In my pre-pregnancy life I was typically running just late enough that rushing would almost always get me where I was going on time. This rushing became fully habitual as I began to plan to leave the house, or schedule time between appointments, based on the amount of time I would need if I rushed from place to place. This pace had taken over so fully that even when I didn’t have a particular place to be at a particular time, I could still be seen walking as fast as my little legs could carry me.
For years I have been telling my students that pregnancy is an important time to take things more slowly and move more mindfully. There are several reasons for this, but one big one is because of the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is released immediately after conception and rises until about 14 weeks, where it remains constant until labor, when there is another significant increase. Relaxin loosens tendons, muscles and ligaments, necessary to allow the body to stretch to accommodate and birth baby, but also makes sprains and strains more common and slower to heal. Although I’ve been relaying this information for years, it was my husband who reminded me in one of those rushing-for-no-particular-reason-moments. “Where ya goin’ so fast, Rushie?” Oh right, now I’M pregnant and I have to listen to my own advice.
So after about a month or so filled with lots of emails and texts saying “Aaah, running 15 minutes late…again…sorry…” I think I’ve just about figured out the speed where my pregnant body wants to operate. And, I must say, I didn’t know what I was missing by my habitual rushing–everything from the newly blooming flowers, the faces of my neighbors and so many babies in our neighborhood, the sound of the birds,the list goes on, but the most profound for me was the calm that comes with moving through the world mindfully.
I leave you with the words of Thich Naht Hahn, which have become my mantra: “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”
Aimee Karr is a DONA trained labor support doula, and yoga teacher specializing in prenatal, postnatal and restorative yoga. For more about Aimee visit www.aimeemccabe.com/yoga