We are pleased to welcome Tracy Wilson Peters, CLD, CLE, CCCE , to the Mother’s Advocate blog. Co-author of the soon-to-be released book, The Greatest Pregnancy Ever, Tracy has been a lifelong advocate for families and babies.
“The main concern of those around pregnant women or for people who care for a pregnant woman should be to ensure their emotional wellbeing.” ~ Michel Odent
Who are the people closest to you? Did you know that the people who are around you the most are influencing the personality and development of your baby? New science has shown that every relationship that you have impacts who your child will become. A mother’s feelings deeply affect her baby. In fact, the baby learns about his world by the feelings his mother has. When a mother has a feeling of happiness, this triggers a hormone release that the baby also feels. The same thing happens when a mother feels stress. Chronic stress is non-supportive for your health and your pregnancy. Hormones associated with depression and anxiety, such as cortisol, can reduce blood supply to the placenta and induce premature labor. So, who is in your life really matters!
Pregnancy offers a great opportunity to take steps to decrease stress in your life. Emotions and attitudes are contagious. Every encounter that you have on a daily basis can be measured on a scale that goes from nourishing to toxic. Who are the people in your life that nourish you? Who are the people in your life that drain your energy? It may not be possible to eliminate all of the people in your life that cause you stress, but you can begin to create healthy boundaries by creating a circle of support. This circle should include people who are supportive and loving in their interactions with you. Your inner circle may or may not include family members. Your circle of support should be comprised of people who you can call on when you need help, have good listening skills, won’t judge you, and can offer you emotional support. This inner circle is a sacred place. Who in your life do you want to be in your circle of support? Is there someone that you have been allowing in your life that you need to step back from?
It may help you to take a few minutes and make a list of the people that you interact with on a regular basis, including family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors – anyone that you spend a significant amount of time with. Next think of each person holding your new baby. What feelings come up for you? Try to tune in to the feelings that come up during this visualization. Are changes needed?
Some things to keep in mind when creating your inner circle of support:
- It’s OK to say no. There are moments when we say “yes” to others, and, in fact, we are saying “no” to ourselves.
- You can love someone and still keep them at a distance.
- Shifting who you surround yourself with does not mean judging others. Nobody has to be wrong for you to make decisions that are right for you.
- You can change your circle of influence and love those not in it from a distance.
- It’s not about being judgmental. It’s about being where you feel comfortable.
- You are your world, so if you change, the world changes.
Mothers who foster a healthy internal relationship often have nourishing relationships with the people in their lives. You are at the center of your circle. You must take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, in order to have healthy relationships with the people in your life. Taking time to love yourself will have a positive effect on everyone in your life. When you create healthy boundaries with the people in your life, you will be giving yourself and your child a great gift: the gift of self-love and the knowledge that you can move through your world making conscious decisions about who and what is right for you.
Pregnancy is a time of change. Change isn’t always comfortable but it is a necessary part of life. Your new life with your baby will undoubtedly bring many changes in the relationships that you have. Your relationships will change because you will change. Becoming a mother will provide many opportunities for growth. As you move into motherhood trust your instincts. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and you will be able to give your very best YOU to your new baby.
“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living” – Author unknown
Author, Tracy Wilson Peters, CLD, CLE, CCCE
Married for over 19 years and mother to two amazing sons, Tracy’s experience raising her own children led her to a love for supporting expectant families. This passion encouraged her to found CAPPA, Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association. Tracy serves as both the CEO and as a faculty member for CAPPA. CAPPA is the largest childbirth organization in the world. Internationally known as a pregnancy expert, she has authored numerous articles, and appeared on many television networks, including FOX, CBS, and NBC. Tracy has worked with expectant women and families for nearly two decades, attending hundreds of births as a professional labor doula and teaching classes to more than 3000 families.