December is a busy month full of family commitments, social gatherings, and expectations. For the pregnant mama, this time can feel INTENSE. Pregnancy is a fantastic opportunity to begin setting boundaries, which basically means you get really good at saying what feels right and what doesn’t. As you ease into new motherhood, you are also becoming the leader of your household and the guardian of your child’s needs. Not everyone will agree with you, but can you be ok with that? Can you hold your ground and be clear with what works for you, without fear of letting others down?
December is the PERFECT time to begin setting boundaries- show up for what you really want to be part of and for those who matter most and politely decline where it just doesn’t matter as much and will more than likely drain your energy. Does this stress you out to contemplate? Don’t fear mama! Let me share some of my top tips for setting positive boundaries during the busiest time of the year and when you might need to take care of yourself the most!
1. Start to change your no’s into positive no’s.
Sometimes “no” can feel so negative and its why we fear letting someone down. What if no felt positive and compassionate? Scenario: a distant cousin is having a holiday party expecting 200 people. Your body is tired and you feel like you might scream if you hear another rendition of jingle bell. Instead of snapping, I’m not coming when she kindly asks you to bake a bouche noelle, simply say, “I think you’re so amazing for hosting such a beautiful party with so much detail. But I’m starting to feel my energy slide and feel like I need to sit this one out. Will you text me some pictures? I can’t wait to see the decor!” While saying what you need, you’re also acknowledging what someone else cares about. Everyone wins and feels heard.
2. Take time out without feeling guilty.
You will more than likely find yourself in the middle of a social setting and feel the need to put your feet up and close your eyes. Pregnancy is draining for most and requires a bit more rest, especially in the midst of being so social. Can you take rest moments before you feel yourself seriously decline? Can you pleasantly ask the party host to lie in a spare bedroom for 15 minutes with your feet up so you can return to the party feeling fresh? So often we don’t feel we have the right to ask for these spaces, but they will help you so much. They are also great practices for asking for quiet space when you need to nurse or give your child a time out when they are babies and toddlers.
3. If mama isn’t happy, no one is.
If you’re living for everyone else, showing up to please all family and friends and leaving yourself at the back of the bus, you will not only be unhappy, you will be resentful and depleted. Once baby arrives, you will realize how imperative it is to nurture yourself physically and emotionally, so that you can be the most present mom. Through pregnancy, begin to notice when a moment isn’t bringing you joy or when its really about responsibility and not about participating because you want to. We all have to do some things we don’t want to do, but if you slow down and pay attention, most women say yes to things because we think we have to. Start to pay attention now, before baby arrives, and let yourself off the hook from time to time. This awareness will serve you long into the future days of motherhood.