5 ways pregnancy can boost your confidence—tips from a motherhood coach

happy pregnant woman at the beach
Berena Alvarez/Stocksy

If you’re pregnant you’re likely doing the backstroke in a sea of information, facing an onslaught of guidance, opinions and expertise telling you the best and worst ways to eat, sleep, make out, travel, exercise, and even moisturize, during the 40(ish) weeks of gestation. The advice comes from books, the internet and the mouths of other human beings, both intimate companions and strangers on the street. Each tip, suggestion, or fear-inducing command, whether requested or unsolicited, is fueled by a common intention—to foster the best, most ideal, most perfectly optimized in utero environment for the growing fetus inside you so it can grow into a healthy baby, equipped with everything it takes to be a thriving adult human being. No pressure.

From the outside this approach makes sense. It’s easy to see pregnancy as nothing more than a means to an end. The “end” in this case is an adorable baby cooing in your arms. Seen through this lens, pregnancy is about doing everything in your power during these precious nine months to ensure that your little one is set up for success, whether that’s turning the volume up on your folic acid intake or taming your penchant for Chardonnay and unpasteurized cheeses. But here’s a question for you (ok, two questions). What if pregnancy was about more than growing a baby—what if it was about you, too?

Pregnancy may be a bridge to becoming a mother (or a mother again) but it’s also an incredibly ripe opportunity to put a hefty deposit in your self esteem account, an investment that will deliver value way past your baby’s birthday. Here you are, creating an entire person with your own body and preparing to birth that being into the world. You’re on the cusp of leaving one version of yourself and transforming into the unknown reality of another. These are feats of extraordinary magnitude, yet they mostly get lost in the details of everyday life. If you don’t pump the breaks, your pregnancy can slip away on a list of back-to-back to-dos and milestone markers.

You can’t stop time, but you can have a much richer experience of what’s happening right now. With a few simple practices your pregnancy can become an opportunity to unearth a well of strength, intuitive connection, and self-compassion unlike any you’ve felt before. From there, you’ll be prepared to stride into motherhood with an increased appreciation for who you are and the belief that you can do anything.

Step up the stillness

The first step to maximizing the transformative power of pregnancy is to drop your engine into a lower gear, and to eventually put it in park. It’s only when you let go of the doing, planning and strategizing, that you’ll be able to connect to the subtler aspects of your pregnancy experience—the quiet hum of your intuition, the sweet connection with your growing baby and the power that’s awakening as you get closer to birth. In a society that prizes pushing, striving and accomplishment, choosing to do less can feel like a radical act, and a challenging one, too. If, like most of us, being busy is your baseline, start with small acts of stillness. You don’t have to meditate for hours to experience the benefits of stillness. Small moments of quiet woven throughout the day are equally valuable. Practice pausing between the transitions in your day. Take three full breaths before you get out of the car, before and after taking a shower, when you get in bed at night and when you wake in the morning. Connecting with your baby will also help you slow down. Place your hands on your belly and allow yourself to simply notice how you feel. Does your heart warm and expand? Does your mind begin to quiet? Whatever you feel is exactly right. You can’t do it wrong.

Turn on the awe

Allow yourself to be filled with wonder, amazement and curiosity about this momentous chapter of your life. Simply recognizing that something major is going on here can spark a new perspective on your pregnancy, reframing it from a simple act of procreation to a profound event set to alter the course of your life. Being pregnant is a very big deal! Allow this reframe to soak in deep enough and you’ll be walking around with your head held high wondering why they’re not rolling out the red carpet everytime you hit the supermarket.

Celebrate your body

For some women, pregnancy launches them straight into goddess-land, where they’re glowing and resplendent throughout each trimester. For others, making a baby is uncomfortable to the max—even downright painful, filled with heartburn and nausea, sciatica and incontinence. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s essential to remember that your body is operating at full capacity, engaged in an incredibly complex biological process with so much happening behind the scenes. You’re building bones and organs, for goodness sake! Take some time to honor your body’s magnificent creative powers. Allow yourself to bask in how strong, capable and powerful you are. And then take a delicious guilt-free nap. Goddesses need rest, too.

Power on your intuition

The love and protection you already feel for your baby is a gateway into sharpening your connection to your intuition, the inner sense of knowing that guides us throughout our lives. Begin to tap into your intuition now and it will guide you through choices you’ll face during birth and throughout motherhood. Begin to notice when something feels right or wrong and then act from that place, remembering that you know what’s best for you and your baby.

Make room for the new

The journey of motherhood will inevitably evoke aspects of yourself that have yet to come online. You may find that you’re more compassionate, patient or resilient. You may also feel tested and stretched beyond anything you’ve experienced before. Motherhood is about navigating multiple, often contrasting, realities simultaneously and pregnancy is your training ground. Practice allowing yourself to feel whatever feelings arise about being pregnant, your upcoming birth and the new chapter of your life that will be here before you know it. Fear, excitement, apprehension, worry, bliss, joy, even numbness are all welcome. By allowing yourself to feel however you’re feeling, you make room for more of who you really are—and who you are is amazing.