Pregnancy, Stress & Anxiety Oh My!!!

Let’s be honest! Life can be stressful all by itself but when you add pregnancy to the mix stress levels can rise. We find ourselves instantly concerned about what doctor to pick, where to deliver, how to deliver, what to eat and what not to eat (not to mention the financial responsibility of pregnancy and parenthood.) The first person we should turn to when we are drowning in stress and worry is Yahuah. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to Yahuah. And the shalom  of Yahuah, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Yahusha Ha’Mashiach.” Philippians 4:6-7 

How do we live out this verse in our lives when we feel burdened by the weight of our captivity? Stress can easily turn into fear when we read that Hebrew (black/negro) women and children die during pregnancy and childbirth at a higher rate than white women and children (regardless of education or socio-economic status.) Fears and everyday stresses do not have to debilitate us. We can deal with these issues head on through spiritual and practical ways. 

   “For Yahuah has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

We have the power to overcome fear. First, we have to address the spiritual and physical issues we are dealing with. In my article entitled My Secret Garden: Pre-pregnancy Preparedness Part I – Pulling up Weeds I discussed the importance of uprooting both spiritual and physical weeds. Those very things in our lives that cause fear and anxiety leading us into depression. When we take authority over our bodies and dedicate it to The Ruach Ha’Kodesh, our temple can be cleansed. When we access the power that Yahuah has given us to pull down strongholds with confession and repentance of our sins we will eliminate our fear, anxiety and depression. 

HalleluYah! Sisters this is truly a reason to give Yahuah all the praise. 

We can triumph against fear by showing love. We are called to fulfill The Law by our love for Yahuah and for each other. When we guard the Torah in our hearts, living it out in Ruach and in Truth, we are showing Yahuah how much we truly love Him. We don’t have to live in shame for the things we have done.  We can lean on one another for prayer and accountability. 

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and Yahuah will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:15-16

It is unhealthy to bottle up our feelings, concerns and troubles. Often these spiritual burdens can have physical manifestations. Many people develop ulcers, high blood pressure, body aches as well as issues with their mental health. This is why we are to pray and present everything to Yahauah as we make confession to one another. It is through love that we find relief because it covers a multitude of sins. This is why I encourage all sisters to reach out to Emas (mothers in the faith) for help when they are feeling anxious. Find an achoti (sister) to hold you accountable and offer comfort.

If you are pregnant and planning for childbirth, a Doula is a great companion.

She can help bring support and empowerment during one of the most precious times in your life. Research has found that doulas can help reduce the need for interventions such as pain medication and C-sections. Doulas can help decrease a mother’s anxiety and improve her overall childbirth experience.

 

We can have victory over fear by developing a sound mind. It is vital to our mental health that we cultivate a life of moderation and discipline. We should be moderate in the ways we speak about ourselves as well as who or what we listen to. Many times the  thoughts we think about ourselves add fuel to the fire of an already anxious mind. Toss in the kindling of gossip, abusive manipulation, vulgar language and blasphemous doctrines; soon we end up with a raging fire in our minds. 

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of Yahuah, and take every thought captive to obey Ha’Mashiach, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”  2 Corinthians 10: 5-6 

Our obedience is the main way we develop a sound mind.  This is accomplished by implementing well disciplined habits (both spiritually and physically.) This is why studying scripture and meditating on Yahuah’s word is the most crucial way to battle against anxiety and depression. Also, educating ourselves on practical ways to be disciplined, as it relates to health and exercise during pregnancy will reduce stress greatly. For some women, even researching all of the information regarding pregnancy can cause it’s own anxiety. This is where having a doula by your side is most beneficial. Find a Doula who has a wealth of knowledge on pregnancy and childbirth (medical procedure benefits, risks, labor techniques, breastfeeding, newborn care, etc.)

Your Doula will help you become educated and prepared to make well-informed decisions during each stage of your maternal health journey. 

As a mother of 6 and a doula-in-training, I understand first hand the joys and challenges of being pregnant in the midst of captivity. This is why a doula is a valuable resource for not only education but also for advocacy. As a future certified doula, it is my goal to empower women to be confident in the strength that Yahusha has given us to bring forth new life. Remember sisters, stress will come but don’t let it over take you. 

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 

Take your pregnancy one day at a time, enjoying all the highs and lows that come with it. Take care of yourself mind, body and soul by walking in obedience to Yahuah and feeding your temple wisely.  Yahuah is the one who blesses our wombs, rewarding us and preserving our heritage. Don’t forget that whatever we do to our bodies affects our unborn children. The soul (our feelings, desires and imagination) is in our blood. When we are angry, scared and anxious we pass these burdens along to the fruit of our womb.  So sisters, when stress arises in pregnancy, rest in the shalom that Yahuah grants those He loves and meditate on His Word day and night. 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Phillipians 4:8

 

Be Healed * Be Renewed * Be Strengthened

Shalom Achoti Sharah

 

Stressed? Try This!  ~ Here are some practical ways to safely deal with stress during pregnancy. 

  • Get plenty of rest ~ take naps if you can & reduce the late nights 
  • Warm bath ~ included a few drops lavender essential oil for stress relief 
  • Prenatal massage ~ find a reputable massage therapist or have your spouse or birth partner do gentle massage 
  • Calming Teas ~ Try Peppermint but make sure that any tea you get is safe for pregnancy {watch your caffeine intake}
  • Aromatherapy ~ lavender essential oil and other essential oil blends are great in a diffuser . {Seek wisdom from a trusted Ema or achoti regarding the oils used in a diffuser}
  • Talk it out ~ share your feelings and concerns with someone you trust 
  • Get Moving! ~ Stretching and exercise are great ways to reduce stress just make sure not to overdo it… safety first. 

Selah the Stress Away! ~  Read & meditate on 1 Samuel 1. How do you relate to Hannah’s struggle with stress? Journal what you learned from how Hannah handled her anxiety.

Hannah dealt with stress due to the mean way Peninnah treated her. Also, her desire for a child brought her great anxiety. Hannah’s body was not able to handle the highs & lows of pregnancy until she overcame her spiritual oppression and gave her whole heart to Yahuah.  When we focus on all the things we have to be thankful for we can better manage and even eliminate our stress. Remember pregnancy becomes more enjoyable when we recognize this time in our lives is just another opportunity to learn more about who Yahuah and what He is calling us to do. 

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