potato chips. One of the best things about being obviously pregnant is that you will likely be allowed, implored perhaps, to cut in line at the grocery store, the home improvement store—the Department of Motor Vehicles even. (Certainly, data has been collected which proves that the best time to renew your driver's license is somewhere between the seven-month mark and the timeframe during which your water might break while in line.) Typically, the more uncomfortable you look, the better your chances. So, this might be a good time to breathe a bit more loudly than normal, or push your hands into the small of your back and emit a low groan. But there's still no reason not to be wearing a cute outfit.
What truly matters most is each pregnant woman's perception of herself during this amazing time. Each change that your body undergoes is its own response to the miracle growing inside you. Regardless of one's preconceptions of what makes a beautiful pregnant body, the fact is everyone's pregnancy and pregnant shape is unique. These nine months are a time to be celebrated. So lather on a great-smelling body cream, don a fabulous outfit, grab a bottle of water, and let the whole world hear you roar.