Before she was a beloved pregnancy blogger, certified birthing doula, and childbirth preparation educator, author Bailey Gaddis met her own pregnancy by buying a bunch of books, which, for the most part, made her even more confused, insecure, and scared.
Her new book, Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, is her way of giving pregnant women and new moms a better option. Adopting the principles and philosophy of feng shui, the Chinese system of a connected inner and outer harmony, this book guides women to their balanced center and supports them in tapping into the primal energies brought forth in the birthing experience. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.
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Exercise does not have to be held together by laces, sweat-wicking spandex, and a Jillian Michaels playlist you found in a fitness magazine. Toning and stretching your muscles and livening up your heart rate can happen anyplace, anytime. Of the suggestions below, some are a few of the endorphin-eliciting quickies I partook in while my uterus was packing a baby, and some are ideas from the human-making babes I’ve worked with. I encourage you to try these, then work out your creative nature by thinking up new ways to get in a quickie.
• Squats: While you’re doing dishes, scrolling through your phone, or engaging in any other stationary activity, squat into it. A squat is an excellent way to prep your birthing muscles and get comfortable assuming the most effective birthing position, which is . . . a squat. Play around with the squat until you find a position that you feel secure in while it’s causing your gluts and thighs to tighten. No need to assume a full squat; bending your knees a bit and lowering your tush a few inches is effective. Squat for as long as you feel comfortable, and upgrade the benefits by dropping some Kegels into the mix.
• Conquer the stairs: There’s a reason the “take the stairs” advice is repeated ad nauseam: it works. Whenever possible, forgo the awkward silence of an elevator and take the “stairway to endorphins.” And hey, babe, be safe, hold on to the handrail, and take your time. (You can take the elevator when the baby comes out.)
• Stand up for your health: Sitting is the new high fructose corn syrup. When you sit for long periods of time, your circulation is constricted, your brain gets lethargic, and your body shifts into idle. Place your laptop on the kitchen counter, request a standing desk at work, or set a timer to go off every hour, reminding you to stand up and stretch for a few minutes. But respect the moods of your body and sit down if you begin feeling sore or fatigued; behind every healthy mama should be a comfy chair with a footstool.
• Book walk: I learned what to look for in a good breast pump, how to practice nonviolent communication, ways to improve my social media presence, and how to be in the now, all while walking. There’s an audio book for everything. Utilize the power of learning (and juicy romance mystery thrillers) to get you moving. Download a book on your phone and only let yourself listen to it while you’re on a walk.
• Spontaneous dance: Life is so much better when you let yourself break out in the Carlton. If you schedule a dance break every hour, where you stand up and do an inhibition-free shimmy to your favorite song, your life will never be stale.
• Screen stretches: Take advantage of the fact that staring at a screen can be addictive by exercising in tandem with your screen time. While you’re watching that documentary on honey badgers, or the Real Housewives reunion, move through some gentle stretches, being sure not to overextend yourself.
Excerpted from the book Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood. Copyright © 2017 by Bailey Gaddis. Printed with permission from New World Library. www.newworldlibrary.com .