Pregnancy Self Care

I wasn’t really sure I want to write this blog because it’s going to be a long one but this is a really good accountability measure and also a good place for me to share and hopefully help somebody else in a similar situation who’s either struggling to motivate themselves, doesn’t know where to start or just needs to read that they aren’t the only ones.

The first thing I will say here, and the most important part of my personal self care journey is that after a year of ups and downs, some good times but far too much toxicity, I ended the relationship with my husband. Yes, we just got married and we have a baby on the way. I’m not ready to go into full details about it here but for myself and my child, this is the healthiest and safest decision.

Being single, at peace and now in a space of accepting and freedom rather than judgement and control, I know that the rest of the pregnancy will be a positive and stress free experience (as far as pregnancies go anyway). My child will be raised to believe in themselves, that they can be and do whatever they want to be, that they are free to make their own decisions and to know that their dreams aren’t just dreams, they can be turned into goals regardless of what they are. This all sounds really fairytale parenting but I truly believe that leading by example and showing kids that we are doing it rather than just saying we could do it is really important, and I plan on making sure my child sees nothing but a motivated example who lives her best life, does what she can to make her dreams happen and lives a compassionate life.

I understand that being a single parent will be a challenge and I’ve heard a couple of times that a child needs their father, which I don’t deny, but what a child needs more is for their parent(s) to be secure, trusting and supportive and to be calm, respectful and balanced as individuals. Being raised by parents who have a volatile relationship isn’t healthy for any child and I have too much love for what is wriggling away inside me to allow them to grow up seeing something everyday and believing that this type of treatment of women or just humans in general is okay.

Now that my only focus is on baby and a peaceful and healthy life, I know I will be a better parent than I was on a path to being as part of a couple. At the end of the day, a child doesn’t need to have a together unit to be loved, just parents (or a parent) who puts their little ones needs and wants before their own and never lets that falter. Peanut will learn that self respect and strong boundaries are the foundation of a happy life and a good self care routine that has no unnecessary wind to shake it, is truly priceless.

Eat, drink and be merry – Pregnancy edition
Although I escaped morning sickness of the vommy variety, I lost quite a bit of weight due to stress and lack of appetite and so getting back to a good weight was the first thing my body naturally did once I was in a positive environment and mindframe. I originally started toasting my own muesli in blackstrap molasses to cut out processed sugar in the morning and reduce plastic waste (bulk bins queen these days), but after a couple of weeks I decided to change it to an uncooked version just by adding non-toasted oats and raw nut mix to a bowl with the usual seeds and fresh fruit mixed with homemade almond milk.

Thanks to the switch to a raw start to the day my digestion is currently the best it’s ever been. I have more energy, I don’t have any cramps, aches, pains or headaches, my skin and hair are feeling pretty good, I feel amazing and I’m starting the day in the best possible way for my body. It’s giving me enough energy to get to my lunch break at work and even if I get the hungers before then, a berry and banana smoothie is hitting the spot, hydrating me and loading me up on naturally sourced vitamins and minerals.

On a hydration note, I’m drinking at least 1.5 – 2l of filtered water per day, 1l of fruit smoothie made with water and 1 or 2 250ml cups of peppermint or rooibos tea which is keeping me free of the drys during the day but helping me to make better friends with the bathroom than I’ve ever been before. I tend to slow down the liquids around 6pm to make sure I’m only hitting the B-Room a couple of times during the night which has helped me keep up a good sleeping routine.

Lunches are either leftovers from dinner the night before (we’ve all been there) or an avocado and salad sandwich or wrap (give me all the crunchy greens you have). Snacks are mostly smoothies during the day and either a piece of multigrain toast with marmite or a few date bliss balls in the evening. I’m really enjoying mushrooms, spinach and potatoes at the moment…possible cravings?! Dinners have been centered mostly around vegetables, potatoes and pasta and although I do miss Sri Lankan foods, my body just hasn’t felt like mountains of white rice with vegetables cooked  in coconut milk which is part of the reason I’ve been eating better since I got home.

What my body needs/wants has definitely changed lately as processed food isn’t floating my boat so much or making me feel good. After catching up on the foods I missed while I was overseas like chocolate ice cream, cheddar cheese, mint chocolate and the occasional sausage or hashbrown (all vegan, of course), I can’t handle overly oily, sugary or pre-packaged foods anymore. Not that I was ever completely focused on just those things, I’ve tried to live my healthiest life for the past couple of years but I’ve never been the perfectly healthy Instagram ‘model vegan’ when it comes to diet. My body craves plain vegetables and salad, fruit and whole, brown grains more than anything else these days and I feel wonderful for loading up on them on the daily.

I will admit, the thing I still have a hankering for occasionally and it’s annoying because I feel awful afterward is a salt and vinegar chippie sandwich. I have no idea why or where it comes from, but every once in a while I really feel the need to eat a crisp sammy on really brown, grainy bread and it warms my heart with every bite.

Move your arse Hoop
Whilst in Sri Lanka, exercise was pretty much non-existent. I started the trip off doing yoga here and there and even joined a gym which was glorious. I don’t know why I love weight lifting but it gives me so much confidence and energy which really makes my day a happy one and even if I do nothing else productive, I feel amazing. That all came to an abrupt end for reasons I don’t really want to go into but those reasons knocked me over  and because I didn’t have that dedicated space to go to physically exert myself and sweat out any bad feels, physical care fell over. Going for long and peaceful walks was also out of question which, being another really important part of mind clearing and moving for me, broke my spirit a little.

If something knocks an important area of my self care routine, like not being allowed to do what my body needs to stay healthy, it can be hard to motivate myself to compromise. The compromise here would have been working out in the hostel room I was staying in until I moved into a proper house but there was no space and by the time I moved into a home, I was still being questioned as to why I wanted to go to the gym (it’s a very male dominated activity over there but everybody either keeps to themselves or genuinely wants to help you if you’re doing something wrong), feeling guilty for even wanting to be there and quite sad that I was pretty much banned from being around people I could ask for help with form and being in a space with others who have the same goals as I do.

Once I found out I was pregnant I found it easier to take out my mat and do asanas every once in a while but if there was a less than peaceful start to the day, I just didn’t feel as though I deserved that amazing feeling I knew I would get from ‘me time’. It can be difficult to shake off negative feels when you have no separate space or escape from the bad vibes to reset.

Since being home in New Zealand and in my positive, free and solitary space, I’ve found it so easy to physically take care of myself and it’s brightened everything. I can go for a walk; chuck on a bikini and go for an ocean swim and then sit on the beach to catch the afternoon rays without worrying about judgements or arguments; I roll out of bed every morning and do 20 minutes to an hour of asanas and have even been enjoying more of a flowy sequence which isn’t like me, but it gets me going for the day; I’m on my feet all day for my job which is essentially running around constantly and using my legs which is tiring but feels so good to be using my body all the time again; I joined a local swimming pool to improve my cardio fitness and upper body strength and am loving seeing improvements happen so quickly;  I get down on my mat to stretch, unwind and release all of the energy I’ve collected during the day and sleep so much better for it.

Speaking of sleep, I’m loving bedtime now! I’ve always been a good sleeper but have never been great at routine and tend to avoid closing my eyes and don’t want to admit it’s time to pass out, but since I’ve deleted my Netflix account and swapped hours of binge watching the same 4 TV shows over and over again for informative YouTube or Gaia videos and books, I’m finding turning the light off at a reasonable hour so easy and really enjoying getting a full 40 winks. Apart from those pesky toilet breaks, (uterus and child growth means less room for all that water you drink), I’m out cold, having pleasant dreams and waking up early, feeling nice and refreshed everyday.

Overall, my pregnant body feels better than my regular body did and I know this is something I will keep up because I’ve never spent time on my physical health without being hard on myself e.g. I can’t get my leg as high as they can in yoga class, I can’t do a headstand, I can’t squat 80kg, I can’t run 10kms without dying, comparing myself the the big butts and tiny waists at the gym, and so on. I’m happy with how my body feels right now, and that’s so much more valuable to me than how I look. I’ll be building on this for the rest of the pregnancy and afterward and making sure to set this example for my little one.

No shame in mind frame
Head wise, things in Sri Lanka weren’t the best. I was depressed, not loving myself so much and there were inside and outside elements that were making getting myself into a positive mindset really difficult. The second I stepped onto the plane back home, a dark cloud just lifted from my entire soul and my whole mind cleared.  Being back with my family, at my job and being in a peaceful environment made a world of difference and it all happened so fast. Have you ever walked into a space and just felt the bad juju and wanted to run away? That was kind of the house I was living in in SL and it made everything really grey. Even now sitting in my bedroom alone at night time with just a small lamp creating physical light, my mind and soul feels so bright and sunny. It’s glorious.

Being somebody who picks up on people’s energy really easily, if there is a low vibrational frequency around me everyday emitting particularly negative feels, I struggle to keep my vibration consistently high, but being back at home in my own space has meant that my vibe and all the good stuff that comes with it have been fully present and it feels amazingly positive. It sounds weird but my whole body is relaxed and nothing feels stressful now, whereas for the past few months, maybe even a year, everything has felt like a battle. Breezy.

Yoga has helped my head as well as my body. Now I have a safe space, I’m finding it so much easier to move my body with a free mind and take that time to sit down after and just listen to the universe and download whatever it has for me on the day. Sometimes there’s nothing and it’s just a beautiful calm, other times it’s a whole bunch of understanding and some days it’s layers of internal crap peeling away after years of hiding things away with new levels of healing making themselves apparent.

I can’t recommend meditation enough to anybody who either needs to get out of a bad spot, move further into a good one or just to get some peace. If you can’t just get down and do it anywhere at any time (which can be difficult depending on where you are or the situation you’re in), find a peace place and use it whenever you can. It could be the beach, in the park, a room of your house, your garden, somebody else’s house, a quiet space in your workplace, your car…anywhere, just find that place and once you have it, don’t ever let anybody take it away from you. If you need to listen to a YouTube video, an app or person you trust to guide you, use that resource, embrace that quiet time for just you and let it take you to where you need to be. Nothing has been more healing for me personally than meditation and if I, Jess Hooper with the anxious mind and thoughts going at a thousand miles per hour most of the time can do it, I truly believe that anybody can. I believe in you, even if you don’t 🙂

The last thing I need to always remember for myself to keep a clear head is that when I get involved with somebody romantically, I don’t have the space to truly be myself because I seem to attract people who plug in and recharge themselves from what I have. There’s only been one relationship in my entire life that made me feel like nothing was being taken away, it was just the same frequency moving alongside me beautifully, but that was a long time ago and it wasn’t the right time. Unfortunately I didn’t have the self love or the personal strength to give myself to somebody so completely and things happened that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. After taking the time to make sense of what really happened and to start to heal from events then and experiences since, I know deep down that for me personally, there’s only ever been one flame that set my soul on fire and, because I’ve already had the chance to experience that but not at the right life junction, I’m happy to be alone now.

I guess when you know, you know and when you have it, you have it but when you don’t anymore, no amount of empty relationships can replace it but you do have yourself and you are enough. Until the child sized love of my life arrives in June this year, I’m more than happy to live with memories, personal growth and my own company. This is the space where the magic happens and I’m so excited to see where it takes me next.

Take each piece of your life and use it to build your foundation. Everything that has happened in my life until this point has made me the person that I am today and accepting this and just letting it all in with a wave of self compassion and understanding has left my mind ready and so open to the next phase of building.

And that’s my life story…Kidding.
Seriously though, surround yourself with people who make you feel loved, special and deserving. Gravitate towards people with the same dreams as you, who encourage you to keep being you, who are grateful for your existence and who are genuinely happy that you’re alive. Stay far away from people who make you feel like you need to change, who tell you that you’re perfect but then turn those perfections into reasons to not like you, people who make you feel like you aren’t already whole or tell you that you can’t do something that you love or need to be happy. Trust your intuition when it comes to people, she’s an amazing thing.

Thanks for reading yet another novel and piece of Hoops life story. If any of this resonates and you need somebody to talk to, need motivation or just need to empty your mind and soul and vent but don’t want to blog about it or have anybody to chat to, my virtual door is always open (links to those doors are below). Everybody needs somebody whether it be a friend, acquaintance or just random stranger to let it all out to, and that’s sort of what I was sent here for, so come 🙂

Have a wonderful day, smile and remember that you’re worth a million times more than you can ever imagine.

Love and light x

Genuinely, if you do need to chat about anything, feel free to reach me at any of the below..I will always answer 🙂

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