I love the way it tastes and how it warms me. I love the ritual of picking my mug, pouring my half and half, and adding the hot coffee to the mug. I love that first sip.
Coffee brings me so much comfort when I'm stressed out. It actually helps me get into a space where I can focus and settle in on whatever needs my attention. If I'm wanting self-care and I don't have much time or a lot of money to spend on a great meal or massage therapy appointment, I grab a cup of coffee. Buying this delicious drink actually recharges me (and I'm not talking caffeine-charge here!) and gives me some inner peace as I move about my day.
When I was pregnant, I lost my ability to drink several cups of coffee a day. Instead of pounding through my 16 oz. cup of Panera hazelnut coffee (once my go-to drink, which has now been replaced with Elm Height's BloomingFoods Americano beverage), I'd let it sit on my desk when I was teaching full-time. At 2:30pm, I'd pick up the cup to realize I still had more than half the cup remaining! It wasn't that I was consciously abstaining; it was really that I just couldn't stomach it and it didn't appeal to me as it had prenatally.
Luckily, now that I'm not pregnant, I have been able to resume my coffee habit.
I share this because I know everyone has her own comfort items or habits. Maybe you love tea or the scent of your favorite body wash. Maybe you head outside for a run when you're stressed, or perhaps you snuggle in to your most loved blanket with your favorite book.
I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to really surround yourself with comfort items when you're preparing for birth. You may find your preferences change, and what brought you comfort then does nothing for you now. But I encourage you to find what does bring you comfort and keep it on hand for when you're feeling stressed, worried or anxious.
Do what brings you joy, relaxation or reassurance, and I promise you, you will not be sorry!
When you count on others around you to take away your worries or ease your discomfort, you may find that you're setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations. Maybe you're counting on your sister to guide you through your contractions, solely because she had a baby last year. Or maybe you are expecting to get immediate pain relief through medication so you don't need to experience the pain of contractions. You might have to consider that your sister won't have all the answers or maybe she's not able to join you in labor as you had expected. Maybe your labor is going so quickly that pain medication is not an option.
Setting yourself up for a positive birth experience means taking ownership over what you can do during labor and birth. You can't change the length or strenghth of the contractions, but you can be in charge of how you move your body, how you respond to the contraction buildling in your lower belly, and whether you're welcoming the labor or trying to escape it.
This is not to say that you can make your labor pain-free, but you can help it to feel more manageable.
Find what brings you comfort, and use it.