Imagine You’re Standing At the Shore…

I went to yoga again yesterday, even though I needed much more vigorous exercise after eating gummies, chocolates, goldfish, and other unfortunate snacks throughout the day. Toward the end of the session, our instructor had us relax and envision standing at the shoreline of the ocean. She asked us to take in the wide expanse of sea, and to listen to the rhythm of the waves.

The type of beach that came to mind immediately was in southeast Asia. I started in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, but a little jellyfish swam by my feet, so I migrated to Phuket, Thailand, but the water was a bit darker than I preferred. I settled on the shore of White Sand Beach in Candidasa, Bali, where I sipped on a large bottle of cold lager and ate an entire grilled fish, with a side of a local sweet and sour fish sauce-based dip while lounging in the sand. It suddenly occurred to me I will not likely be carefree and alone with my husband on a remote beach in southeast Asia, drinking and eating with reckless abandon any time soon, or indeed, for many years to come, and I sort of wanted to cry.

Of course, that was not the point of the exercise, and our “birth wisdom” tip sheets at the end of class fittingly reminded me to check negative thoughts at the door.

A Reminder to Myself to be Grateful

I’ve read in multiple sources that gratitude is a significant contributing factor, if not the key, to happiness. In a study by two psychologists from UC Davis and the University of Miami, researchers found that writing about things for which people were grateful led to more optimism and positive feelings about the subject’s lives (here and here).

Even in the absence of scientific evidence, this theory seems to make intuitive sense, and at the least is worth a try, because it can’t hurt. I am fairly happy in general regardless, but pregnancy is not always my cup of tea, so I thought this would be the perfect time to make a list of things for which I am grateful:

  • My husband, for being supportive and kind.
  • My family, immediate, extended, and in-law, for being wonderful people who will be positive influences and role models for my little fetus.
  • My body, for doing what seems to be a decent job so far – no vomiting, no complications, no abnormal lab results, no debilitating symptoms. Even my blood pressure, which normally runs a tad high, has normalized.
  • Financial stability, which makes this process far less stressful.
  • Google and the internets. Sometimes Googling medical conditions can lead you to believe you have cancer or a brain tumor, but sometimes it does the opposite. Sometimes you Google some symptom and find out it’s totally normal during pregnancy and that you are not, in fact dying. What a relief! Not only for myself, but for my doctor’s office as well because otherwise I’d be calling non-stop.
  • Yelp, so I can read reviews on doctors and classes and make informed decisions.
  • Living in a metropolitan area where the quality and standard of healthcare is high, and I am able to easily find providers, facilities, classes, and options suited to my needs, preferences, and philosophies.
  • Living in a time after the invention of ultrasounds, genetic/other types of testing/screening, breast pumps, pregnancy pillows, and life-saving medical interventions and procedures.
  • Wal-Mart, for all kinds of cheap shit, from baby gear to maternity clothes and more.
  • P.G. Wodehouse, for making me laugh when I was very tired in early pregnancy and did not have energy to do anything except sit on the couch and read.
  • All the little pleasures in life: roses, coffee, the beach nearby, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald on Saturday mornings, gummy bears (or maybe NOT, since I can’t stop eating them and they are not nutritious at all!)