1) Cultivating Internal Focus
Our society creates endless temptations during pregnancy (and all of the years following) to keep the focus outward. Everyday new items/trends hit the marketplace and moms-to-be are told that these things will surely make their babies happy. Creating space to make mindful decisions and to reflect on what is really important during this tender time is vital. Spending time, energy, and money on bolstering internal resources is likely a better long term investment in parenting. Feeling continuously overwhelmed as a mother can detract from presence of mind, attachment, and bonding. Here are some ideas for soulful gifts to yourself during pregnancy and after baby arrives: prenatal/postpartum yoga, acupuncture, massage, and individual or couples psychotherapy.
2) Connection vs. Isolation
Postpartum depression is often linked to isolation, lack of social support, and difficult past experiences that were left untended. Pregnancy is an opportune time to reach out, reflect, and strengthen core aspects of the self. Building a sense of community as well as deepening your relationship with yourself can help stave off postpartum blues or depression.
3) Investigating Your History
Attachment research reveals that having a solid understanding of one's personal history can positively impact attaching with your baby. Furthermore, researchers have found that people who can narrate, reflect on, and have a clear understanding of their life experiences (even when major trauma has occurred in previous attachment relationships) have an increased chance at creating healthy attachments. So what does this mean? Simply put, understand who you are and how you developed into the person you have become. This is easier said than done, but the payoff is lifelong. Engaging in psychotherapy during pregnancy can help foster a more graceful postpartum period.
Jessica Zucker, Ph.D.